Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Montana

Childhood obesity is an epidemicMontana in the United States, with 15.5 percent of American high school students classified as obese (having a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same sex and age). In Montana, 11.5 percent of high schoolers are obese, making the state slightly healthier than the national average. However, the state also has the second highest rate of residents with limited access to healthy foods, at 8.3 percent (the national average is 5.9 percent). 

Working in Montana’s favor is the fact that almost 70 percent of its communities are built in a way that promotes physical activity, with ample sidewalks, bike lanes, trails and walking paths. Encouraging physical activity is just one thing that registered dietitians in Montana might do to promote health and wellness among state residents. They can also help with access to healthier foods and in making better food choices. If you’d like to explore becoming a registered dietician in Montana, keep reading. 

Registered Dietitian Schools in Montana

Montana’s Board of Medical Examiners is the regulating body for registered dietitians in the state. They call dieticians nutritionists and say that anyone who wishes to practice dietetics and nutrition must have a license. Their requirement for getting this license is to have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s (or higher) degree in food and nutrition, dietetics, or public health nutrition. They also require that you pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) registered dietician examination. 

In order to qualify to sit for the CDR examination, you must complete a dietetics program that has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). All of the ACEND-accredited programs in Montana are listed here (link to Registered Dietitian Schools list – Montana section), and they are in the following formats:

Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)– A DPD provides just the nutrition and dietetics coursework, not the supervised experience portion of the program that the CDR requires. Montana just has one DPD program currently, resulting in a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition- Dietetics option. You may choose any ACEND-accredited program in any of the 50 states, however, to fulfill Montana’s requirements.

A Dietetic Internship (DI) must follow a DPD, and it provides the necessary 1000 hours of supervised experience that the CDR and Montana requires. There is just one DI program in Montana as of September 2022. You may choose any DI program in any of the 50 states that is ACEND-accredited. 

Registered Dietitian Test in Montana

Montana and the CDR require that you pass the Registration Examination for Dietitians next. You will be given information from a school representative, and the Registration Examination for Dieticians Handbook for Candidates, which will give you valuable instruction about the examination, its registration process, and what you must study if you hope to pass. It will also direct you to register online to take the exam and pay the $200 fee. 

You will take the exam at a Pearson VUE examination center. You may take it at any Pearson VUE center, but ones in Montana include Helena and Billings. 

If you pass the CDR exam, you will receive your registration card through the postal service within a few weeks.

Registered Dietitian Licensure in Montana

You may now apply online for licensure as a registered dietitian in Montana. Be sure to provide any of the requested documents, such as a copy of your CDR card, and the application fee. Your license must be renewed every two years. Once again, although the CDR recognizes you as a registered dietitian, your license in Montana will say “nutritionist.” 

If you have any further inquiries about the process of becoming a licensed dietitian nutritionist in Montana, contact the Montana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics president at [email protected]

Registered Dietitian Salaries in Montana

The hourly mean wage for dietitians and nutritionists in Montana is $27.70, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (circa May 2021). The corresponding annual mean wage that Montana’s dietitians and nutritionists make is $57,610. Those working in the East-Central nonmetropolitan area of Montana make higher wages, earning $29.53 per hour and $61,430 per year. The next highest wages are earned by Southwest Montana nonmetropolitan area dietitians and nutritionists, making $28.01 per hour and $58,270 per year. Finally, those dietitians and nutritionists working in the West Montana nonmetropolitan area earn an hourly mean wage of $27.66 and an annual mean wage of $57,540. (Wages in Montana’s larger cities are not calculated by the BLS for this occupational classification). 

Registered Dietitian Jobs in Montana

A better way to get an idea of what registered dietitians and licensed nutritionists make in Montana is to examine the classified ads. As of September 2022, the following openings were advertised for dietitians in Montana:

  • Clinical Dietitian – Logan Health, Kalispell
    • Salary: $51,500 to $65,300 per year
    • Bachelor or higher degree in food and nutrition required
    • RDN credential required
    • Licensure in Montana required
    • CPR certification required
    • One year of experience in health care setting preferred
  • Dietitian- Hopewell Health Inc., Lindsay
    • Salary: $30 per hour
    • Bachelor or higher in nutrition, health or a related field required
    • RDN credential required
    • Licensure in Montana required
  • Registered Dietitian – St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings
    • Salary: $23.57 to $40.52 per hour
    • Bachelor in food and nutrition or dietetics required
    • RDN certification required
    • Montana licensure required
  • Dietitian – Rosebud Health Care Center, Forsyth
    • Salary: $51,900 to $65,700 per year
    • Bachelor in food and nutrition or dietetics required
    • RDN certification required
    • Montana licensure required
  • Dietitian – Shodair Children’s Hospital, Helena
    • Salary: $49,800 to $63,000 per year
    • Bachelor in food and nutrition or dietetics required
    • RDN certification required
    • Montana licensure required
    • Two years of work experience in food and nutrition preferred