How to Become a Dietician

A dietician provides education and advice on nutrition and health.

When you become a dietician, you will find yourself completing a wide range of duties, from assessing client’s lifestyle, to making nutritional plans, to compiling research and educational materials.

If you are interested in health, find food and nutrition intriguing, and want a job where you interact with people, then you will enjoy working as a dietician.

Education Requirements to Become a Dietician

It’s never too early to start working towards becoming a dietician.

If you are in high school, you should take subjects like English, Biology, Health, Chemistry, as well as Home Economics.

Your school may not offer all of these subjects, so consider taking some short courses on your school holidays if you can.

Learn how to cook, and learn about the different food groups, nutrients, calories, and how they affect our health.

You will need some education after high school.

The minimum educational requirement is to complete a four year Bachelor’s degree in health or science, with a major in nutrition.

This pathway will provide you with a much broader knowledge base and also open up more opportunities in education and research later on.

Once you have completed your education, you will need to become registered in your state to practice.

The requirements vary from state to state, in some places it is as simple as filling out a form, in others you may need to sit an exam.

Dietician Job Description

Most dietitians work one on one with clients.

they will assess a client’s current eating patterns and lifestyle.

Often a person will see a nutritionist because they have a specific problem.

For instance, they might have an allergy, be suffering from diabetes, or be an athlete training for an event.

The dietician will look at the client’s needs, and develop an eating plan.

They will also provide education and advice to the client.

Some dietitians work in specific areas, for instance, childhood nutrition, or weight loss.

Some are employed by hospitals, to communicate with patients and make sure they are getting their dietary requirements.

Dietician Salary and Career Path

Most nutritionists and dietitians are employed in clinics with other health care professionals, in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, or outpatient clinics.

Most dietitians will start their career as an employee, for a private clinic, or perhaps for a bigger employer, such as a hospital or a government department.

As your career progresses there will be opportunity for advancement, as well as the option to work in different areas of dietetics.

Some move on to work as self-employed consultants.

One of the benefits of a career as a dietician, is that there are many different paths your career might take, depending on your strengths and interests.

As a dietician, you will find that your career path could take many turns.

Here are some of the roles you could find yourself in when you become a dietician.

Client Consultation – Meeting with people one on one to discuss their dietary needs and help them with planning.

Sports Nutrition – Many dietitians work with professional athletes to make sure they are getting the right nutrition so they can perform at their best

Education – Many dietitians work to help educate others about food.

This could include working on government campaigns, visiting schools, or writing educational materials.

Research – Some dietitians move into research, where they will collect and analyze date on food, nutrition and health.

A starting salary for a nutritionist would be around $35,000 a year.

those with 1-4 years of experience could expect to earn closer to the median salary for dietitians, which is $52,000.

The highest paid 10% of dietitians earn in excess of $70,000 a year.

If you’re interested in health promotion, along with working with people and communities, then you might like to become a dietician.

Employment prospects and job growth are predicted to be on par with other industries.

Some study is required, however job security and salary are both strong.

There are many varied opportunities for work available, and many options for those who are looking for career progression further down the road.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a dietician?

Dieticians are professionals who study the effects of food on the human body and health.

As a dietician, you will also work with your clients to create customized meal plans.

In order to do that you will take into account the health history of your clients, their favorite foods, exercise habits, and lifestyle.

Dieticians also document their clients’ progress and keep themselves up to date with the latest research on the correlation between food and health.

As a dietician, you work primarily with people who are ill or have food allergies, are diabetics and with those who suffer from obesity or malnutrition.

Registered dieticians work mostly in hospitals, nursing care facilities and other health care facilities.

In most cases, they work as part of a team that includes physicians, physical therapists, social workers, and nurses.

How much does a dietician make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for dietitians and nutritionists was $60,370 in May 2018.

Salaries in this field vary depending on a wide range of factors; some dieticians earn less than $40,000 while others make more than $80,000 a year.

How much does it cost to become a dietician?

A registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) must meet academic and professional requirements, including a bachelor’s degree and an internship at an approved health-care facility.

These terms, RD and RDN, are legally protected, regulated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics which registers and confers professional credentials.

Dieticians are registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration which is the certifying agency of the Academy.

Many RDNs have degrees in nutrition, dietetics or a related field.

A bachelor’s degree ranges from $5,000 per year at a state college to $20,000 or more per year at a private college.

A master’s degree in dietetics costs $15,000-$60,000 and can help dieticians who seek careers in research, public health or advanced clinical work.

Licensure, certification or registration requirements vary by state; costs are somewhere in the range of $100-$300.

What is the demand for dieticians?

Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More dieticians are expected to be needed in the future to help consumers make healthy food choices and to prevent diseases associated with obesity.

Dieticians will also be hired to help the elderly stay active and healthy, so those who specialize in elderly nutrition should have better job prospects.

How long does it take to become a dietician?

If you want to become a registered dietician, you will need a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, dietetics, or food science.

A bachelor’s degree in dietetics typically requires four years of post-secondary studies.

Alternatively, you can get a bachelor of science degree and then get a postgraduate diploma or master’s degree in dietetics which can be earned in approximately 2 years by full-time students.

Many states also require dieticians to be licensed in order to practice; exact requirements vary by state.

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