If you’re interested in pursuing a career in nutrition, consider obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree. These degrees are designed to prepare you for a career as a registered dietitian (RD), a professional credential issued by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
Many of the schools that offer these dietician program have high pass rates on the national RD registration exam. You can ask a school’s admissions advisor to provide you with this information.
A bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics consists of 120 credit hours, including 27 credit hours of general education courses and 54 credit hours of academic courses focused on the study of nutrition, food science and technology, medical nutrition therapy and nutrition education.
Graduates of ACEND-accredited programs are eligible to take the CDR registration examination to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. In most states, you’ll also need to obtain licensing or certification to practice.
Most RDs work in hospitals, long-term care and rehabilitation facilities or assisted living centers. They may also work for public health or community settings.
Some RDs own their own businesses and provide nutrition consulting, training or other services to clients. These jobs can be demanding, but they also often come with opportunities to expand your business.
Depending on the type of business you own, you may have to hire employees or outsource certain duties, such as bookkeeping and medical billing. You also may need to spend time marketing yourself, developing a reputation in the community and earning referrals.
As a dietitian, you may have to deal with complex issues related to food safety, nutrition and health. In addition, you might have to provide counseling and advice to patients about disease prevention and treatment.
The demand for registered dietitians is expected to grow. This is primarily due to the increasing importance of healthy eating and disease prevention.
There are also opportunities for RDs in sports and corporate wellness programs, educating clients about the relationship between nutrition and physical activity. In addition, RDs can work in communications, consumer affairs, public relations or marketing product development.
While the job outlook for dietitians is good, employment opportunities can vary greatly from state to state. Some states require a specific credential or license to practice, others have no regulations at all and others do not have a minimum requirement for education.
You should also check to see whether the college you want to attend offers a graduate-level program in nutrition and dietetics that’s accredited by ACEND, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ accreditation agency. You can find a list of these programs on ACEND’s website.
A degree from a school that’s a member of ACEND is important because it helps you get the skills and knowledge you need to become an RD. It’s also a good idea to research the school’s program and determine how well its graduates perform on the RD exam.
UDC’s Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics/Didactic Program in Dietetics (BS in Nutrition and Dietetics/DPD) is an academic program that combines didactic studies in food production, nutrition education, and dietetics with practical experience and supervised clinical practice. The BS in Nutrition and Dietetics/DPD will help you achieve the knowledge and skills necessary for a rewarding and satisfying career as a dietary professional.