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Top 10 Renal Dietitian Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for renal dietitians, including requirements, benefits, and potential career outcomes.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for renal dietitians in the job market because they demonstrate a level of professional competency and expertise. Certifications provide employers with confidence that applicants have the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the field. They also show that the applicant is committed to continuing education and staying up-to-date on the latest research and best practices. Additionally, certifications may be required or preferred by certain employers, making them essential for getting a job as a renal dietitian.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Renal Dietitians and explain how they can help enhance a renal dietitian's career.

What are Renal Dietitian Certifications?

Renal dietitian certification is a specialized certification for dietitians who work with patients who have chronic kidney disease. This certification is provided by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) and requires dietitians to demonstrate their expertise in the field of renal nutrition. By earning this certification, dietitians can show their commitment to providing high quality care and evidence-based nutrition interventions for these patients.

Renal dietitian certification provides an opportunity to showcase an advanced level of knowledge and skill in renal nutrition. With this certification, registered dietitians are able to provide comprehensive care plans tailored to each patient’s specific needs. These care plans may include dietary modifications, lifestyle modifications, medication management, and other strategies designed to improve patient outcomes. In addition, certified renal dietitians can provide education and support to patients and their families regarding prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of chronic kidney disease. This helps ensure that individuals receive the best possible care throughout their journey with chronic kidney disease.

Pro Tip: Before beginning the process of becoming a certified renal dietitian, make sure you have completed all the necessary prerequisites. This includes having a degree in nutrition and dietetics, completing an accredited renal dietetic internship, and passing the Renal Nutrition Certification Examination. Additionally, it is important to stay up to date on current developments in renal nutrition by attending continuing education courses and reading relevant research publications.

Related: What does a Renal Dietitian do?

Top 10 Renal Dietitian Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Renal Dietitians today.

1. Certified Renal Dietitian (CRD)

A Certified Renal Dietitian (CRD) is a health professional who specializes in providing nutrition care and education to individuals with chronic kidney disease. CRDs have expertise in the management of renal nutrition therapy, including dialysis and pre-dialysis diets, and can provide individualized nutrition counseling for those with kidney disease.

To become a CRD, you must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in dietetics or a related field and complete an accredited dietetic internship program. After completing the required coursework, you must pass the national registration exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Once you have passed this exam, you are eligible to apply for certification as a CRD through the National Renal Dietitians Certification Board (NRDCB).

The NRDCB requires that applicants have at least two years of experience working with renal patients in order to be eligible for certification. Applicants must also submit documentation of their work experience and continuing education credits earned over the past five years. The cost for application and certification is $350.

Once certified, CRDs must maintain their credentials by earning continuing education credits every three years and paying an annual maintenance fee of $50.

2. Certified Clinical Nephrology Nutritionist (CCNN)

A Certified Clinical Nephrology Nutritionist (CCNN) is a professional who specializes in nutrition and dietetics related to kidney health. They are experts in the field of renal nutrition, providing individualized counseling and guidance to individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD). CCNNs provide comprehensive nutritional care for patients with CKD, including dietary advice, monitoring of nutrient intake and lab values, and education about lifestyle modifications that can improve health.

It typically takes two years to become a CCNN. To get certified, you must complete an accredited program in nephrology nutrition from an approved institution. The program must include at least 600 hours of coursework and supervised practice. After completing the program, you must pass a national certification exam administered by the National Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists (NCBNS).

The cost of becoming a CCNN varies depending on the institution offering the program. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $3,000 - $10,000 or more.

3. Certified Kidney Disease Nutrition Specialist (CKDNS)

A Certified Kidney Disease Nutrition Specialist (CKDNS) is a healthcare professional who has specialized knowledge in the field of renal nutrition. Renal nutrition focuses on the dietary needs of people with chronic kidney disease and end stage renal disease. CKDNSs are experts in providing nutritional care to those with complex medical and nutritional needs due to their kidney condition.

To become a CKDNS, individuals must have at least a bachelor’s degree in dietetics or nutrition, be registered dietitians, and have at least two years of experience working with patients with chronic kidney disease or end-stage renal disease. In addition, they must pass an exam administered by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF).

The exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions that cover topics such as: medical nutrition therapy for chronic kidney disease; nutritional assessment; nutrition support; counseling and education; food safety and sanitation; and professional issues related to renal nutrition. The exam takes about four hours to complete and costs $400 USD.

Once certified, CKDNSs are required to recertify every five years by completing continuing education credits or retaking the NKF certification exam.

4. American Society of Nephrology Certified Renal Nutritionist (ASNCRN)

The American Society of Nephrology Certified Renal Nutritionist (ASNCRN) is a professional certification program for nephrologists, dietitians, and other healthcare professionals who specialize in renal nutrition. The ASNCRN certification is designed to recognize and promote excellence in the field of renal nutrition by providing a formal credential that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge, skills, and experience in this specialized area.

To become certified as an ASNCRN, individuals must meet specific eligibility requirements and then pass an exam administered by the American Society of Nephrology. Eligibility requirements include: having a current license to practice in the United States or Canada; being board-certified or board-eligible in nephrology; having at least three years of experience in renal nutrition; and completing at least 50 hours of continuing education related to renal nutrition within the past five years.

The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as fluid and electrolyte balance, acid-base balance, nutritional assessment, nutrition support, metabolic complications of chronic kidney disease, and patient education. Candidates are given four hours to complete the exam.

The cost for taking the ASNCRN exam is $400 for members of the American Society of Nephrology and $500 for non-members. After passing the exam, individuals must pay an annual renewal fee of $100 in order to maintain their certification status.

Overall, becoming certified as an ASNCRN requires dedication and commitment on behalf of those seeking it but can be beneficial for those looking to demonstrate their expertise in renal nutrition.

5. Board Certified in Renal Nutrition (BCRN)

Board Certified in Renal Nutrition (BCRN) is a certification offered by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN). This certification is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge and expertise in renal nutrition. The BCRN certification is intended for those who are actively involved in the care of patients with kidney disease, including registered dietitians, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, and other healthcare professionals.

In order to obtain the BCRN certification, applicants must meet the following criteria:

1. Have a minimum of two years experience working with patients with kidney disease;

2. Have completed at least 30 hours of continuing education related to renal nutrition within the past three years;

3. Pass an online examination that covers topics such as nutrition assessment, nutritional support, dialysis therapy, and other relevant topics;

4. Maintain current licensure or registration as applicable to their profession; and

5. Pay an application fee of $250 USD.

The entire process from application submission to receiving results typically takes four to six weeks. Applicants will receive their results via email once they have passed the exam. Those who do not pass may retake the exam after six months if they wish to try again.

6. International Board of Lifestyle Medicine Certified Renal Dietitian (IBLCRD)

The International Board of Lifestyle Medicine Certified Renal Dietitian (IBLCRD) is a certification program designed to provide qualified dietitians with specialized knowledge and skills in the field of renal nutrition. The IBLCRD certification is awarded by the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine (IBLM), an independent, non-profit organization that provides education and training in lifestyle medicine.

To become certified as an IBLCRD, candidates must meet certain eligibility requirements and complete an application process. Eligibility requirements include having a bachelor’s degree in dietetics or nutrition, being a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Registered Dietetic Technician (DTR) in good standing, and completing at least 15 hours of continuing education related to renal nutrition within the past three years.

The application process consists of two parts: a written exam and a practical exam. The written exam is administered online and consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as renal anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, nutrition assessment and intervention for chronic kidney disease (CKD). The practical exam involves completing a case study that tests the candidate’s knowledge and skills related to renal nutrition counseling.

The cost for the IBLCRD certification program is $395 USD. This fee covers both the written and practical exams as well as any necessary course materials. Candidates are allowed up to six months to complete both exams; however, most candidates are able to complete them within two months or less.

Overall, becoming certified as an IBLCRD can be beneficial for dietitians who want to specialize in renal nutrition counseling. It demonstrates their commitment to providing quality care for patients with CKD and can help them stand out from other practitioners in their field.

7. Registered Dietitian-Renal Nutritionist (RD-RN)

A Registered Dietitian-Renal Nutritionist (RD-RN) is a specialized type of dietitian who has completed additional education and training in the field of renal nutrition. RD-RNs are knowledgeable about kidney disease, its treatment, and the dietary needs of people with chronic kidney disease. They provide individualized nutrition counseling to those living with kidney disease, helping them to make informed decisions about their diet and lifestyle.

It takes approximately two years to become an RD-RN. This includes completing a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or dietetics, completing an accredited supervised practice program such as a dietetic internship or coordinated undergraduate program, passing the national registration examination for dietitians, and obtaining certification from the Commission on Dietetic Registration as a Renal Nutritionist.

To become an RD-RN, you must first complete a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or dietetics from an accredited college or university. You can then apply for an accredited supervised practice program such as a dietetic internship or coordinated undergraduate program. After completing this program, you will be eligible to take the national registration examination for dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Once you have passed this exam, you can apply for certification as a Renal Nutritionist from CDR.

The cost of becoming an RD-RN varies depending on your educational background and experience level. Generally speaking, it will cost between $10,000-$20,000 to complete all of the necessary steps required to become certified as an RD-RN.

8. Advanced Practice Renal Dietitian Certification (APRDC)

Advanced Practice Renal Dietitian Certification (APRDC) is a certification program offered by the National Renal Dietitians Association (NRDA). It is designed to recognize the specialized knowledge and skills of renal dietitians who have achieved advanced practice status in the field. The APRDC certification provides evidence that an individual has met the highest standards of professional practice and has demonstrated expertise in renal nutrition management.

The APRDC certification requires that applicants have at least three years of experience as a registered dietitian, have completed at least 25 hours of continuing education related to renal nutrition, and pass a comprehensive exam. The exam consists of both written and practical components. The written portion covers topics such as medical nutrition therapy for chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury, dialysis therapies, transplantation, and special populations. The practical component assesses an applicant’s ability to apply their knowledge in a clinical setting.

The APRDC certification process typically takes about six months from start to finish. To begin the process, applicants must submit an application packet including transcripts from accredited universities or colleges, verification of registration with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), proof of continuing education credits related to renal nutrition management, and payment for the application fee. Once all materials are received and approved by NRDA staff, applicants can register for the exam. After passing the exam, applicants will be awarded their APRDC certificate.

The cost for obtaining Advanced Practice Renal Dietitian Certification (APRDC) varies depending on whether you are already a member of NRDA or not; however it typically ranges from $395 - $495 USD.

9. National Kidney Foundation Certified Kidney Educator (NKFCKE)

The National Kidney Foundation Certified Kidney Educator (NKFCKE) is a credential that recognizes professionals who have demonstrated expertise in the field of kidney health education. The NKFCKE program is designed to provide healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to deliver effective, evidence-based kidney health education.

It takes approximately six months to complete the NKFCKE certification process. To become certified, applicants must complete a series of online courses and pass an exam. The courses cover topics such as patient education, nutrition and lifestyle management, chronic kidney disease, dialysis, transplantation, and more. Applicants are also required to submit two letters of recommendation from colleagues or supervisors in their field.

The cost for the NKFCKE certification program varies depending on the number of courses taken and whether or not you are a member of the National Kidney Foundation. Generally speaking, it costs between $400-$600 for non-members and between $200-$400 for members.

Once certified, NKFCKEs can use their credential to demonstrate their commitment to providing quality kidney health education services to patients and families affected by kidney disease.

10. American Association of Kidney Patients Certified Dialysis Nutrition Professional (AAKPCDP).

The American Association of Kidney Patients Certified Dialysis Nutrition Professional (AAKPCDP) is a certification program for dialysis nutrition professionals. This certification is designed to recognize and promote the highest standards of excellence in the practice of dialysis nutrition. It is intended to provide assurance that those certified have met the educational, experience, and competency requirements necessary to provide quality care to patients with kidney disease.

To qualify for AAKPCDP certification, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in dietetics or a related field, have completed at least 1 year of supervised practice in renal nutrition therapy, and pass an examination administered by the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP). The exam consists of questions on topics such as renal anatomy and physiology, clinical nutrition management, dietary counseling, and food service management.

It typically takes about 6 months to complete the application process and prepare for the exam. Applicants must submit an application form along with documentation verifying their educational background and professional experience. Once approved by AAKP, applicants can register for the exam. The cost of registration is $300 USD.

Upon successful completion of the exam, applicants are awarded AAKPCDP certification valid for 5 years from the date of issue. Renewal requires completion of continuing education credits every 5 years.

Do You Really Need a Renal Dietitian Certificate?

The answer to this question is, it depends. If you are wanting to become a renal dietitian, then yes, you will need to obtain a renal dietitian certificate in order to practice as a professional in the field. This certificate can be obtained through various accredited institutions and programs, such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics or the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

However, if you are not looking to pursue a career in renal nutrition but still have an interest in learning more about it, then obtaining a renal dietitian certificate may not be necessary. In this case, there are many other resources available that can provide valuable information on the topic without having to invest in a formal certification program. These include books on the subject, online courses and seminars offered by medical professionals or organizations dedicated to kidney health. Additionally, joining support groups or attending conferences related to kidney disease might also be beneficial for those wanting to expand their knowledge base on this topic.

Ultimately, whether or not one needs a renal dietitian certificate depends on their individual goals and objectives. For those looking to practice professionally as a renal dietitian, obtaining such certification is mandatory; however for those who simply want to learn more about the field without making it their career path, alternative options can prove just as beneficial.

Related: Renal Dietitian Resume Examples

FAQs About Renal Dietitian Certifications

1. What is a renal dietitian certification?

A renal dietitian certification is an advanced credential that demonstrates expertise in nutrition and kidney health. This certification provides evidence of qualifications to provide specialized care for people with chronic kidney disease or other related conditions.

2. Who can become certified as a renal dietitian?

To be eligible for the RDN-C, individuals must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or related field and at least 1,000 hours of supervised practice experience in renal nutrition counseling within the prior 5 years. Candidates must also pass an exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

3. How do I prepare for the RDN-C exam?

The CDR offers several resources to help candidates prepare for the RDN-C exam, including study guides, practice tests and review courses. In addition, many universities offer courses specifically tailored to help prepare students for this type of examination.

4. How long is the RDN-C certification valid?

The RDN-C certification is valid for five years from the date it was awarded. To maintain active status, individuals must participate in continuing education activities and submit documentation every five years verifying their eligibility requirements have been met.

5. What are some benefits of being a certified renal dietitian?

Some benefits of being a certified renal dietitian include being recognized as an expert in kidney health and nutrition, increasing potential salary opportunities due to higher levels of education and experience, advancing career options within healthcare settings, networking with colleagues who specialize in kidney diseases and disorders, and having access to continuing education credits needed to maintain certification status.

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