Registration with Dietetics Credentials from outside of Canada
To practice dietetics in Canada, all Dietitians must be registered with a regulatory college, such as the College of Dietitians of British Columbia (CDBC).
The primary duty of the CDBC is to protect the public of British Columbia by regulating dietitians. The term “Dietitian” is a reserved title protected by law. Only individuals registered with the CDBC may use this title. The reserved title means that dietitians have met strict registration requirements and have a high level of expertise for providing safe, ethical, science-backed nutrition services. In British Columbia, dietitians are regulated under the following:
Completion of a post-secondary academic degree equivalent to a Canadian 4-year Bachelors degree with a focus in dietetics.
Practical training or internship:
Equivalent to 1480 hours, or approximately 10 months full time, practical training in the areas of Clinical Nutrition in hospital, Population and Public Health in the community, Management or Food Systems Administration, and Electives or Research.
An example of the Canadian standard practical training breakdown:
|Clinical Nutrition||840 hours|
|Population and Public Health||160 hours|
The CDBC does not have legal requirements for language proficiency scores. However, functional English will be needed to be successful for both registration and employment as a dietitian. For the registration process, an applicant may be required to take additional courses for upgrading. Academic institutions which provide these courses will have their own individual requirements for English proficiency. For example, both Langara College and the University of British Columbia requires IELTS of at least 6.5 overall with no bands less than 6.0*.
*Different programs and courses may have individual or updated requirements. Please confirm language proficiency requirements with the specific institution.
Timeline of the Registration Process
The timeline for the registration process is very individual and dependent on each applicant’s situation. Overall, the process is estimated to take on average 16 months and costing $3500. If any additional upgrading is required, then the time duration and cost will be higher.
The CDBC recommends the applicant to thoroughly review the application process and to only start their application when they can commit to completing all steps continuously. Please note, applicant files and accounts will be closed after six months of inactivity. If this were to happen, applicants will have to resubmit documents and start from the beginning of the process.
Timeframe: ~ 1 month
Timeframe: ~ 2 months
Timeframe: ~ 1-6+ months
varies: ~ 1-3 years
Steps to Registration
Prior to starting the registration process, please review all steps carefully and only start an application when the applicant can commit to completing all steps continuously. Please note, applicant files and accounts will be closed after six months of inactivity. If this were to happen, applicants will have to resubmit documents and start from the beginning of the process.
To begin the registration process, create an online account and application with CDBC
Step 1: Verify Credentials
Academic qualifications must be verified by an approved third-party agency. The degree must be authentic and show successful completion of an equivalent to a Canadian four years post-secondary education with a focus in dietetics.
Approved verification agencies:
World Education Services (WES)
International Credential Evaluation Services (ICES)
International Qualification Assessment Services (IQAS)
My academic degree is not in dietetics, but it is nutrition related. How can I become a registered dietitian?
The College of Dietitians of British Columbia assesses internationally educated dietitians who were already practicing as dietitians prior to coming to Canada. The CDBC is not able to provide guidance on assessment of qualifications or upgrading to those who do not have specific academic coursework or practical training in dietetics. If you wish to complete dietetics studies in Canada, please contact dietetics program advisors at specific universities to determine if any of your current coursework would apply towards a dietetics degree. The University of British Columbia – Dietetics Major is the only dietetics program available in BC. However, there are many other dietetics programs across Canada.
I have completed a Masters or PhD with a dietetics focus, but my original Bachelor’s degree is not dietetics focused – will you accept these credentials?
Yes, this is acceptable if there was also practical training or an internship associated with the degree.
My dietetic credentials are shorter than 4 years – will you accept these credentials?
Your credentials will be accepted if it is verified by an approved credential verification service to be equivalent to a Canadian Bachelor’s degree with a focus in dietetics. However, please note a Canadian dietetics degree is four years with an additional year of practical training. If your degree is significantly different than the Canadian dietetic education standard this may be reflected in the results of the assessment step and require more upgrading to meet Canadian dietetic practice standards.
Do you accept diplomas or certificate programs?
No, as we require an equivalent to a Canadian four-year bachelors’ degree. Diploma and certificate programs will not be accepted as equivalent credentials.
Step 2: Submit documents
The CDBC needs to receive these documents below:
- Letter of Verification of Internship or Practicum Completion
- Official transcripts
- Results of the Orientation and Self-Assessment Tool (OSAT)
- Up to date resume or CV
Letter of Verification of Internship or Practicum Completion
This letter must be signed by the Internship or Practicum Program Director or Supervisor and sent directly to the CDBC by the provider.
The letter must include:
- Total length of time of the practical experience
- Types of rotations or areas of practice (e.g. clinical, community, administrative)
- Length of time in each area of practice
The below items are not mandatory to include but will add to the application:
- Types of experiences and skills developed in each area of practice (e.g. nutrition care planning, individual or group counselling…etc.)
- Types of clients
- Level of competence achieved (e.g. observing, providing, supervising…)
- Methods of evaluation or assessment
- Contact information, position, and credentials of the internship supervisor
Official transcripts should be sent directly from the University or academic institution. CDBC will also accept copies of academic transcripts forwarded through the approved third-party verification agencies listed under Step 1.
The OSAT is an assessment tool which allows applicants to rate themselves compared to Canadian Dietetic Practice Requirements. This tool aims to allow dietitians trained outside of Canada to see what is expected of dietetic practice within Canada. The OSAT is completed online and will take up to two hours.
Within the OSAT, please make sure to open each of the Competency Areas by clicking on the numbers above the rating scale tables.
Upon completion, please send a copy of your results to the CDBC. The CDBC will not penalize you for any low ratings. Submitting the results merely shows that you are aware of what is expected of Canadian dietitians.
Current Resume or CV
A resume or CV outlining current activities linked to the areas of dietetic competencies. This includes:
- employment or volunteer experiences as a dietitian in the applicant’s home country,
- any awards,
- additional training
- any other aspect that applicant wishes to highlight in their application.
This document can be sent directly from the applicant to CDBC.
I got my Canadian Permanent Resident status through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Citizen and Immigration Canada. Does this guarantee my registration with the CDBC?
Immigration to Canada through the Federal Skilled Worker program is separate from registration with the CDBC. Being granted Permanent Resident Status will not grant you automatic registration with the College. All internationally educated dietitians wishing to register with the CDBC must undergo an “Assessment for Registration”. This assessment process determines your eligibility to register with the College.
My third-party verification agency already sent the CDBC my transcripts – do I still need to have my official transcripts sent?
The CDBC will accept transcripts forwarded directly from the approved third-party verification agency. However, not all agencies do this. Please double check if this is the case.
I have a copy of my credential evaluation report, university transcripts and letter of verification of internship completion with me. Can I send these to the CDBC?
In keeping with the public protection mandate, your credential evaluation, university transcripts and letter of verification of internship must be authentic. Although very rare, the risk of altering documents is possible. Therefore, the CDBC will only accept these documents when they have been sent directly from the granting institutions to the CDBC.
My university transcripts already show that I completed a dietetic internship. Do I still need to submit a Letter of Verification of Internship?
Yes, you must submit a Letter of Verification of Internship as part of your application. There is great variation in the length, breadth and depth of dietetic internships all over the world. In Canada, a Dietetic Internship is approximately 1480 hours (35 to 40 weeks) of full-time study in clinical, management and population and public health settings. Your Letter of Verification of Internship provides detailed information about the skills, knowledge and level of competence you acquired during your practicum experience.
My dietetic internship was only a few months long. Can I still register with the CDBC?
All international applicants’ knowledge, skills, abilities and judgement are assessed to current Canadian dietetic education and practical training. A Canadian dietetic internship (or practical training) is approximately 1480 hours long and takes between 35 to 40 weeks of full-time work to complete. Depending on the review of your practical training and work experience, and on the results of your practical assessment, you may be required to complete practical training, in order to be eligible for registration.
Step 3: Assessments
Once CDBC has received, reviewed, and approved all the documents in Step 1 and Step 2 then the application moves forward into the assessment stage. The assessment stage contains two consecutive portions: Knowledge and then Practical.
Financial fees as outlined in the cost section must be paid and processed before starting each of the assessments. All fees are paid online and are non-refundable.
1. All documents received and approved by CDBC
- Review, complete, sign, and return the Honesty Declaration to CDBC. This signed declaration is a binding document to declare that all the work completed is the applicants’ own.
2. Knowledge Assessment
Submit payment online for the Knowledge Assessment
The Knowledge Assessment is completed online and can be done in the applicant’s home country. This assessment can be accessed anytime during the year. The questions asked in this assessment stage are asked in case study format and have been validated to test five major competencies of dietetic practice.
There are five major competencies evaluated on the Knowledge Assessment:
- Clinical Nutrition
- Population and Public Health
- Management or Food Systems Administration
- Professional Practice
All five competencies must receive passing scores in order to move onto the next assessment.
3. Practical Assessment
- Passed the Knowledge Assessment
- Submit payment online for the Practical Assessment
- Contact CDBC and arrange interview date
The Practical Assessment is completed in a face-to-face panel interview session at the CDBC offices in Vancouver. This assessment will use case studies to test the same five competencies as the Knowledge Assessment. More details for the Practical Assessment will be provided by CDBC once the applicant has reached this step in the registration process.
Upon completion of the Practical Assessment, the CDBC will be in contact to review the results and provide recommendations on the next steps.
I have been working as a dietitian in my home country for many years. Will this be considered in my assessment for registration?
Yes, the assessment for registration considers many factors including – formal academic and practical training, work experience, time elapsed since last practiced as a dietitian, currency of knowledge, skills abilities and judgement, and results of the CDBC’s Competency Self-Assessment Process and Practical Assessments.
How can I prepare or study for these assessments? Do you have any resources to direct me to?
The purpose of these assessments is not to test newly learnt knowledge but rather to assess and compare your education and experience from your home country to that of Canadian dietetic practice. It is not meant for applicants to “study” for these assessments. If you wish to orient yourself to Canadian dietetic practice, there are several resources in the resource section of this webpage. The Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination (CDRE) is the final exam all dietitians need to pass and the assessments share the same standards as practice as this exam. It is worth well to familiarize yourself with the areas of this exam for the assessment portion of the international application process.
Step 4: Upgrading
Once the applicant has completed all the steps above, the results are compiled and reviewed. At this point the applicant should be aware of any areas in which their practice may differ from Canadian dietetic standards. The applicant is expected to respond to any areas which require upgrading with suggested interventions. The CDBC will help the applicant through the self-directed learning plan process.
Examples of potential upgrading are:
- Additional university or college level courses
- Full practical training
- Partial practical training
- Job shadowing
- Et cetera
Final upgrading requirements are determined by the CDBC Registration Committee. All upgrading must be completed in a span of three years or the process starts anew.
Self-Directed Learning Plan
Self-Directed Learning Plan Template
Example of a Self-Directed Learning Plan
Will I have to do upgrading?
The need for upgrading is determined as part of your assessment for registration. It is common that internationally educated dietitians require some amount of academic and/or practical upgrading in dietetics. The amount of upgrading will depend on your assessment results.
Where can I complete my academic upgrading?
Most academic course upgrading can be completed on-line. However, only specific upgrading courses that have been approved by the CDBC are considered acceptable. The CDBC will identify suitable approved courses during your Assessment for Registration
Where can I complete my practical upgrading?
Currently, there are 3 institutions across Canada that offer practical upgrading specifically for internationally educated dietitians:
- Alberta – University of Alberta (priority given to Alberta residents)
- Ontario – Ryerson University
- Nova Scotia – Mount St. Vincent University
Spaces are extremely limited, and admission to all programs is highly competitive. These programs may require additional upgrading over and above upgrading required by the CDBC. There are currently no bridging programs in BC.
Step 5: Registration
Once all upgrading is completed and verified, the applicant can apply for Temporary registration with the CDBC. A Temporary registrant may use the titles “Dietitian (temporary)” and “RD(t)”. As a Temporary registrant, applicants can work in dietitian jobs although some dietetics jobs may require full registrant qualifications. A Temporary registrant is not permitted to supervise other dietitians.
To register for Temporary registration, there are several items to complete:
- Fulfill all upgrading requirements
- Submit online application for temporary registration
- Complete Criminal Record Check search authorization
- Send CDBC a notarized Statutory Declaration
- Provide any missing identifying documentation
- Process payment for all associated application fees
Temporary registration expires on March 31, regardless of when the registration was granted. This registration status may only be renewed once. During Temporary registration, the registrant must sit and complete the next available sitting of the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination (CDRE). Upon passing the CDRE, the registration status is converted to “Full”. Applicants have three attempts at the CDRE. After a first failure, mandatory supervision will be required. After a second failure, the registrant’s license is revoked and mandatory upgrading will be requested before attempting one last time.
The fees listed are categorized in chronological order to the registration process. Fees required by the CDBC are highlighted. Estimations of costs originating from outside the CDBC, which may vary heavily depending on each individual applicant, are outlined as well.
All CDBC related costs are non-refundable and are highlighted in yellow in the table below.
Costs effective April 1, 2019. Updated April 1, 2020. Orange costs are paid to CDBC. Blue costs are paid to other agencies.
|Verify academic transcript||1||This cost varies depending on the third-party institution providing the service||Appx. $250|
|Submission of additional documents||2||This is inclusive of submission request costs for official transcripts, Verification of Internship letters…etc. The costs of this may vary depending on each individual institution.||Appx. $10+|
|Translation of documents||2||If applicable – Transcripts and Verification of Internship Letters must be translated to English by a certified translator.||Appx. $300+|
|Knowledge Assessment||3||Each attempt costs $415. If more than one attempt is required, then payment must be reprocessed.||$415|
|Practical Assessment Interview||3||One-time cost (one attempt only)||$405|
|Academic and/or practical upgrading||4||Highly varies and dependent on what each applicant requires. Please note, costs for required courses may be significantly higher for applicants with international status compared to Permanent Resident status.||Appx $1000+|
|Criminal Record Check||5||Valid for five years.||$28|
|Notarize Statutory Declaration||5||The cost for this is dependent on the notary or lawyer. The applicant is responsible for finding their own notary service.||Appx $20-$100|
|Registration Fee – Initial Application||5||One-time initial application cost.||$260|
|CDBC Registration Fee||5||Full year Temporary registration cost (renewable each year)||$600|
|CDRE||5||Each attempt costs $525||$525|