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Registered Dietitian (RD)

Overview

A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who has met the minimum academic and professional requirements to qualify for the credential "RD." In addition to RD credentialing, many states have regulatory laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners. State requirements frequently are met through the same education and training required to become an RD.

The majority of registered dietitians work in the treatment and prevention of disease (administering medical nutrition therapy, as part of medical teams), often in hospitals, private practice or other healthcare facilities. In addition, a large number of registered dietitians work in community and public health settings and academia and research. A growing number of registered dietitians work with food and nutrition industry and business, journalism, sports nutrition, corporate wellness programs and other non-traditional work settings.

A registered dietitian has met the following academic and professional requirements:

  • Earned a bachelor's degree with approved coursework. Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, food service systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry
  • Completed an accredited, supervised practice program at a healthcare facility, community agency or foodservice corporation
  • Passed a national examination
  • Completes continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration
Approximately 50 percent of RDs hold advanced degrees. Some RDs also hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition, nutrition support and diabetes education.

Source: MedlinePlus and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Note: This definition was prepared to help consumers find reliable health resources on the web. This site is not responsible for the information on other sites. The information here — and on all websites — is not intended to be a substitute for care given to you by a health professional.

Recommended Reading

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
This excellent site includes a "Tip of the Day" and other informative features for the average consumer.

Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
This site includes a "Find a Dietitian" feature and other helpful resources for both the professional and the consumer.

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