A dietitian is a health care professional who promotes good health by helping people plan and prepare nutritious food. At first glance, people might expect dietitians to simply advise others as to which foods are healthy or not, but dieticians do much more than that. Dietitians can use their expertise to work in a wide variety of employment settings. Just think – Who plans and prepares meals in places like schools, hospitals, and prisons? Who can doctors consult with about their patients’ weight management issues? Who does research on the nutritional value of food?
The answer to each of these questions is the same: Dietitians. To become a registered dietitian, you need at least a bachelor’s degree as well as coursework approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association (ADA). The types of approved courses range from food and nutrition sciences, business, sociology, and communication to biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, and chemistry.
Once you finish the appropriate coursework, you must then complete a 6- to 12-month supervised practice program that has been approved by CADE before studying to pass a national examination. Passing this exam allows you to work as a registered dietitian, but additional continuing professional educational requirements are needed to maintain your registration.
Remember that registered dietitians can also earn certificates for specializations such as pediatric nutrition, sports dietetics, and diabetes education. If you are interested in more information about becoming a registered dietitian, please visit the ADA’s website.
By: Vasiliki Anagnostopoulos