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Dietetics and Nutrition

Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

Steps to becoming a
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

  1. Successful completion of the BS in Dietetics and Nutrition degree requirements; including three blocks of approved co-op education experience.
  2. Complete an accredited 1,200 hour supervised practice program, such as a Dietetic Internship or Coordinated Master’s Program after graduation.
  3. Pass the National Registration Exam for Dietitians.

In addition to the professional credential of the RDN, forty-six states currently have statutory provisions (licensure/certification) regarding professional regulation of dietitians and/or nutritionists. Information regarding statutes of individual states is provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Career Opportunities for a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist advises and counsels others on food, nutrition, and lifestyle. They may explain nutrition issues, assess a client’s dietary and health needs, develop meal plans, gauge the effects of these meal plans, conduct research, and promote nutrition through public speaking and community outreach programs. Salary information for Dietitians and Nutritionists is available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Specialties within the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist profession include:

  • Hospitals, HMOs or other health care facilities, educating patients about nutrition and administering medical nutrition therapy as part of the health care team. RDs may also manage the foodservice operations in these settings, as well as in schools, day-care centers, and correctional facilities, overseeing everything from food purchasing and preparation to managing staff.
  • Sports nutrition and corporate wellness programs, educating clients about the connection between food, fitness, and health.
  • Food and nutrition-related businesses and industries, working in communications, consumer affairs, public relations, marketing or product development.
  • Private practice, working under contract with health care or food companies, or in their own business. RDNs may provide services to foodservice or restaurant managers, food vendors and distributors, or athletes, nursing home residents or company employees.
  • Community and public health settings teaching, monitoring and advising the public, and helping to improve their quality of life through healthy eating habits.
  • Universities and medical centers, teaching physicians, nurses, dietetics students and others the sophisticated science of foods and nutrition.
  • Research areas in food and pharmaceutical companies, universities and hospitals, directing or conducting experiments to answer critical nutrition questions and find alternative foods or nutrition recommendations for the public.
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