Becoming a Registered Dietitian in Texas

The Texas Dietitians AdvisoryTexas Board carries the responsibility of regulating the dietetic profession in Texas. They establish a code of ethics for the state’s dietitians, establish the qualifications and fitness of applicants for licenses, and request and receive assistance from other state agencies or educational institutions. Licensed dietitians in Texas are permitted to use the titles “licensed dietitian,” “registered dietitian,” and the initials “L.D.” and “R.D.”

Registered dietitians in Texas enjoy competitive salaries and varied work environments. They may work in long term care facilities, medical centers, clinics, outpatient settings, and in private practice, just to name a few of the many milieux in which they can be found. If becoming a licensed and registered Texas dietitian appeals to you, read on for information on how to turn your dreams into reality. 

Education for Texas Registered Dietitians

The Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 701, states that you must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in food systems management, food and nutrition, human nutrition, nutrition education, or dietetics in order to become a licensed, registered dietitian in Texas. However, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the nationwide organization responsible for registering dietitians across the U.S., is changing their degree requirement to a master’s degree as of January 1, 2024. Your degree must come from a university/college dietetics program holding accreditation through ACEND, the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. A listing of ACEND-accredited institutions in Texas may be found here. Being such a large state, Texas has 23 accredited dietetic education programs as of October 2022 (not including Dietetic Internships). These programs are presented in the following formats: 

  • Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CP)- CPs are comprehensive programs, including courses and a minimum of 1000 hours’ supervised practice, culminating in an undergraduate or a graduate degree.
  • Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD)- DPDs offer students just the coursework required in a dietetic program, not the practice. If you take a DPD, you must also take a Dietetic Internship (DI), a complete listing of which may be found here (link to Dietetic Internships).  
  • Future Graduate Program (FG)-FGs are comprehensive graduate programs combining coursework and a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised practice, culminating in a graduate degree. 

Examinations for Texas Registered Dietitians

Once you have completed your dietetic education/experience, you will be ready to take the CDR’s Registration Examination for Dietitians. Someone from your school will provide you with the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates. This information is vital to making the most of your examination experience. It will also detail how you register online through Pearson VUE to take the test and pay the $200 exam fee. Texas Pearson VUE testing centers include Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Arlington, Bryan, Midland, Waco, Lubbock, Shavano Park, Dallas, Hurst, Carrollton, Tyler, and San Antonio. You will find out whether you passed at the conclusion of the test. If you do pass, you must wait until the CDR mails your registration card to you, some weeks after taking the exam, before moving to the next step.

You must also pass the Texas Jurisprudence Exam before beginning the licensure process. This is based on the state and federal laws, rules and regulations applying to the licensed dietitian practice. You must present evidence that you have passed this exam when you apply for a license. Register here to take the exam. 

Licensing for Registered Dietitians in Texas

You may apply online or by mail for a dietitian license in Texas. The fee of $108 must be paid at the time of application. You will submit a copy of your CDR registration card and proof that you have passed the Texas Jurisprudence Examination with your application. 

Once you have your dietitian license, it is valid for two years, at which time it must be renewed. You must log 12 hours’ continuing education during each two-year licensing period to renew your dietitian license in Texas. Approved continuing education providers include the CDR and any accredited university or college. Examples of approved continuing education activities may be found here. Don’t forget to renew your CDR registration every five years, and complete 75 hours’ continuing education during that period as well.

Salaries of Registered Dietitians in Texas

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that as of May 2021, Texas had the third-highest employment level of nutritionists and dietitians in the country, with 4460 employed statewide. They earn an annual mean wage of $64,560 and an hourly mean wage of $31.04. Dietitians working in various metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas around the state make wages higher or lower than the state averages, as you can see in this table:

Place Name Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
San Angelo $32.54 $67,680
Houston/The Woodlands/Sugar Land $32.04 $66,630
San Antonio/New Braunfels $31.76 $66,060
Dallas/Ft. Worth/Arlington $31.74 $66,030
Amarillo $31.54 $65,600
Austin/Round Rock $31.48 $65,480
Kileen/Temple $31.41 $65,340
Waco $31.38 $65,280
Coastal Plains nonmetro $30.94 $64,350
Beaumont/Port Arthur $30.83 $64,130
Corpus Christi $30.11 $62,630
North Texas nonmetro $29.73 $61,840
Brownsville/Harlingen $29.68 $61,730
West Texas nonmetro $29.58 $61,530
Tyler $29.58 $61,520
McAllen/Edinburg/Mission $28.98 $60,270
El Paso $28.92 $60,160
Abilene $28.82 $59,940
Lubbock $28.75 $59,800
Laredo $28.56 $59,410
Hill Country nonmetro $28.23 $58,720
Wichita Falls $27.90 $58,030
College Station/Bryan $25.39 $52,810
Longview $22.50 $46,800
Big Thicket nonmetro $22.42 $46,630

Jobs for Registered Dietitians in Texas

Registered dietitian jobs in Texas are plentiful, as the state is a vast area with many employment opportunities for credentialed individuals. Some examples of open positions, circa October 2022, are:

  • Clinical Dietitian – AdventHealth, Kileen
  • Dietitian, Clinical – Cook Children’s Health Care System, Fort Worth
    • Wages: $73,600 to $93,200/year
    • Bachelor’s degree essential
    • Master’s degree preferred
    • Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian in Texas credentials essential
    • Heart Saver CPR certification essential
    • BLS certification essential
    • Pediatric experience preferred
  • Diabetes Educator – Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston
    • Wages: $66,100 to $83,700/year
    • Bachelor’s degree essential
    • Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian in Texas credentials essential
    • CDCES credential from Certification Board of Diabetes Care and Education essential
    • Two years of professional clinical experience essential
  • Supervisory Dietitian – US Military Treatment Facilities under DHA, Fort Hood
    • Wages: $79,363 to $103,176/year
    • Bachelor’s degree essential
    • Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian in Texas credentials essential
    • One year of specialized experience essential
  • Performance Dietitian – Bering Straits Native Corporation, Laughlin AFB
    • Wages: $77,900 to $98,700/year
    • Bachelor’s degree essential
    • Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian in Texas credentials essential
    • Three years of dietetic work experience essential