Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Missouri

In 2019, the Robert WoodMissouri Johnson Foundation reported that over 12 percent of children in Missouri are obese. Although this rate is high, it held steady from 2018, and ranks fifteenth in the nation. The overall rate of obesity in adults in Missouri, however, is one of the highest, at 35 percent. 

Obesity increases the risk of asthma, diabetes and heart disease. It is a serious health problem in the state of Missouri. Trained and educated registered, licensed dietitians can help Missourians of all ages in making better food choices, changing bad habits, and living healthier lifestyles. If you wish to learn how you can be a registered, licensed dietitian in Missouri, keep reading.

Registered Dietitians Educational Programs in Missouri

The Missouri Dietitian Practice Act says that all registered dietitians in Missouri must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree that is from a school dietetic program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the authoritative body that regulates the practice of registered dietitians across the nation, will change that requirement to a master’s degree as of Jan. 1, 2024. Either way, if you want to be a registered, licensed dietician in Missouri, you must choose from these  ACEND-accredited programs in Missouri (link to Registered Dietitian Schools list – Missouri section). They are available in the following formats:

Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)– Six DPDs exist in Missouri in 2022. DPDs contain solely the coursework you need to be a dietitian, not the supervised experience. 

Dietetic Internship (DI) – Five DIs exist in Missouri. The DI provides a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised dietary practice that you need to become a dietitian not only in Missouri but across the nation.

Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CP)- Two CPs exist in Missouri. CPs integrate courses and supervised experience to ensure that you meet the requirements of Missouri and the CDR to become a registered, licensed dietitian.

Graduate Program in Dietetics (GP) – Three GPs exist in Missouri. The graduate program also integrates coursework and supervised practice, and results in a graduate degree at its culmination.

Registered Dietitian Exam in Missouri

The Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates will be provided to you by a representative from your school. It will provide updated information on taking, and passing, the CDR Exam, which is the next step in becoming a registered dietitian in Missouri. 

Registration for the exam is accomplished online at Pearson VUE’s website, and includes paying the $200 exam fee.  You must also select a Pearson VUE testing center where you will sit for the exam. In Missouri, centers are in Columbia, St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield.

You will learn your exam score upon finishing it. The CDR will send you your registration card by U.S. mail if you pass.  Expect to receive that proof that you are, truly, now a Registered Dietitian some weeks after passing the exam.  

Registered Dietitian Licensure in Missouri 

Next, you must file for registered dietitian licensure in the state of Missouri before you may legally practice there. Complete the Application for Licensure as a Licensed Dietitian. You must enclose an application fee of $50 and any requested documentation (i.e., copy of your CDR card). Mail this to the State Committee of Dietitians, P.O. Box 1335, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102-1335. If you have any questions regarding the application process, email [email protected] or call (573) 522-3438.

Your license will expire on April 1 on even-numbered years. Pay the renewal fee of $20 before the expiration date of your license. A renewal form will be mailed to you well ahead of your license’s expiration date.

Registered Dietitian Salaries in Missouri

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the United States Department of Labor reports that, circa May 2021, Missouri’s nutritionists and dieticians make $23.55 per hour (hourly median wage), translating to an annual median salary of $48,980.  Those working in different areas of Missouri make varying wages that may be higher or lower than the state median, as is evidenced below:

Metropolitan area Hourly median wage Annual median wage
Kansas City $29.08 $60,480
Cape Girardeau  $28.42 $59,110
St. Joseph $24.43 $50,810
St. Louis $23.55 $48,970
Columbia $23.16 $48,180
Jefferson City $22.82 $47,460
Joplin $22.62 $47,040
Springfield $22.62 $47,040
Southeast nonmetropolitan $22.55 $46,900
Southwest nonmetropolitan $22.54 $46,880
Central nonmetropolitan $22.52 $46,840
North nonmetropolitan $22.52 $46,840

Registered Dietitian Jobs in Missouri

If you search the classified ads for registered dietitian jobs in Missouri, you will also get a better sense of what real RDs are making in the state. In late August 2022, these jobs for RDs/LDs in Missouri were posted:

  • Dietician – Hopewell Health, Inc., Shaw
    • Salary: $45/hour
    • BS degree a must
    • RD/LD a must
  • Clinical Nutrition Program Manager – Mercy, Chesterfield
    • Salary: $69,200-$87,600/year
    • MS degree a must
    • RD/LD a must 
    • Three or more years of experience in clinical operations a must
  • Dietitian, Gastroenterology – Washington University, St. Louis
    • Salary: $50,600-$75,800/year
    • BS degree a must
    • RD/LD a must
    • Experience in inpatient or outpatient setting a must
  • Dietitian – U.S. Veterans Health Administration, Kansas City
    • Salary: $67,052 – $87,163/year
    • BS degree a must
    • RD/LD a must
    • One year of experience as a dietitian a must
  • Clinical Dietitian – Mercy, Washington
    • Salary: $44,300 – $56,100/year
    • BS degree a must, MS degree preferred
    • RD/LD a must
    • 0 to 3 years of healthcare experience in clinical dietetics or food service a must