Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Nebraska

Nebraska has the dubious honorNebraska of ranking second in the nation for the highest increase in adult obesity from 2010 to 2021. During that time, the adult obesity rate in Nebraska increased by 26 percent, from 26.5 percent in 2010 to 33.4 percent in 2021. What is fueling this increase? The number of adults in Nebraska who do not exercise at all has actually decreased by 6.2 percent during that time. Larger portions of food are one of the culprits, it is believed by experts.

It is known that obesity increases the risk of chronic diseases. As of 2021, ten percent of Nebraska’s adults have diabetes, a drastic increase from 2011, when just 6.9 percent of them were diabetic.  Registered dietitians, known as medical nutrition therapists in Nebraska, are just one of the licensed health care professionals who are fighting the obesity epidemic. If you want to join in their fight, read on to see how to train to be a medical nutrition therapist (i.e., registered dietitian) in Nebraska.

Education for Medical Nutrition Therapists/Registered Dietitians in Nebraska

Nebraska’s Statutes relating to the state’s Medical Nutrition Therapy Practice Act state in very clear terms how to train to be a medical nutrition therapist (their term for registered dietitian).  Under Nebraska law, there are a few ways that one may become a medical nutrition therapist. All of them, however, involve passing the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam.  They include:

  • Completing a bachelor’s degree program from an approved dietetic education program, including 900 hours of supervised practice, and pass the CDR exam for Registered Dietitians.
  • Completing a master’s degree or higher in nutrition education, public health nutrition, food and nutrition, or human nutrition, and passing the CDR Registered Dietitian exam.
  • Completing a master’s degree or higher in clinical nutrition, which must include:
    • 200 hours combined of biochemistry and physiology
    • 75 hours of human nutrition
    • Passing the CDR Registered Dietitian exam
  • Completing the requirements of the CDR for dietary education and experience, and passing the CDR Registered Dietitian exam.

Should you select the fourth route above, you will earn Registered Dietitian credentials which are recognized nationwide. Fulfilling the CDR requirements involves completing a dietary program approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), although you may choose an ACEND-approved program in any state. Programs in Nebraska include:

Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)– There is only one ACEND-approved DPD in Nebraska (as of September 2022), that offers only the didactic (classroom) part of the education program and must be followed by a dietetic internship. The program is a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics at Chadron State College.

Graduate Program (GP)- There are two ACEND-approved GPs in Nebraska. These programs integrate coursework and the required 1000 hours’ supervised dietetic practice experience. The University of Nebraska Lincoln offers a Master of Science in Nutrition and Health Science: Pre-Dietetics. The University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha offers a Master of Medical Nutrition degree. 

Registered Dietitian Examination in Nebraska

No matter which route you choose to becoming a licensed medical nutrition therapist in Nebraska, you must take, and pass, the CDR’s Registration Examination for Dietitians. The Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates will be provided to you by a representative of your program, and will explain the process of registering and studying for the exam in detail. The exam costs $200 and you must sit for it at a Pearson VUE testing center. These are found in North Platte, Omaha and Lincoln in Nebraska.

The USPS will mail your CDR registration card to you upon passing the exam. Expect to receive it a couple of weeks after taking the examination.

Becoming a Licensed Medical Nutrition Therapist/Registered Dietitian in Nebraska

After passing the CDR exam, you are ready to apply for medical nutrition therapist licensing in Nebraska. Use the Application for Medical Nutrition Therapy. Filli it out in its entirety, and enclose any requested supporting documentation, along with the $114 application fee. Mail everything to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Licensure Unit, P.O. Box 94986, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4986. 

As you are completing the application, if you have inquiries, email [email protected] or call (402) 471-4918. After receiving your MNT license, it needs to be renewed by Sept. 1 of each odd-numbered year. Each renewal period, you must report 30 hours of continuing education you have completed, and pay a renewal fee of $114. 

Medical Nutrition Therapist/Registered Dietitian Salaries in Nebraska

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the hourly median wage for dietitians and nutritionists (medical nutrition therapists) in Nebraska, as of May 2021, is $29.12. The annual median wage for medical nutrition therapists is $60,570 in Nebraska. MNTs working in certain metropolitan areas of Nebraska may make wages higher or lower than these averages. For example, in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area, MNTs make $30.04 per hour and $62,490 per year. In the Northeast nonmetropolitan area, they earn $28.93 per hour and $60,170 annually. Those working in Lincoln make $28.52 hourly and $59,320 annually. MNTs employed in the South Nebraska nonmetropolitan area earn $27.53 hourly and $57,270 per year. 

Medical Nutrition Therapist/Registered Dietitian Jobs in Nebraska

Some of the most recent (as of September 2022) jobs posted for medical nutrition therapists and/or registered dietitians in Nebraska include:

  • Registered Dietitian – Regional West Health Services, Scottsbluff
    • Salary: $50,000 annually
    • Need a bachelor’s degree
    • Need RD certification
    • Need MNT licensure in Nebraska
  • Medical Nutrition Therapist – Nebraska Medicine, Omaha
    • Salary: $58,300 – $73,900 annually
    • Need a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree preferred
    • Need RD certification
    • Need MNT licensure in Nebraska
  • Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist – Faith Regional Health Services, Norfolk
    • Salary: $53,400 – $67,600 annually
    • Need a bachelor’s degree
    • Need RD certification
    • Need MNT licensure in Nebraska
    • Need CDCES certification
    • Need current, valid driver’s license
  • Registered Dietitian – Thayer County Health Services, Hebron
    • Salary: $46,600 – $59,000 annually
    • Need a bachelor’s degree
    • Need RD certification
    • Need MNT licensure in Nebraska
  • Clinical Dietitian – Nebraska Methodist Health System, Omaha
    • Salary: $50,800 – $64,400 annually
    • Need a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree preferred
    • Need RD certification
    • Need MNT licensure in Nebraska
    • Need two years of clinical experience 
    • Prefer two years of oncology dietitian experience within the past five years