Top 5 Tips to Become a CSG Dietitian
Are you a geriatric dietitian? You practice in geriatrics and now you want to make it official and become a CSG Dietitian! You are at the right place to start. In this article I share my top 5 tips to pass the CSG exam.
Be sure to snag my freebie Top 5 Tips to Pass the CSG Exam on RD2RD Marketplace so you have everything you need to know in one PDF with clickable hyperlinks.
What is a CSG Dietitian?
A CSG dietitian a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who has obtained the CSG credential. CSG is short for Board Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition. This is through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
CDR offers several different specialty credentials:
- Gerontological Nutrition (CSG)
- Oncology Nutrition (CSO)
- Pediatric Nutrition (CSP)
- Pediatric Critical Care Nutrition (CSPCC)
- Renal Nutrition (CSR)
- Sports Dietetics (CSSD)
- Obesity and Weight Management (CSOWM)
Some dietitians even hold dual certifications (for example, they have both the CSG and CSR).
How do I become a CSG Dietitian?
To become a CSG dietitian you must pass the CSG exam! The exam is made up of 150 questions and is comprehensive across several different content areas. There are specific eligibility requirements that you have to meet in order to take the exam. You can learn more about eligibility in our first tip below!
This credential is good for 5 years; at which point you do have to retake the exam to maintain your credential. This means that anyone you meet with the CSG is up-to-date with their knowledge and expertise in geriatric nutrition!
Top 5 Tips to Pass the CSG Exam
Without further ado, here are my top five tips! Again, you can download a PDF version: Top 5 Tips to Pass the CSG Exam.
1) Know where to start
Everything you need to know about becoming a CSG can be found on CDR’s CSG website.
There is a ton of information on this website to get you started, but be sure to check out:
- Eligibility Requirements– review this page to make sure you qualify to take the exam.
- The Content Outline– this is the outline will show you what the CSG exam covers.
- Reference List– these are the exact resources where the exam questions come from.
- Candidate Handbook– tons of info about the test, plus sample questions on page 9!
If you have any specific questions you just can’t find online, you can always call or email the staff at CDR for assistance.
2) Take time to study
This may sound silly, but many dietitians have gone into this exam without studying. Just because you work with older adults doesn’t mean you will pass the CSG exam.
This exam is comprehensive and covers a variety of areas from clinical to community to food service. Be sure to study all areas in the content outline, especially the in areas you feel least confident in.
Think about when you took the RD exam… you had to know a lot of information to call yourself a dietitian. It’s the same thing with becoming a CSG dietitian. It’s a broad practice area, so make sure you study!
3) Take advantage of study resources
I love that there are study resources available to help you prepare to take the CSG exam! These didn’t exist when I took the exam.
For many dietitians, the thought of taking the CSG exam can feel overwhelming. It’s been so long since you took a test. You might not even know where to start studying!
These study resources can help you are you prepare to take the exam. Disclaimer: I have not reviewed these flash cards. I am in no way claiming that by purchasing these resources will guarantee you pass the exam.
The Healthy Aging Dietetic Practice Group (DPG) has the following resources:
- CSG Toolkit– free benefit for members
- CSG Flashcards & Study Review Videos– available for purchase, discount for members
Mometrix Test Preparation has the following resource:
- Gerontological Nutrition Exam Flashcards Study System– available for purchase
4) Reach out to a CSG dietitian for advice
If you don’t know anyone with the CSG, try searching for CSG dietitians on LinkedIn, look for CSGs on the Academy’s e-mentoring website, reach out in a dietitian-based Facebook Group, etc.
You can find over 25 CSG dietitians on The Geriatric Dietitian Community Facebook group.
5) Be prepared for test anxiety
Test anxiety is real.
Many dietitians haven’t taken an exam in a long time. Taking an exam can be quite nerve wracking! Test anxiety can throw off even the best geriatric dietitians. The best thing you can do is be prepared for it.
Here are four tips to reduce your test anxiety:
- Study early and efficiently
- You’ll be less stressed if you know your stuff.
- Learn relaxation techniques
- Deep breathing, relaxing muscles, positive thinking.
- Take care of yourself!
- Get the nutrition, exercise, and sleep you need.
- Don’t ignore a learning disability
- Accommodations are available as needed.
I can’t emphasize the last bullet point enough. If you have a disability, accommodations are available. Accommodations put everyone at a level playing field. Don’t let any learning disability hold you back from becoming a CSG dietitian!
Perks of passing the CSG Exam
I am assuming that if you read this article, you are interested in becoming a CSG dietitian. I probably don’t need to sell you on why you should become a Board Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition, but I did want to mention a few perks!
Here are my favorite perks:
- 75 CPE credits
- CSG credential after your name
- Potential for raise/bonus/increased rates
To maintain your dietitian credential, you need to complete 75 hours of continuing professional education credits every 5 years. One of those hours must be for ethics. But if you get the CSG you are set with your CPE (aside from hour of ethics!). I’m sure you’ll still continue to pursue CPE activities… but you no longer have to worry about logging them.
After you pass the CSG exam, be sure to start using those credentials! You earned them and they set you apart as a certified specialist in gerontological nutrition! It’s also another line on your resume that makes you stand out as the geriatrics expert.
And finally, depending on your work setting the CSG can provide leverage for a potential raise, bonus, or increasing your rates if you own your own business. It’s certainly not guaranteed, but worth looking into!
Congratulations on your commitment to pursing the CSG credential. You will no doubt be improving your own skill set and the value you deliver to older adults.
Wishing you the best of luck! And if you pass the CSG exam, be sure to reach out and let me know! I’d love to hear from you. Katie at [email protected].