How to Become a Registered Dietitian

What does it take to become a dietitian? Learn about the degrees you can choose to pursue, as well as certification to advance in the field.

How to Become a Registered Dietitian

Many people who are interested in health and well-being choose to become registered dietitians (RD). In a community, an RD may play a variety of functions.

You might work in a hospital or another medical setting, giving patients nutritional care.

Steps to Becoming a Registered Dietitian

If you’re interested in becoming a registered dietitian, these are five steps you’ll need to complete.

1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree in clinical nutrition, dietetics, public health nutrition, or foods and nutrition must be earned before pursuing a career as a registered dietitian.

Students study courses in community nutrition, applied food principles, food service systems, evidence-based nutrition, and nutritional therapy during their studies.

2. Complete a Dietetic Internship

After completing your nutrition degree, you must do an internship to gain the real-world clinical experience necessary to become a registered dietician.

Not just those with bachelor’s degrees, but also those who have received master’s degrees, can attest to this.

3. Pass the Registration Examination

Prospective dietitians must pass a registration exam given by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics after finishing their degree requirements and internship program.

Between 125 and 145 questions, spread over dietetic principles, nutrition care, food service systems, and administration of nutrition programs, are included in the two-and-a-half-hour exam.

4. Obtain a State License

Before you can be employed, the state where you desire to practice may require that you receive a state license or certification.

Steps to Becoming a Registered Dietitian

The CDR details which states need registered dietitians to hold extra licenses. You might in some cases be qualified for a license based on your academic record, internship experience, and exam score.

It is best to examine and get ready in advance for the unique requirements of where you wish to live and work because the majority of states have their state licenses.

5. Earn a Certification

Registered dietitians must obtain a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS), offered by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists, to obtain a license in several states.

To obtain this certification, you must complete a graduate degree program, pass an exam, and complete 1,000 hours of supervised clinical practice.

FAQs on How to Become a Registered Dietitian

Faqs about registered dietitians.

Registered dietitian nutritionists — RDNs — are the food and nutrition experts who can translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living.

RDNs use their nutrition expertise to help individuals make unique, positive lifestyle changes.

The biggest difference between dietitians and nutritionists lies in the legal restrictions that each title carries.

Only nutritionists that become registered with Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) may legally declare themselves as dietitians or more precisely, registered dietitians (RDs).

Job employment of dietitians is expected to increase by 9% over the next decade, making it a promising chosen career.
Dietitians serve many roles in their community from working in hospitals administering care to patients to serving nonprofits providing nutrition advice to the general population.

Registered dietitians work with patients who are struggling to lose weight or need to improve their diet for other health-related reasons, such as following a managing diabets.

They work with patients to understand their particular needs and challenges, and design meal plans accordingly.

Private Practice – $129,100 annually. Pharmaceutical/mfr/dist/retailer – $97,100 annually. College/university/academic medical center – $82,000 annually.

Food mfr/dist/retailer – $80,000 annually. Office – $78,000 annually.

Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 5,900 openings for dietitians and nutritionists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

However, becoming a registered dietitian isn’t as easy as knowing about a healthy diet.

Dietetics is a highly regulated profession where training and higher education matter, especially since most states require a license/certification to practice, and in order to become licensed, a secondary degree is required.

And those dietitians with an advanced degree can make upwards of $256,300 annually!

Working as an Eating Disorders Dietitian can be hard work but rewarded generously. Worksite Wellness Dietitian. $100,000+ annually.

The salaries of Sports Nutritionists in the US range from $12,326 to $334,332 , with a median salary of $59,962 .

The middle 57% of Sports Nutritionists makes between $59,962 and $151,402, with the top 86% making $334,332.

Pro: You’re helping people become healthier every day.

Con: Working with patients who have a limited life expectancy can be tough.

Pro: You can work in many different places.

Con: There are a lot of educational and training requirements.

Truth is, we may never know how much help we can give to others by becoming a dietitian and by sharing these steps with those who want to become one.

Keep visiting our page for more educating articles.

CSN Team.

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