How to Become a Registered Dietitian
*Do not assume that any schools and programs listed on this site are a path to obtaining the RD credential. For credential information on actual schools that offer programs to the RD credential, view the ADA's official website at www.eatright.org.
What are the daily tasks for various Nutritionists and Dietitians?
The day-to-day activities in the nutritional field vary wildly depending on the area of expertise and specific location of practice. In general, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nutritionists and Registered Dietitians “plan food and nutrition programs, supervise meal preparation, and oversee the serving of meals. They prevent and treat illnesses by promoting healthy eating habits and recommending dietary modifications.”
Clinical Nutritionists and Dietitians, those working in hospitals, clinics and long and short term care facilities, focus on patients who’s primary illnesses can range from diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, or obesity to routine operations and hospital stays due to illness or injury. This environment means working closely with physicians, nurses and other medical specialists as a team to treat patients. Those interested in a hospital or care facility environments would be urged to learn more about the facilities in their area.
Community Nutritionists and Dietitians work primarily in public health clinics, health and human services agencies, and private community clinics counseling individuals and groups on nutritional practices designed to prevent disease and promote health. Working in places such as public health clinics, home health agencies and health maintenance organizations, community Nutritionists and Dietitians review their patients needs and prepare nutritional recommendations to fit their specific needs and lifestyles.
Additionally, nutrition professionals can consult on regular daily activities such as food shopping and preparation to the elderly, children, and patients or clients with special needs. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “increased public interest in nutrition has led to job opportunities in food manufacturing, advertising, and marketing. In these areas, dietitians analyze foods, prepare literature for distribution, or report on issues such as dietary fiber, vitamin supplements, or the nutritional content of recipes.”
Management Nutritionists and Dietitians spend their days primarily in health care facilities, cafeterias, prisons, and schools. A position as a Management Nutritionist or Dietitian can be very rewarding, as the job specifications entail managing large groups of food service professionals in a fast-paced, demanding environment. Preparing meals for large groups of people on a daily basis can involve not only food preparation but the coordination of a staff of workers, supply orders and accounting.
Consultant Nutritionists and Dietitians, on the other hand, work primarily with health care facilities or for a private practice. These professionals perform client nutritional screenings and prescribe diet-related advice for the alleviation of ailments such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Registered Dietetic Technician
*Estimates based on information from Indeed.com, payscale.com 2009
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