What is a Dietitian?

What is a Dietitian?

Since I’ve become a dietitian, several people have asked me what exactly it is that dietitians do. So, I found some helpful information from the American Dietetic Association (ADA) that might tell you a little about what we do!

Registered dietitians have a bachelor’s degree in a nutrition or related field, complete a dietetic internship through an accredited supervised practice program, pass a national examination, and keep up their certification via continuing education.

Some RDs hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition, nutrition support, and diabetes education. These certifications are awarded through CDR, the credentialing agency for ADA, and/or other medical and nutrition organizations and are recognized within the profession, but are not required.

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Registered dietitians work in a wide variety of employment settings, including health care, business and industry, public health, education, research, and private practice.

RDs work in:

  • Hospitals, HMOs or other health care facilities, educating patients about nutrition and administering medical nutrition therapy as part of the health care team. They 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. RDs 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.