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:
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.
- 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
Source: MedlinePlus and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
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- 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.