How to Become a Dietitian in Hawaii

Details about Registered Dietitian Jobs in Hawaii

As of 2018, The Hawaii Diabetic Association consisted of over 300 members. This large number of members include Registered Dietetic Technicians (DTRs), Registered Dietetic Technicians (DTRs) as well as dietetic students. All of these members have one goal in common, promoting nutrition, health and well-being to the public in Hawaii. Those working as Registered Dieticians in the state of Hawaii work in many different job settings. These settings include but are not limited to schools, long term care facilities and hospitals, government and public organizations, military bases, as well as private industry. On top of that, Hawaii offers many great benefits to Registered Dietitians. For example, the beauty that this island state has to offer, and a highly substantial salary, also. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nutritionists and dietitians in Hawaii are among those with the highest salaries of all nutritionists and dietitians in the entire country, as of May 2018. Last year, in Hawaii, the average wage of a nutritionist/dietitian in the state of Hawaii was $69,050. This number is significantly larger than the average income of dietitians in the United States as a whole, with an average wage of $61,210. If you are curious to find out more about the process to follow to become a Registered Dietitian in Hawaii, you’re in the right place!

STEP 1 – Finalizing your Registered Dietitian Education in Hawaii

As of August, 2012, the state does not allow dietitians to work within the state before being licensed, as per the Hawaii Department of Health obligations. As part of these licensing rules, it is mandatory for every applicant to have a bachelor’s degree or any higher qualification with a major in dietetics, human nutrition, food systems management or food and nutrition, from an accredited university. In order to become licensed, you must complete no less than nine semester hours in food preparation and food science. Furthermore, it is required that all dietitians in Hawaii be registered as dietitians under the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). With that being said, it is obligatory for applicants to complete multiple experiential and educational requirements. All of these requirements must be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

ACEND-Accredited Programs that can Lead to Registered Dietitian Licensure in Hawaii:

  • Coordinated Programs in Dietetics (CP) – This Coordinated Program offers both the experience and education that you need you to become a dietitian in Hawaii that is both licensed and registered. Currently, no CPs are available in Hawaii, however. Instead, you can consider finding ACEND-accredited CPs in other regions of the country by heading over to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.
  • Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD) – This Didactic Program offers an experience that will fulfill the education requirements in place by the CDR and the state of Hawaii. The program offers the coursework you need to progress in this profession.

STEP 2 – Applying for a Dietetic Internship (DI) in Hawaii

Once you have reached this step, it’s time to meet all of the internship requirements enforced by the state of Hawaii and by the CDR on all prospective registered, licensed dietitians. Sadly, there are currently no ACEND-approved Dietetic Internships (DIs) within the state, however, many students tend to search for such internships outside of Hawaii in other states across the country. If this is the path you follow, you will want to find a state that permits you to make use of a preceptor and internship site back in your home state. If you require any assistance finding ACEND-accredited dietetic internships in the United States by consulting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.

In the country, there are currently 33 ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internships that allow you to complete your education outside of your home state. For students in Hawaii, this is often the best opportunity available to them. An example of this kind of program is the one offered at Utah State University, Salt Lake. This particular program is a seven-month-long program that is full-time, non-degree. The program covers many different topics including Child Nutrition, System Management, and School Foodservice. Furthermore, this program is ideal for students in Hawaii as it allows you to use sites and preceptors back in your home state.

The Dietetic Internship offered by this university includes the following rotations:

  • Clinical Nutrition for 13 weeks (520 practice hours)
  • Community Nutrition for 6 weeks (240 practice hours)
  • Food Service Systems Management for 11 weeks (440 practice hours)

On top of the three rotations mentioned above, those participating in this internship will also complete 26 hours of online coursework. Of course, there are many other options within the country that offer distance education Dietetic Internships, and this is only one of them.

STEP 3 – Taking the CDR Registration Exam Available to Registered Dietitians

Once you have successfully completed your Dietetic Internship, you will be able to complete the CDR’s Registered Dietitian Examination. In order to be prepared for this exam, it is encouraged to make use of the Registration Examination for Dietitians Handbook for Candidates as well as the CDR’s Comprehensive Study Outline and Study Guide. In order to pass the exam, you are required to answer at least 25 questions within the 180 minute time period that you will be given to complete this online exam. The exam consists only of multiple-choice questions. It is essential that you understand that skipping questions or modifying your previous answers during the exam is not possible.

In order to take this exam, there is a $200 fee that can be paid via the CDR website. Once your fee payment has been successfully received by CDR, you will receive an email from Person VUE Exam Centers. This email will allow you to schedule your exam. You can visit the Hawaii test center at the following address: Honolulu – 1441 Kapiolani Blvd, Suite 204

When you visit the test center, ensure that you bring with you a copy of the email that you received from Pearson VUE Test Centers (the one that confirmed your exam details). On top of this, be ready to present your photo ID card issued by the government.

As long as you did well in yourDI and DPD, you should not have any problems completing this exam. The exam will consist of questions on the following topics:

  • Foodservice Systems
  • Management of Food and Nutrition Services and Programs
  • Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups
  • Food and Nutrition Sciences

You will be given a hard copy of your exam score after completing the exam by a staff member at the Pearson VUE Exam Center. In order to pass this test, a score of 25 (50%) will be needed. In the case where you do not pass the test, it is possible to retake it after a 45-day waiting period. In order to do so, you will need to schedule a new exam date with CDR. Once you have passed the CDR exam, you will become a certified Registered Dietitian (RD).

STEP 4 – Applying for a Dietitian License in Hawaii

If you reach this step, you have already passed the Registered Dietitian Exam, for that, we congratulate you! The next step to continue on your path to a long-term career in this domain in Hawaii is to become a licensed dietitian. Due to the licensing laws for dietitians in Hawaii being very new, there is currently no form that you will be able to download, therefore, you are required to request them to obtain access. Get in touch with the Department of Health, Office of Health Care Assurance. At this time, the number to call for this is 808-692-7400. By calling this number, you will be given information concerning your application, for example, the application fee, the fee of licensing as well as a copy of your CDR registration card. After obtaining the license, you are officially a Licensed Dietitian in Hawaii, congratulations, once again!

STEP 5 – Maintaining your License and Registration in Hawaii

You are now on the final step of this process! In order to continue practicing as a dietitian in the state of Hawaii with a license, you will need to renew your license every three years. As of the moment, all that is required from you in order to do so is for you to pay the renewal fee. Maintaining your license and registration does not mandate you to continue education, however, this is subject to change.

Every five years, renewing your registration through the CDR as a Registered Dietitian in Hawaii is obligatory. Additionally, you must complete 75 units of continuing professional education every five years. You will be able to find a list of opportunities to continue your education on the Hawaii Dietetic Association’s website.

By obtaining specialty certifications in the nutrition and dietetics fields, you can earn continuing professional education (CPEUs) which will help you maintain your dietitian registration within the state. A large number of these CDR-approved or accredited certification programs will help you meet the 75 CPEU requirement in full, or partially every five years. These programs can also help to widen your opportunities as a dietitian. The following programs have been previously used to obtain CPEU credits, however, there are also many other ones you may consider.

  • CDR (Commission on Dietetic Registration) programs:
    • Board Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition
    • Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics
    • Board Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition
    • Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition
    • Board Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition
  • National Certification Board of Diabetes Educators (NCBDE):
    • Certified Diabetes Educator
  • American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE):
    • Board Certified Advanced Diabetes Management
  • Canadian Diabetes Education Certification Board (CDECB):
    • Canadian Board Certified Diabetes Educator

There you go! Now you know how to become a Registered Dietitian in Hawaii!