Are you an internationally educated professional in nutrition? Are you looking to practise as a Registered Dietitian in Canada?
The Internationally Educated Professionals in Nutrition (IEPN) program has two parts: the 10-course Certificate in Canadian Dietetic Knowledge Competencies and the practicum year. The certificate program is currently offered every other year, with January 2021 as the next anticipated start date.
The certificate bridges your foundational dietetic knowledge to the Canadian context, and provides a Canadian university credential to supplement your international university education. The certificate also means you are eligible to apply for the practicum year, which focuses on bridging your practice-based competencies to the Canadian context.
The College of Dietitians of Ontario regulates the dietetic profession in Ontario, and administers the Prior Learning and Assessment Recognition (PLAR) process for internationally educated professionals in nutrition. The College recognizes successful completion of the certificate as equivalent to a Knowledge and Competencies Assessment Tool (KCAT) Level I result, and successful completion of the practicum year as equivalent to successful completion of the Performance-Based Assessment (PBA). Both are required to be eligible to write the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination (CDRE).
What Will You Learn?
Our courses are designed to meet the competencies in the three areas of dietetic practice: Nutrition Care, Population and Public Health, and Management, as well as competencies in the areas of Communication and Professional Practice. Primary learning includes the following:
- dietetics in an evolving health care context
- nutritional management of both acute and chronic disorders as well as in settings of critical care
- theoretical approaches to chronic disease prevention
Population and Public Health
- the role of nutrition and food as determinants of health
- chronic disease risk reduction from a population-based perspective
- strategies for identifying risk and managing disease at a population level
- principles of food service operations and management as applied in health care institutions and other settings
- the latest trends in menu planning, purchasing, inventory and production management, financial controls, planning and system change, and the use of quality assurance mechanisms
- the application of management information systems at both operational and managerial levels
Communication and Professional Practice
- client assessment, continuity of care, interpersonal dynamics, ethical considerations, and research-based practice issues
- food, nutrition, and health issues from a variety of analytical frameworks
- effective communication and counselling skills
- policies and legislation, ethical practice standards, and emergent issues of the dietetics profession
- interpersonal and interprofessional collaboration skills
- research methods and statistics
Who Should Take This Certificate?
This certificate is for internationally educated professionals in nutrition who need a Canadian certificate to supplement their international credentials, and who have written the KCAT exam as part of the PLAR process overseen by the College of Dietitians of Ontario.
If you have been educated as a dietitian or nutritionist in your home country, you may be interested in taking this certificate. It will help you understand nutrition/dietetic practice in Canada and obtain a Canadian university certificate.
Completion of the certificate enables you to apply to the practicum year in the IEPN program.
Who Teaches the Courses?
All instructors are Registered Dietitians. Instructors teach in the area of dietetics within which they have been working or continue to work.
Industry and Careers
To learn more about dietetic practice in Canada, please visit the Dietitians of Canada (DC) website. Dietitians of Canada is a professional association group.
You may also wish to visit the College of Dietitians of Ontario website. The College is the regulatory body that oversees the registration of dietitians within Ontario. You are strongly encouraged to complete the Canadian Dietetic Practice Orientation and Self-Assessment Tool (OSAT) to learn more about practice in Canada as well as to prepare you for the Knowledge and Competency Assessment Tool (KCAT) exam noted in Admission Criteria.
Professional Designations and Accreditation
By completing the certificate and the subsequent practicum year, you will have demonstrated entry-level competencies in dietetics, as defined by the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice (PDEP) in their Integrated Competencies in Dietetic Education and Practice (ICDEP). This will qualify you to apply to write the Canadian Dietetics Registration Examination (CDRE).
- 10 required courses
- Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 1.67+
- An assessment completed by the College of Dietitians of Ontario (CDO)
- And proof of English proficiency at the required level
For the CDO assessment, eligible applicants must have written the Knowledge and Competency Assessment Tool (KCAT) exam within the context of The College of Dietitians of Ontario Competency Assessment.
An admission application is required for this program. A two-step pre-approval process will be conducted by the program coordinator including submission of an application package and an in-person assessment for qualifying applicants.
For more information, see How to Apply or contact email@example.com.
How to Apply
A two-step admission application is required for this program.
Complete the online application form.
Once you have completed the online application form, you will be sent an email with further instructions on how to upload your required supporting documents, which include the following:
- A letter of intent describing your interest in the certificate program (maximum of two pages)
This letter will give the reader some insight about you as an individual and a nutrition professional. It will also demonstrate why you feel you are a good candidate for the program, and will provide an example of your written communication skills.
- An updated resumé or curriculum vitae (CV) (maximum of two pages)
Please include your university qualifications and any work/volunteer experience related to the dietetic profession.
- A document sent by the College of Dietitians of Ontario confirming your Level I or Level II Knowledge and Competency Assessment Tool (KCAT) results
- Proof of English proficiency as submitted to the College when you applied to write the KCAT
Qualifying applicants will be invited for an in-person assessment. More information about the in-person assessment will be provided to those applicants moving forward in the application process.
Awards and Financial Aid
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the eligibility requirements for applying to the IEPN program?
The primary eligibility requirement is receiving a Level I or Level II on the Knowledge and Competency Assessment Tool (KCAT). You must have written this exam to apply.
Please see the College of Dietitians of Ontario website for when the exam is offered. Currently, it is offered once a year.
Can I take the courses on a part-time or online basis?
The certificate program is an in-person program. Courses are offered over three consecutive terms starting in January. The Winter term runs from January–April, the Spring/Summer term runs from May–August and the Fall term runs from September–December.
Students can expect to be on campus for two days per week and devote another two to three days per week on independent reading and preparing for assignments and tests.
Will I have summers off?
Since we run consecutively from January to December, students will not have the summer off. There are typically a few weeks off between semesters.
Does completing the certificate guarantee me a spot in the practicum year?
Students who complete the certificate are not guaranteed a practicum spot. Our admissions process is based on our experience with respect to the attributes and knowledge that predict success in practicum placements. Criteria will include overall grades (GPA) and an interview, as well as the application letter of intent and resumé.
What is the overall flow of the practicum year? Is it a full-time commitment?
The practicum is full time during the placements themselves. You will be working with a Registered Dietitian at each placement, and it is expected that you will be with them for the same amount of hours that they are at work. You will be in placements for 9–12 weeks per 16-week semester; this will be a maximum of 36 weeks in the calendar year (January–December). Note that your time between placements may also be spent, in some part, with preparing for the next placement and/or completing logbooks, presentation, and reflections.
Will I be licensed to practise as a registered dietitian in Ontario after completing the certificate and practicum year?
The College of Dietitians of Ontario regulates the dietetic profession in Ontario. For internationally educated professionals in nutrition, the College recognizes successful completion of the certificate as equivalent to a Knowledge and Competencies Assessment Tool (KCAT) Level I result, and successful completion of the practicum year as equivalent to successful completion of the Performance-Based Assessment (PBA). Both are required to be eligible to write the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination (CDRE). As such, successful completion of both the certificate and practicum years will mean you are eligible to write the CDRE exam.
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