Are you here because you want to know how to become a dietitian? Check out this article for answers to your questions about how to enter this growing field.
A few things underway are the steps to get started in your career, the duration of the study program, and the cost implications.
We’ll also talk about the average earnings and education needed to be a dietitian.
Registered Dietitian Requirements
Dietary nutrition is a popular career choice in the health and wellness industry. Experts in the field help make nutritional changes that will improve people’s physical and mental well-being.
Additionally, they provide support and education to clients. This is to assist them in developing a healthier lifestyle through diet and nutrition.
A little about Dietitian
Is becoming a dietitian worth it? Yes, it is a fantastic field in healthcare.
You may be wondering who exactly these experts are. They are medical practitioners with knowledge of the relationship between food and health.
They help clients with meal planning and preparation, selection, dietary modifications, healthy eating habits, and portion control.
They can also educate them on the foods they should eat or avoid to optimize their health.
Furthermore, a dietitian can also recommend changes clients can make to develop healthier habits and prevent or manage health conditions.
We refer to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Places where these experts serve include hospitals, cafeterias, long-term care facilities, public health clinics, and government establishments.
Steps for Becoming an RDN
The path to becoming an expert in this field is brief.
You can start by pursuing a bachelor’s degree, finishing the necessary training, becoming licensed, obtaining certification, and maintaining the credential.
Let’s review registered dietitians schooling separately so you can understand them better.
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
The minimum education you’ll need to work as a dietitian is an undergrad certificate in dietetics.
Certificates in related areas, such as food service systems management, clinical nutrition, and public health nutrition, are within the line.
However, only those who graduate before 2024 may pursue a bachelor’s degree in these related areas.
Now, a bachelor’s degree in this field carries accordingly. While some programs focus on wellness, others focus on culinary arts or nutrition science.
However, most undergrad studies have hands-on components where you can work in real life. You’ll be placed under the direct supervision of a dietitian or nutritionist.
Coursework typically includes nutritional therapy, food science, evidence-based nutrition, food service systems, and applied food principles.
Another course you may take is community and public health nutrition.
While pursuing your education, you’re advised to choose institutions accredited by ACEND. This will prepare you for a career as a registered dietitian.
Additionally, your credentials will be acknowledged by most employers in the country.
You can equally go for advanced degrees such as master’s and doctoral in dietetics or related areas.
However, such qualifications are optional to enter this profession. Only those who desire advanced roles in the sector will find such certificates appropriate.
During your postgraduate studies, you’ll learn how to counsel different populations or work in holistic nutrition and wellness facilities.
You can work in research, advocacy, and public policy after graduation.
Gain Hands-on Experience
You’ll need work experience in a clinical setting to succeed as a dietitian.
After completing your nutrition program, you must obtain hospital experience through internships, school programs, and employers.
Most schools offering dietetic studies include supervised training as part of their coursework.
During their internship, students must complete 1,200 hours of supervised practice under a licensed dietitian. The duration of such programs ranges from 8 to 24 months, depending on whether you work full-time or part-time.
Types of Internships for Prospective Dietitians
Here is how to become a registered dietitian if you already have a degree.
You must complete the ASCEND Dietary Internship Program, pass the exam, and become licensed as a registered dietitian.
There are three different sorts of internships available for aspiring dietitians.
Dietetic internships, which last 6 to 12 months, are one of them. It entails rotating through a predefined sequence of clinical settings.
You will acquire practical experience in several facets of dietetics during these rotations.
The second type of internship is program coordination. The necessary curriculum and supervised practice rotations are bundled into a single two- or three-year program.
Most coordinated programs speed up the process by combining academic teaching with practical practice. By doing this, you’ll be able to improve your talents while learning.
Individualized supervised practice is the third type of internship for aspiring dietitians. Recent graduates who want to pursue a managed practice to become registered dietitians are the target audience for this program.
You can design a unique path based on your academic and practical experience with this curriculum.
Seek for License
Some states require you to obtain a permit to work as a dietitian without restrictions. Other states accept CDR credentials in place of licensure.
Nationally recognized credentialing agencies are BCNS, CNCB, and CDR. It would be best to meet certain conditions before being issued dietitian certifications.
These include finishing a certified dietetic program, gaining hands-on experience, and passing the CDR professional exams. Once you satisfy these conditions, you’ll be issued your certification.
About the CDR Exams
These professional exams are computerized and occur throughout the year. There are over 250 exam centers nationwide where you can take this test. You’re to find which center is closest to you.
The CDR exams comprise 125 and 145 multiple-choice exams to be answered in under two and a half hours. Scores range from zero to fifty, with the pass score at the 25 percentile.
Some areas where questions are obtained include principles of dietetics, nutrition care for individuals, and food service systems. Managing food and nutrition programs and services is an additional area of focus.
Updating Dietitician Certification or License
Certified dietitians are required to update their attestation after a certain period.
While renewing this credential, certain conditions must be met. These include paying for recertification and finishing at least 75 hours of continuing professional education every five years.
You must have at least one credit in ethics and other CPE activities such as workshops, conferences, webinars, online courses, and publishing writing.
RDs must also maintain their occupational development portfolio, including their critical activities. We refer to research projects, community involvement, and leadership roles.
Cost of Completing a Dietitian Educational Program
Before entering this profession, you must know how much money you’ll need to invest.
The cost of finishing a dietitian or dietetic program depends on a few factors. These include your choice of institution, schedule, entry route, and residential status.
That said, most vocational programs cost around $4,500. Undergrad tuition ranges from $10,203 to $25,084, and graduate tuition fees are around $21,590.
The Pay of Dietitians
Similarly, you must know how much experts in this field make regarding salary.
Such insight will help you determine whether this career path suits you. According to reports, the average pay of these practitioners is around $61,650.
This amount is subject to change based on certain conditions. These include your work settings, location, level of education and experience, specialty area, and more.
The field of dietary nutrition can be exciting and rewarding.
The profession has been growing in recent years. More and more people are gaining interest in the area because of its prospects and job security.
If you’re stuck on how to grow into an expert in this field, you can see the proper steps to take.