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How to Become a Dietitian: Differences between a Nutritionist and a Dietitian & 5 Types

Searching for information on how to become a Dietitian? When thinking about a career in this profession, it might be challenging to decide which master’s or undergraduate degree to pursue.

You might be shocked to hear that the best option for this career isn’t usually to study to become a nutritionist. So, what level of education is required to become a nutritionist or dietitian? Even while it’s not the only option available to you, the academy that regulates dietitian registration would prefer that you pursue dietetics as an alternative.

How to Become a dietitian

Your options for employment will also change based on the area of the subject you select and whether you want to work for the government or the private sector. You can get employment in sports management companies, specialized clinics, or private practices.

Would you like to know more about the qualifications for this field? Find out how the distinction between nutritionists and dietitians will effect your career goals and how to become a dietitian if you already hold a degree in the following paragraphs.

In order to help you as much as possible prepare for your future employment in this profession, we’ve also provided The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ advice of steps for becoming a registered Dietitian Nutritionist, or RDN.

What Distinguishes a Nutritionist from a Dietitian?

A nutritionist does not need to have any formal training or certification. Therefore, anyone—including a high school dropout without any specialized dietary science training—can self-identify with this designation. Some students pursue certification as a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS), which requires a master’s or doctoral degree and 1,000 hours of supervised practice.

Although official employers will know the distinction between certified dietitians and nutritionists, the general population frequently does not. You might earn a bachelor’s degree in dietary science, omit the internship necessary to register as a nutritionist, and call yourself a nutritionist if you want to start a private consulting business. You must obtain your RD certification if you intend to work for a healthcare organization.

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Is an Internship Required to Become a Dietitian?

A nutritional expert’s job requires practical experience and crucial clinical abilities. For this reason, you have to do a supervised internship that lasts at least 1,200 hours. You may practice creating menus, educating patients, and giving lectures in a classroom thanks to this experience.

To get an internship and receive college credit for your employment, work with your school. Some students decide to wait until they have finished their coursework before beginning a full-time internship. There may be paid internship opportunities available, especially at senior living facilities.

How to Become a dietitian

How to Become a Dietitian

You can take a number of stages to become a certified dietician. These actions comprise:

1. Complete a degree program or a post-baccalaureate program to continue your education.

You must first graduate from a recognized dietetics program with a bachelor’s degree at the very least. You can finish a post-baccalaureate program even if you already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. A future dietitian will have the chance to pursue their master’s degree in this way, which is necessary to become a registered dietician or to specialize in a particular field. If the opportunity is available, you can also finish a master’s or doctoral degree in dietetics.

2. Complete a Professional Internship.

In order to graduate from the school you’re enrolled in, you could even be required to perform an internship in this profession. Numerous programs let you complete your degree with placement in a qualifying internship position.

Hospitals, healthcare facilities, clinics, and a wide range of other healthcare-related businesses that offer clients corporate wellness programs, sport nutrition counseling, or assistance with eating disorders are typical places where interns can find work.

The need for dietetics professionals across the globe means that your opportunities won’t end there. You can pursue careers in the food industry, public health commissions, advocacy summits, universities, and research medical facilities as part of your dietetics profession.

3. Succeed on your Licensing Tests.

You must pass your licensing exam if you wish to work as a registered dietitian. The first prerequisite you’ll likely need to fulfill in order to be granted any type of license in your state is this one. The majority of states do not place a restriction on how many times you can retake the test, though some may charge more each time.

You must conduct research and study for the test in order to get ready, preferably without having to retake it. You will only need to maintain your dietician certification in accordance with state rules after you have fulfilled the prerequisites for license.

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Nutritionist and Dietitian Types

Over the past ten years, the area of dietetics has experienced significant growth. Registered dietitians have a variety of job opportunities, including:


In order to promote healthy lives that achieve their clients’ objectives, nutritionists offer their patients dietary counseling and support. This title has a less clinical purpose in some places. As of 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average yearly salary for nutritionists was approximately $63,090.

Holistic Nutritionist:

By substituting natural, yet scientifically validated, alternatives for conventional medical treatments, holistic nutritionists assist their customers in following health-oriented food programs. Holistic nutritionists assist customers with changing to healthy eating habits as well as stress management, which can be harmed by meals with a high glycemic index. As of 2020, the annual average salary for nutritionists was roughly $63,090.

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Registered Dietitian:

An expert in nutrition who is licensed to treat clinical disorders linked to diet is a registered dietitian. The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) has severe standards that registered dietitians must adhere to.

Certified Nutrition Specialist:

In some states, municipalities, and counties, certified nutrition professionals are equivalent to registered dietitians. They are experts in advanced nutrition who design and manage public health initiatives. The salary and job description are consistent with that of a certified dietician.

How to Become a dietitian

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Dietitians paid well?

As of August 2022, the average yearly compensation for consultants in the field of dietetics was $60,528. Most earn between $51,500 and $70,500 annually.

How do I become a Dietitian in UK?

The British Dietetic Association-accredited degree or postgraduate qualification in dietetics or human nutrition is required. If you already hold a degree and your understanding of human physiology and biochemistry is at an adequate level, you might be able to enroll in a postgraduate course.

In Texas, how long does it take to study a Dietitian degree program?

With 42 hours of Texas core curriculum that can be transferred from prior courses or community colleges, you can finish the 121–130 semester credit hours that are necessary to graduate in just four years if you are a full-time student. The major in nutrition and dietetics requires 53 hours.

Is Working as a Dietitian stressful?

One of the least stressful professions is that of a dietitian. They do, however, occasionally have to handle challenging circumstances. The nutritionist informing someone they need to adjust their eating habits after just learning they have a condition is not going to make that person very happy.



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