Search Ask the Dietitian
I would like to know where you went to college and where are some good schools to become a dietitian. Thanking you in advance.
You can also look at the dietitian career basic questions at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
I'm a sophomore in high school and I'm interested in pursuing a career in being a dietician or nutritionist. I am wondering if you can give me more information on what dieticians / nutritionists are and how much you would make a year in these professions. Thanks.
Go to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics's high school information page. Then go to Dietitian Central: Surveys of Salary by State. If after reading you have more questions, please write back, but first ready my what's a dietitian and who's a nutritionist page.
I have a niece studying clinical nutrition and is looking for a 3 week internship in May. Do you have a program? Do you know who she might contact?
I am doing a report. I had to find a career that I wanted to be and I picked dietitian. I was wondering if you could send me information on dietitians. Thank you for your time.
Read my dietitian careers topic. It should more than answer your question.
I am a student at the University of Cincinnati. In my freshman English class I am required to do a research paper dealing with my major. I have to interview a dietitian and discovered you on the Internet. I would really appreciate it if you could answer a few of my questions. My dead line is coming soon, so I would really appreciate your time and if possible could you give me a response within the next day or two? Thank you!
What college did you attend? What made you choose this profession? Do you like your job? How did you get where you are today? What are some of the struggles in being a dietitian? What are some of your achievements? What kind of things do you do in a day? What is the starting salary of a dietitian and what are the opportunities for advancement? This is the most important question for my paper. What are some of the different types of jobs a person majoring in dietetics can get / perform?
Thank you again for your time.
Actually, I became a dietitian because the market for Home Economics teachers was flooded when I was a freshman in college. My best friend from high school's Dad worked for Cellu Featherweight dietetic foods and he suggested dietetics. Their company had a dietitian and I loved to cook. Seemed like a good fit for me and high school chemistry was my favorite subject.
I have the greatest job in the world in that I get to design software that people can use to make healthier food choices and interact with people from all over the world on the Internet. I have found that people's nutrition problems are very similar the world over.
I have been very lucky in being in the right place at the right time and have had a good network of colleagues that encouraged me to take risks. I am very intuitive and have often taken jobs that were over my head, but I was willing to seize the opportunity and learn something new. All I wanted was to be a dietitian working with patients in a hospital and some day to teach nutrition in a medical school. Since I achieved that goal by my late 30's, I continued to try different jobs that were offered to me. I have never taken a course in computers, yet I have been designing software, databases and web sites since 1989. I don't live my life planned out in the future as I want to be ready for any opportunity.
The biggest struggle is that people are always looking for a quick fix or one food that will solve all their weight problems. A new fad comes along and everyone wants to try it rather than dietitians who are the best source for nutrition guidance.
My biggest professional achievements are the improved nutritional health of thousands of patients, students and Internet visitors whose lives I have had the privilege to touch.
I work with computers most of the day, marketing nutrition or health products, solve software or database problems in addition to answering email questions from this web site. If you are interested in the field of dietetics, I would highly recommend you talk to several dietitians about their jobs or daily activities.
The starting salary for dietitians varies around the country and depends on whether you work with patients or in food service. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has done several surveys of members and reports the results in the dietitian's journal as well as in a book you can buy. You can contact them about the results of these salary studies. Dietitians with < 5 years experience who work with patients average $49,000 per year and dietitians with < 5 years experience who work in food service average $64,000 per year (2007 survey results). Salary varies depending on where you live which is typical of most careers.
The opportunities are only limited by your imagination. You can become the head of a clinical practice, work in your own private practice or head of a food service. Or you can become a consultant and work for any company needing a food or nutrition professional. Jobs vary from working with patients or working with foods. Remember everybody on this planet eats and is in need of good nutrition information. Go check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics web site for info on jobs.
Your web site is both interesting and informative. I am a Physical Therapy Assistant student doing a report on related occupations. I chose the Dietitian profession, but I have not been able to find any information on the history of this area of specialty. How did the profession begin? Where did dietitians first practice? Any information about the history of dietitians would be appreciated. Thanks!
You can go to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics where they have info on the history of dietetics and dietitian careers. You can also contact the Academy in Chicago at 312-899-0040.
Dietetics is a new profession that started in 1917 after World War I and has its roots in Home Economics. It really grew during World War II for the purpose of feeding troops.
I just spoke with my 21 year old daughter who is nutrition major at Ohio University. She is beginning her sophomore year and is wondering if she should do a dietitian major or I think it was a nutrition major that had higher levels of sciences involved. I think eventually she would like to mix nutrition with alternative medicine. Any suggestions? Does it look like a good field for the future? Thanks for any input. Any great colleges she should consider?
Basically a 4 year degree in dietetics or nutrition won't get you anywhere without an internship and passing a national registration exam from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Considering the interest in alternative medicine, I would highly recommend she take courses in this. Baystr University in Seattle has a dietetics program and other coursework in alternative medicine. But what is she interested in and what career would make her happy? What are her salary requirements?
My first criteria for a job is "have fun". I would highly recommend she get a part time job working in a hospital, talk to several dietitians and ask to follow them around for a couple of days before she sinks 5 years into a career only to find out it isn't what she wants.
Frankly, depending on the area of the country and area of practice she is interested in (clinical working with patients or food service working with food preparation) will determine her salary. Our profession is 97% white female and the salary surveys will provide your daughter with an estimate.
Would you have any info about review workshops in Ohio for someone taking the RD exam in Oct? Your help would be appreciated. Thank you.
I do not have info about review workshops. I would recommend you search the American Dietetic Association, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Also, your undergrad dietetics advisor / internship director should have info about review courses for the Academy exam.
I am a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota and am interested in finding out what I need to do to become a registered dietitian. I have a Bachelor of Science in design and would like to go to school while my children are still young and am interested in nutrition. Any suggestions?
After completing a 4 year degree in dietetics or nutrition, you will need to do an internship. Some programs incorporate the internship along with the undergrad education. Lastly, you will need to take a national registration after completing your internship.
If you want more info, read Dietitian or Nutritionist?. Also go to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics's website about dietian careers and how to become a member . I would also recommend you contact the Minnesota Dietetic Association and the Twin Cities Dietetic Association (612-628-9250) to find out about jobs / salaries before you spend another 5 years on another degree.
Why though you don't pursue a job in your design career? If you have computer skills, you could be a website designer at home for about $50 per hour. Dietitian salaries don't reach that level unless you have a PhD.
My daughter is starting college this fall to study to be a registered dietician and we are searching for scholarship information. If you know of any sources, I would greatly appreciate any information you might have.
Would suggest you contact the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation at 312-899-0040. Also would suggest you contact the college or university about scholarships where your daughter is enrolled.
I am interested in becoming a dietitian. How can I become one? What classes do I have to take?
I have a pharmacy degree right now. Can I work with that? What schools offer good programs (in California)?
I would guess the jobs would be easier to find in pharmacy than dietetics in some areas of the country. But it would make for a great combination. If you were also a registered dietitian you could extend your job search to pharmaceutical companies in the research and development area. Also, there is concern about food / drug interactions which would blend your knowledge area if you added a degree in dietetics.
A registered dietitian has completed a 4-year college degree in nutrition or dietetics, completed an internship and passed a registration test by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics web site. In order to stay registered, dietitians have to complete 75 hours of continuing education every 5 years. Some states also license who can call themselves a dietitian or a nutritionist.
To become a dietitian, you will need to major in dietetics or nutrition. Your minor could be in chemistry, business or counseling depending on whether you want to be a clinical or food service dietitian or dietitian who educates patients. You don't have to make a decision about your specialty (i.e. diabetes or children) until you start practicing, but you should decide if you want to work with patients (clinical) or food (administrative) as that will determine the courses you take the last 2 years of college.
First check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics's website as the answers to many of your questions are there. The Academy has a list of colleges that offer at accredited education programs and dietetic internships. You will need a four year college degree plus an internship (9 months to 1 year after college) to become a dietitian or a two year degree with supervised clinical experience to become a dietetic technician. Dietetic technicians assist dietitians and do similar work. After the internship or work experience, you would be eligible to take the national registration test from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A second option would be a college dietetics program that combined a Bachelor's degree and internship (Coordinated Undergraduate Program) where you could complete the course work and internship at the same time. Your third option is you can get a Master's degree that includes a pre-approved professional experience to complete the degree and internship requirements, but you would still have to take the national registration test.
Most dietitians work with patients (clinical dietitians) or work with food service (administrative dietitians) either in hospitals, nursing homes or out-patient clinics. Some clinical dietitians work in private practice (counsel patients), perform nutrition research, consult with smaller health care facilities or teach in colleges / universities. Other dietitians work for companies who sell food products, a few work in media and communications (TV, radio, newspaper) or some work with athletes or professional sports teams. Public health nutritionists have a Master's degree in nutrition and are usually registered dietitians. They often work in county, state and federal programs with a nutrition component like WIC, EFNEP, school lunch, etc. There are different areas of practice that dietitians work in / with such as senior citizens, mental health, cancer, renal (kidney), children (pediatrics), diabetes, rehabilitation, sports & wellness, school food service, etc.
Call your local hospital, clinic or your state public health department and ask to talk to a dietitian about their job. Most would be happy to show you around and tell you what a typical day is like. Ask lots of questions like "how did you get interested in becoming a dietitian" or "where did you go to school". I would also recommend you get a summer or part time job working in health care to determine if you like it before you spend 4 - 5 years of your life educating yourself in a dietetics career.
FYI, 46 states regulate who can provide nutrition advice within a state by requiring a license to practice. Check on licensure with your state's dietetic association which is probably located in the capital of the state in which you live. The state dietetic association's phone numbers are also listed.
Positions for dietitians in some areas are tight due to the fact that dietitians tend to stay close to home as many have families. Before you spend the time educating yourself to become a Registered Dietitian, check with the dietetic association for job openings where you want to live.
Lastly, you may want to check out beginning salaries for dietitians. Every few years, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics surveys its members regarding years of experience, area of practice and corresponding salary. The results of these salary surveys are published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and should be available in the library of any college with a dietetics program or medical school. The last one was published in 2007. Also check salary ranges
If you can answer this question, I would really appreciate it. I am 39 years old and have been studying nutrition AND (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) approved didactic program for the last two years. With the amount of competition there is in the RD (registered dietitian) program, in your opinion, am I too old?
My undergrad degree was liberal arts, so I had a lot of science to make up. I have found that part-time schooling is best for me due to the subject matter. I really enjoy the field of nutrition and was wondering if in your opinion would I qualify for any decent jobs with just a Bachelor of Science in nutrition?
The RD program is what I truly would like to do, but feel it would take me so long (seems like such a long time before I would finish) and then of course the internship. I really enjoy community nutrition and helping people make correct food choices. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and nice web-site.
No, you are not too old to apply for an internship or become an RD. Have you talked to your college advisor regarding your concerns? Also, you can check out the requirements for internships and the registration exam at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.
Don't know what jobs would be available with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in nutrition. The majority of dietitians who complete an internship and take the registration test work in health care facilities (hospitals, nursing homes or out-patient clinics) which require registration. Would suggest you research jobs availability with only a BS in nutrition. It also depends on your career goals. If you want to work in health care, then you will need to become registered.
Another possibility would be to get a Master's Degree in Public Health which would more closely address your area of interest (community nutrition). But an MPH would be 2 years beyond a bachelor's degree and you would not necessarily need to complete an internship. Take a look at the Society for Nutrition Education which a lot of public health nutritionists join.
I would highly recommend you research salary ranges for registered dietitians as well as talk to people with a Bachelor's degree in nutrition. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics periodically surveys its members for experience years and salary which is published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I believe that the latest salary survey was published within the last 2 years.
Good luck with your education and career. Thanks for your kind comments as well.
Hi, I'm graduating from SUNY at Oneonta May with a BS (Bachelor of Science) degree and nutrition degree. I live in the New York City area and my school did not offer an internship. I will need experience in the field of dietetics before I can apply for an internship. Can you suggest an avenue for me?
I have a resume and did work on campus in the food service atmosphere. I appreciate it if you can write me back with any suggestions or if you have a contact in the New York City or Long Island areas.
Are you aware that you will need an internship, coordinated undergraduate program or advanced degree with preplanned work experience (AP4) in addition to taking a national registration test before you can call yourself a dietitian? Have you talked to your college advisor? Did she / he tell you that you would need an internship to become registered? Also, some states license who can practice nutrition which is usually restricted to dietitians and other health professionals (doctors, nurses, chiropractors) not people with 4 year degrees in nutrition.
I don't believe that work experience is a pre-requisite to an internship though it would help determine if you like working with patients. Why wouldn't your food service experience be practical experience as dietitians do a rotation in food service? An internship is on the job training under the Academy approved supervisors. Would suggest you very actively pursue an internship. Get info on where programs are available as the application deadlines are only a few times per year. Read this Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics information on how to join the Academy and for a list of dietetic internships .
Would recommend you contact the New York Dietetic Association. Their number is on their website. You can also contact the Long Island Dietetic Association. Ask about jobs available to persons with a 4 year nutrition degree without an internship. Best wishes.
I hope you can help me. I have a B.S. (Bachelor of Science degree) in Home Economics Education. I am interested in going back to school to become a dietitian. However, I am having a hard time finding a university that still certifies in that area. I live near San Antonio, Texas. Please help if you can.
I am 43 years old and have been teaching for the last 18 years and am ready to change careers. I had originally planned to be a dietitian, but got married and changed to education. I would appreciate any advice or help you could give me. Thank you.
You can access the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics's (AND) accredited education programs. There are three options to become a dietitian – coordinated programs that include an internship, didactic programs that confer a college degree that would require you to apply for a dietetic internship. You can also read about dietian careers.
You may also want to review entry and experienced salaries. Every couple of years the Academy surveys its members regarding area of practice, years of experience and salary information. It has been published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics every two to three 2 years. You can buy a copy of Compensation and Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession or look at the salary by state
I am planning to enter the dietetic field of study. If you have a quick moment, I would like to know the steps you took to enter the field.
I found a wonderful program at a 2-year college, allowing myself to be introduced to the field as a dietetic technician. Do you think it is wise to start on a lower scale, two year associate of arts college and then progress in field as I deem necessary, moving on to a four year college or university institution? Thank you for you time.
I would encourage you to pick a career that reflects hobbies or interests that you have now. In particular, interests that occupy your time and you could describe as grabbing your attention. Remember though that you will probably change jobs 7 or 8 times during your career.
If you like to cook / plan meals (food service) or are interested in how nutrition can affect health (clinical dietetics), then dietetics may be a good field for you. First locate schools that have accredited education programs at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Contact schools that interest you or are close to where you live. Talk to the teachers or counselors in the dietetics program at schools that you would like to go to. Fill out an application to attend the schools of your choice.
Then after completing an associate of arts (2 yr degree) or a bachelor of science (4 yr degree) you will need to take a national registration test. In addition, 4 yr degree graduates are required to intern (approved work experience) for 9 - 12 months prior to taking the test. Dietetic technician degrees have their internship built into the required courses for graduation.
Dietetic technician programs were not available when I went to college, but I have taught in 2 dietetic technician programs so I am familiar with the course requirements and applied experience. If you want to take a look at the different educational requirements and job activities of a dietitian (4 year college degree) and a dietetic technician (2 year college degree) then go to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Whether you decide to become a dietetic technician or a dietitian should depend on your goals, grades, financial situation. Even if you aren't sure you want to become a dietitian, you can still take 2 years of general education courses that would apply to a lot of other majors. Dietetic technician education doesn't require as many hours of science as a dietitian's degree and is more applied skills orientated.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics periodically surveys members for income based on years of experience and job duties every few years. The results of these salary surveys are published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If you live in a city with a university of college, call the school's library and ask if they have this journal in their library collection.
I would also recommend you volunteer at a local hospital to see how it feels for you to work in a hospital. Talk to a hospital or clinic dietitian or diet tech that is doing what you think you would like to do. Ask they why they entered dietetics, where they went to school and what a typical day is like.
I am a 1st year pharmacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago and as part of a project I'm giving a presentation to children in grades 4 to 9 in an underserved community about why they should pursue a career in the health sciences. For this particular presentation, we are focusing on four careers: pharmacy, dietetics, dentistry and veterinary medicine.
I have the basic information about a career in dietetics as well as some general information about eating healthy, but I'm stuck on ideas about how to present the information in a fun and interactive way. Do you have any ideas on possible "hands on" activities?
Is there any aspect of dietetics or eating healthy in particular that you would suggest I focus on? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
Call the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at 312-899-0040 and they should have some ideas. March is National Nutrition Month and the Academy should be geared up with ideas.
You can put measured amounts of salt or fat (melt some shortening or margarine) or sugar in a test tube and ask the kids to match the test tubes with foods that have that amount of salt, fat or sugar. For instance 12 ounce can of pop has 9 teaspoons of sugar (4 grams of sugar = 1 tsp) or a medium order of fries has 3 teaspoons of fat (15 grams) and for every packet of salt you add 1/4 tsp of salt (550 milligrams.). Be careful though about low fat as kids need fat to grow and develop a healthy body. Or check the Dole Five A Day site as it is very kid orientated. The latest push is to increase fruits and vegetables in Americans' eating habits.
I was wondering if you could give me some advice? I am 29 male and I am in the Air Force and I am thinking of a career as a dietitian. Is this a growing field or should I steer my focus in another direction? I am currently in Korea until November and I am knocking out some basic classes. Could you recommend any classes? Thanks.
Nutrition and healthy eating is a very growing concern for people. Honestly though, the biggest area of growth in nutrition is in supplements, quick weight loss diets and silver bullet diets to improved health. The diet industry is a $30 billion a year business. Dietitians are not recipients of this spending frenzy though. Most dietitians are still employed in health care facilities like hospitals, clinics and nursing homes where patient care expenses are regulated by third party reimbursement (Medicare / Medicaid and insurance companies).
I would first determine your interests, career and financial needs, including whether you plan on staying in the Air Force. Are you interested in food service management or educating people about a healthy diet (clinical)? You would certainly be in the minority as 97% of the Academy members are white females. Have you read my topic Dietitian or Nutritionist?
Depending on whether you are interested in food service management or nutrition, I would take courses in either quantity food production or basic nutrition. Food service has a lot of management (people and financial) courses and clinical nutrition has a lot of science (chemistry, physiology, anatomy and biology as well as psychology). I would also recommend you talk to any air force dietitian employed on your base about what they do and how they like their job as well as opportunities within the Air Force for dietitians.
You can read online about how to become a registered dietitian at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as well as educational requirements and accredited college programs. The Academy periodically surveys its members for salary info. The results of these surveys are published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics every few years and I believe the last Compensation and Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession was within the last 2 years. Members provide years of experience, area of practice and income figures to the Academy for these surveys. You could determine if that would meet your needs. The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is available online but only available to members or subscribers. You could ask a dietitian on your base for their JAND copy of the last survey.
With your agreement, I would copy an air force lieutenant colonel I know and it would be up to her to correspond with you about her dietetic air force experience. Email me back if you want me to contact a lieutenant colonel I know.
I have a relative that is interested in becoming a dietitian. Can you give me a basic idea of what she's in for as far as studying and maybe a site that will give me a list of good schools? Thank you.
Go to the Acaddemy of Nutrition and Dietetics about dietian careers where you can search for dietitian collegesor frequently asked questions about dietitians.
You will need a 4 year degree in dietetics or nutrition plus an internship lasting 9 - 12 months. Or there are coordinated undergraduate programs that combine your degree and internship. A third option is you can get a master's degree with a planned work experience. Lastly, before you can become a Registered Dietitian, you have to take a national registration test.
Most dietetics programs contain a lot of science courses as well as nutrition. Dietetics is the strongest and best background education in nutrition while qualifying you to apply for an internship and then take the registration test.
This is great that I can email you and ask your opinion! I am a 19 year old student and am finishing up my last year of high school before going into university. I originally wanted to take Applied Health and Nutrition (I am in Canada) and now I have chosen to go into nursing instead so that I will have a broader base. Anyhow, one of the reasons I chose to change programs is because I have an eating disorder (last year I was severely anorexic, but am doing well now!) and am somewhat afraid that the business will only push me into that focus again. However, another reason was that I understand that the course is very rigorous in math (is this so?) and biochemistry. Is there a lot of theory to do? Pure chemistry and biology?
Also, I was wondering what your day as a dietician is like and what it is that you do specifically. Thank you very much.
Congratulations on doing well post anorexia. You can continue to eat and live healthy!
You are correct in that dietetics attracts people with eating disorders, but unless you go into food service, you wouldn't be around food. You would be talking about food. However, the vast majority of dietitians like food and especially chocolate since we are 97% white females. Have you visited the Academy of Nutrition and Dieteticscareer center to learn about educational requirements?
Your choice of nursing may provide stronger salary with increasing experience than dietetics. The Academy periodically does salary surveys of members and clinical dietitians with over 20 years of experience make $35,000 per year in the last survey. Many nurses are unionized in US states and command a higher salary.
I don't think you will find less science in a nursing (Bachelor of Science) degree than dietetics. Yes there is a lot of chemistry in dietetics, but not necessarily math. There is a lot of biology, anatomy and physiology in nursing. I would recommend you talk to a professor in the nursing department where you want to go to school and ask about specific courses that are required for graduation.
As to what I do, I work at a computer all day long as my company provides nutrition content and data to clients. I also test software programs that I design. FYI, Ask the Dietitian is a web site that I maintain. I am energized by working with people and providing nutrition info / tools to improve health.
I am 3/4 of the way through my Master's program in Applied Physiology and Nutrition at Columbia University. I have my bachelor's in nutrition. I currently work in corporate health and fitness and am wondering how to decide whether or not I need/want to pursue my R.D. What are the pros and cons? I do not believe that in Connecticut, where I live, you need an R.D. to practice nutrition counseling. I also know that to get my R.D., I would need to take about 4 additional courses and quit my job to do the internship. But would I be hindering my career to not get my R.D.?
What kind of a job do you want to do when you graduate with your physiology degree? Corporate health / fitness?
Actually, to work in most health care facilities, in patient and out, you need to be an RD. May not be the case in corporate wellness though. In some states, you need to be licensed if you provide dietetic or nutrition services. Even sales people in General Nutrition Stores can't give out nutrition information in states that license nutrition services and are limited to providing product info only.
I think you would have a very strong education if you completed the coursework to become an RD. An internship is not the only way to get certified to sit for the registration exam. Talk to a faculty member in your nutrition or dietetics department about other options including work experience. Contact the Connecticut Dietetics Association licensure page.
You can also check educational / internship requirements at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Also, on the Academy website you can Find a Registered Dietitian. Search for a dietitian who works in corporate wellness in your area and ask her / him about their job requirements / satisfaction.
Within the last two years the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published salary survey of members. Check it out at your University Library. JAND has an index in the back of each December issue.
Good luck in your career.
HI, I am a student and I am majoring in dietetics. We are supposed to do this interview assignment. It isn't for a job, but just for the information. If you have time, I would greatly appreciate it if you could answer the following questions. Basically, I want to find out if this is a job I would really be interested in. I have never talked to an actual dietitian, but I am really interested in food and helping people be more healthy.
With great appreciation.
I would highly recommend that before you spend your time and money educating yourself for a career, talk to dietitians about their jobs. Ask them about a typical day, what they like / dislike about their jobs, how they got their job, etc. Does this describe a job that you would like? Also, check out the salary survey of the Academy members, which was published August 2001. You should find it in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. After you read the survey ask yourself does this meet your salary expectations?
Here are some dietitian salaries from JAND August 2001:
My Bachelor's degree is in Dietetics with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. My Master's degree is in Nutrition with a minor in counseling and guidance from North Dakota State University in Fargo. I am registered with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and licensed in Minnesota. I did not do an internship, but completed practical experience during graduate school instead. I worked one year as a student dietitian at the University of Illinois Research Hospital in Chicago between my bachelor's and master's degrees.
My passion has been clinical practice, but I also loved forming a nutritional support service (intensive care nutrition with oral or tube feedings or IV formulas) in a community hospital. So you would call me a generalist rather than specializing in say diabetes or pediatrics. I was the only clinical dietitian in a 173 bed hospital with an attached 125 bed long term care facility (nursing home) so I worked with every type of patient and diet.
Dietitian qualifications are a 4 year degree in dietetics or nutrition with a 9 - 12 month internship or completion of a coordinated undergraduate program that combines classroom and clinical experience.
I am the president of a corporation whose mission is using computer technology and the Internet to deliver nutrition information, data and software. During the course of my professional career, I have worked as a clinical dietitian in a hospital and long term care, out patient medical clinic, consultant to an anorexia / bulimia (eating disorders) program at a mental health center, taught at the University of Minnesota, Duluth and 2 dietetic technician programs in Minneapolis before designing software for a CDROM publisher and starting my consulting corporation.
Funny thing is I got into jobs that were over my head, but I usually learned valuable new skills. In the traditional jobs I have had in dietetics (hospital, long term care, out-patient medical and mental health clinics), I learned from doctors, nurses and patients as well as continuing education (CE) programs on every aspect of medical nutrition therapy. Continuing education programs taught me the practical applications or provided me with information about new research that I could incorporate into my practice. Prior to teaching at the University and diet tech programs, I didn't have any training to "teach" however, teaching a diet to one patient is similar to teaching 170 students. Prior to designing software, I knew PC word processing and that was it. I have learned a lot about designing software and computer technology from programmers and database developers as well as reading computer magazines and manuals. FYI, I have never taken a computer course and learned what I know on the job, reading software manuals and just working for technology companies.
However, to design databases or publish web sites, you don't need any formal training or education or a degree. You can learn what you need from reading software manuals, looking at what other people do on the Internet and doing it yourself. Unfortunately, this pays much more than dietetics.
My hospital and clinical responsibilities covered nutritional assessment and support, anthropometrics (skin fold measurements with a caliper) and using diet to treat diseases or maintain health. Teaching responsibilities covered teaching over 500 students per year and every nutrition class offered at UMD. In the diet tech programs, I was the program director for about 20 students at each school where I taught nutrition and foods classes as well as supervised hospital experience rotations for students. Software design responsibilities included designing algorithms based on nutrition practice that make nutrient analysis software programs work correctly, testing the software to make sure it worked correctly, identifying nutrient databases and designing databases for brand name food nutrient data as well as working at trade shows to sell the software. I have managed database development, which includes not only finding data to store, but designing the database information to produce meaningful reports people need. Internet publishing includes writing the content you see here, writing the html code and marketing the site to generate income. I also designed the Healthy Body Calculator at this web site, but hired a programmer to write the code that makes the calculator work. With my corporation, I can do whatever I envision.
As to salary, check out the salary survey in JAND above. Teaching jobs vary in salary ranges depending on whether or not the staff is unionized and can mean overworked and underpaid at large universities unless you do research as a PhD. Consulting can range from $50+ per hour depending on your skills and area of the country. Most companies contact me because of my computer / database skills and I know nutrition. Remember though that with consulting, you continually have to market for clients whereas in a staff position, your employer assigns you the work to be performed and finds new work for you to do. Consultants also have to pay all their own expenses including health insurance. So if you decide to go into consulting, charge two to three times what you need per hour.
Since I am president, I can go as far as my vision, energy and enthusiasm take me, but I have to focus all 3 on products that are profitable or have the potential for profit.
I continually take continuing education classes at state and national meetings like the Academy, but I don't think I will get any more degrees. Are you aware that when you become a registered dietitian, you have to take 75 credit hours every 5 years. What that means is for every 1 hour spent in an educational program, you get 1 credit. This is unlike college classes where you get 3 credits for attending a class 3 hours a week for 12 - 16 weeks.
Since 1989, on the job computer training and work experiences have amassed to what I know today. When I need to know more about a particular topic or skill I ask people I know (aka networking) especially programmers, buy books or magazines about the topic and just sit down at a computer to learn what I need to know. I surfed the World Wide Web in March 1995 and by July had launched the first Ask the Dietitian web site. My #1 criteria for any job is have fun while I provide services or products that enhance people's health.
Don't exactly know what you mean by profession responsibilities? Please explain.
If I consider my current position, I need patience to identify problems, logic to figure out solutions and creativity to think of possibilities for new products. I am a visionary who sees probable solutions and the confidence to take risks in spite of the risk of failure.
Unfortunately I spend too much time working on computers and because of that don't get as much exercise as I did at jobs where I walked around. So I now schedule exercise outside my work.
My family has been fortunate to have a dietitian who is also a good cook and serves healthy food. The proof of that is my children will eat anything including spinach, asparagus and they are willing to try unfamiliar foods.
I would first highly recommend that you talk to some dietitians who are doing what you think you would like to do. Then ask one of them to mentor you. Get a job in health care during college to see if you like the work. Don't spend 4 years of your life educating yourself for something you find you don't like or doesn't meet your salary expectations. Your coursework probably follows the educational guidelines from the Academy for approved dietetic programs. In spite of this take outside courses in subjects that you would like to explore. The future definitely includes computer technology, complementary and alternative medicine - find out how it fits with health and wellness. Take some business and marketing courses as you will probably change careers at least 8 times during your work life. Read newspapers, magazines and watch TV to see what aspect of nutrition the public is interested in, then educate yourself about it because they will seek you as the nutrition expert.
Good luck and remember to have fun with your career.
I have graduated this year as a dietitian from a university in Turkey. At the moment I am studying Masters of Science in International Nutrition and Food Processing.
While I was searching in the Internet I came across of your web site. I have been always interested in dietitian's job in United States. Thus I have always wanted to gain an experience there. Can you please tell me what I have to do in order to work as a dietitian either voluntarily or paid in the U.S.? Thank you.
In the US, you need a 4 year degree in nutrition or dietetics, a 9 - 12 month internship (internships have to be approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) and successful passing of a national registration test that is offered every April and October. Or you can get a masters degree with a preplanned practical experience to complete the degree and internship requirements, but you would still have to take the national registration test.
I would suggest contacting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Go to their web site section on becoming an RD / DTR (Dietetic Technician Registered). To practice in the US, you would need to become registered. The Academy has reciprocity with a few countries including Ireland so check if Turkey has reciprocity with the Academy.
Many states in the U.S. license who can call themselves a dietitian or nutritionist or provide nutrition / dietetic services. As to volunteering, I would suggest you again talk to the Academy (612-877-1600, press 0 for the operator). Perhaps you could intern in the U.S. which would also allow you to take the registration test.
I have a master's degree in exercise physiology and wanted to expand my knowledge base more in nutrition. Could you tell me how I need to start? I am not sure if I need to look at a Registered Dietitian degree or what the difference between a nutritionist and a registered dietitian is? Thanks in advance for your reply.
Would suggest you get a degree in nutrition, probably another masters degree. To get info about becoming an RD go to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics site. You may have to take a lot of prerequisite courses to meet the Academy's educational requirements that were not met by your exercise physiology degree. Then after graduation, you have to complete a 9 month internship or professional experience combined with a master's degree. There are CUP programs that combine an undergraduate degree with the internship and could take 3 years if you have all the general education prerequisites. So that is why I suggested the master's degree as your best option.
FYI, some states now have licensure that restricts who can provide nutrition advice within a state. Check on licensure with your state dietetic association which is probably located in the capital of the state in which you live.
Thanks for the info. I agree that pursuing another Master's degree in nutrition would probably be my best bet. Now I have to decide if I want to pursue the masters in nutrition or look into a physical therapy degree. Both of them will help my career. I just don't know which I will start with?
Do you do much work with athletes? If you do, what type of work do you do?
Thanks for writing back so quickly.
FYI, dietitians are 97% white female. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics periodically surveys its members and publishes the results of those surveys in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The last salary survey was published in 1996 and should be available in the library of any college with a dietetics program or medical school. Salaries vary depending on whether you choose clinical (hospital, our patient clinic or nursing home), food service or private practice. Health clubs or corporate wellness programs may be a better mix of your degrees if you have both exercise physiology and nutrition. Lastly, positions for dietitians in some areas are tight due to the fact that dietitians tend to stay close to home as many have families. Before you spend the time educating yourself to become a Registered Dietitian, check with your state's dietetic association for job openings and state salary ranges as well as colleges with programs.
I have mostly worked with college and Olympic athletes, but also bodybuilders. Ask the Dietitian attracts a lot of athletes as well as exercised individuals who are concerned about an optimal weight and diet for performance. Their needs are as varied as their sport and diet so the type of work depends on assessing the athlete's needs.
I am currently a senior in high school and am interested in pursuing a career to be an animal dietitian. My ideal working place is in a zoo composing the diets of the animals that live there and researching what different nutrients do for the health of the captive animals. What courses should I look to take in college? What would my major be called if I chose to pursue this career? This is MUCH appreciated. Our school counselor doesn't know diddley squat!
I would suggest you look into becoming a veterinarian, as I don't know diddley about animal nutrition other than the rats and chicks I worked with doing research or pet dogs and cats I have had. GI tracts differ greatly among species as well as among birds, fish and large mammals.
Start looking at the Animal Science home page of the University of Minnesota. Perhaps you can find an email link to write a teacher there and ask about major, courses, etc.
Good luck. Sounds like a fun career.
I am a 36 year old Mom at home. I do have a BS degree from a very reputable university. In your opinion would it be too late for me to pursue a career as a RD? Any advice would be very much appreciated.
It would depend on what your Bachelor of Science degree is in. The pre-requisites for dietetics are science (biology and chemistry) and nutrition. After completing BS in nutrition, one has to complete an internship or a clinical experience plus a Masters degree. Or if you lived near a college dietetics program that combined the BS degree and internship (Coordinated Undergraduate Program) you could complete the course work and internship at the same time. Before you go register for classes, check out career change at the Academy web site for the results of the latest survey of member salaries based on job responsibilities.
I am thinking about finishing my bachelor's degree in nutrition. I chose this field because of the growing concern I see in the public health wise, specifically medical concerns, intolerance, awareness, fitness, this whole holistic perspective and medical alternatives and in technology, production of food. I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and to that, this degree appears to be nicely compatible.
What is the whole scope of the field in sight on the potential job market, research fields to public service application of a degree in this field?
Basically I want another opinion in this case from a professional, pros and cons. Any hints or advice would as well be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
Don't exactly understand your question about the whole scope of the field.
Dietetics is opening up beyond the traditional health care job though the majority of dietitians still work in hospitals, nursing homes or outpatient clinics. Public health nutritionists have a master's degree in nutrition and are usually registered dietitians. They often work in county, state and federal programs with a nutrition component like WIC, EFNEP, school lunch, etc. Call your state public health department and ask to talk to a dietitian about their job. If you want to become a registered dietitian, you will need an internship or graduate degree with work experience. Check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for information about dietian careers and colleges in dietetics.
Food technology research and development is actually a whole other field with a 4 year degree in Food Science. Food scientists develop new foods, design food labels and know some nutrition, but not medical nutrition therapy. Dietitians know medical nutrition therapy, understand food labels and have some knowledge on how to research and develop new foods for food manufacturers. If you want information about food science, check out the Institute of Food Technologists.
The profession of dietetics is about 97% white female. Most graduates tend to stay put which leaves pockets of where there are job openings. I can only speak for Minnesota and since there are 4 under graduate (4 year) and 2 technical (2 year) schools here, there are lots of dietitians and dietetic technicians. Therefore, not as many jobs are available. I would suggest you call the New York State Dietetic Association. If you can't find their phone number, call the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at (312) 899-0040. I would also suggest you contact a hospital or clinic near you and ask to talk to their dietitian about local health care job conditions. The Academy has periodically done salary surveys and the results are available in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
I would think that your culinary degree and a degree in dietetics would land you a good food service job (administrative dietitian) either in a health care facility or public health or possibly with a food manufacturer. These usually pay a better salary than clinical nutrition ones.
I'm a junior in high school. I have always been interested in nutrition and am now considering it as a career in the future. However, I don't know many dietitians and thought perhaps you could share with me the type of work a dietitian does; the advantages and disadvantages of your work and what kind of academic fields are utilized most in your kind of work (i.e. biology, anatomy, chemistry, etc.). If you could write back when you have the opportunity, I would be very much obliged.
First check out the career change section of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as the answers to many of your questions are there. The Academy has a list at their web site of colleges that offer accredited dietetic programs. You will need a four year college degree plus an dietetic internship (9 months to 1 year after college) to become a registered dietitian or a two year degree and clinical experience to become a registered dietetic technician. Dietetic technicians assist dietitians and do similar work.
If you have an interest in food and how it nourishes the body or wellness and health, dietetics may be for you. I went into dietetics because I loved to cook and a girlfriend's father who was president of Cellu Featherweight food company talked to me about becoming a dietitian. Cellu Featherweight makes dietetic foods that can be bought in grocery stores. Food companies usually hire food technologists to design new foods. Check out the Institute of Food Technologists.
The advantages are you work when people eat and are awake which is 6 AM to 7 PM. This does not require shift work like nursing or other health care careers, but you may have to work weekends and holidays. It's exciting to see a person get better by changing what or when they eat. You don't have to know how to cook or even like cooking to become a dietitian. The disadvantages are that dietitians are 97% female who are not unionized and therefore, beginning salary can be under $30,000 per year for a new graduate. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics periodically does surveys of members to determine what type of work members perform and what they are getting paid for that work.
Most dietitians work with patients (clinical dietitians) or work with food service (administrative dietitians) either in hospitals, nursing homes or out patient clinics. Some clinical dietitians work in private practice (counsel patients), perform nutrition research, consult with smaller health care facilities or teach in colleges / universities. Other dietitians work for companies who sell food products, a few work in media and communications (TV, radio, newspaper) or some work with athletes or professional sports teams. There are different areas of practice that dietitians work in / with such as public health, senior adults, mental health, cancer, renal (kidney), children (pediatrics), diabetes, rehabilitation, sports & wellness or school food service.
Call your local hospital or clinic and ask to talk to a dietitian. Most would be happy to show you around and tell you what a typical day is like. Ask lots of questions like "how did you get interested in becoming a dietitian" or "where did you go to school". To become a dietitian, you will need to major in dietetics or nutrition. Your minor could be in chemistry, business or counseling depending on whether you want to be a clinical or administrative dietitian. You don't have to make a decision about your area of practice (i.e. diabetes or children) until you graduate, but you should decide if you want to work with patients (clinical) or food (administrative) as that will determine the courses you take the last 2 years of college.
PS The letters after my name mean: MS = Masters of Science (2 years of graduate school after bachelor's degree); RD = registered dietitian; LD = state licensed dietitian. FYI most people don't list their bachelors degree after their name.
Good afternoon. My 17-year-old niece would like to earn BS degree as a sport's dietitian. She lives in Dallas, Texas. Could you provide any information that would help her achieve her dream?
Why not surf around the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics where they have lots of info about becoming a dietitian, schools and internships. Would suggest your niece consider a double major in exercise physiology and nutrition. Now that would be a winning combination. There are some great schools in TX which are listed at the Academy site.
I am currently going to school at UC Davis and I am planning on becoming a registered dietitian. I have a couple of questions for you. I am required to do a one year internship, do you know which schools in California have the best programs?
I am very interested in nutrition and sports and would like to be a nutritional counselor for a college or professional team. Do you have any information on how I could get involved in that. I am assuming I would need a PHD, not just a Masters. Please respond at your earliest convenience.
Why don't you contact the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at (312) 899-0040 or visit their web page at www.eatright.org where they have undergraduate, graduate and internship programs listed.
Why not contact the professional sports teams in California and ask to talk to their sports nutritionist? Then ask that person where they went to school and how did they get their job. At a minimum, you will need a Masters degree. Why not think about getting it in exercise physiology?
I am guy who is interested in becoming a dietitian. I just started school at Easter Michigan University and I was wondering what a dietitian does, the need for dietitians and the starting salary. If you could send me any info on any of these questions ( I know they are basic) or where I could look to find some answers, I would really appreciate it.
Check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They have lots of info to answer your questions. Since 97% of dietitians are women, your diversity would be welcome.
I'm interested in pursuing a career in this field. Any suggestions? Any response would be appreciated.
Check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics's home page that has lots of info.
Hello. I am a dietetics student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. For an assignment I am supposed to find information about dietetics software. Is there a certain program that you prefer to use? What qualities does the software have that are better than others do? Any information that you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
You could check BYTINGIN newsletter, which provides an annual directory of food service and nutritional analysis software. They are putting up a web site, but it is still under construction. You can e-mail the BYTINGIN editor Sue Grossbauer.
The government has a database of food and nutrition software that was maintained by the National Agriculture Library. The NAL used to have a printed directory of nutrition software and demo copies of each software at their library in Washington. The NAL has discontinued this as of last year, but your library may have an old copy.
There are monthly software reviews by John Orta in the back of Journal Of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. He is at California Sate University - Los Angeles.
I designed features for 6 nutritional analysis software programs for Hopkins Technology so I am not exactly unbiased. I have been working for HT for over 7 years. I prefer complete nutrition analysis, weight loss, exercise and cookbook software. The qualities that I like in nutritional analysis software are ease of use (don't have to read the manual), large database with few or no missing nutrient values covering at least 30 nutrients, Windows platform, graph / print capabilities, able to add foods to the database, costing of meals / recipes, recipe scaling (increase or decrease number of servings), BMR / activity calorie calculations, inexpensive (<$100) and good technical support.
Good luck with your assignment and career in dietetics. I graduated with a BA from University of Northern Colorado at Greeley and a Masters from North Dakota State University at Fargo. By the way, I have never taken a course in computers and can do anything with computers except program! Take computer classes and become a techie RD.
Search Ask the Dietitian