How to Become a Dietician

What To Do Now? Dietician Career Training

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Are you someone who cares about people being as healthy as possible? If you're interested in meal planning and nutritional requirements, a career as a dietician might be a career for you to explore. Dieticians generally work with clients or in organizations that feed large groups of people, like nursing homes or hospitals so that meals have the healthiest balance of vitamins and minerals. Retraining to become a dietician requires some specific coursework. Online dietician training courses can be one way to improve your skills and complete the necessary classes.

The Dietician's Menu of Career Skills

Dieticians work with food and nutritional requirements. They are well-versed in the dietary needs of people from all backgrounds and age groups. Dieticians have the career skills to understand the interplay of vitamins, minerals, fats, sugars, and other aspects of food. They often design menus and food plans to meet the needs of their patients. An effective dietician is detailed-oriented, a good communicator, and skilled at assessment.

Dieticians may also oversee the preparation of meals on a large scale, such as for hospitals or nursing homes. In these settings, dieticians must be able to work well with a team of professionals as they will advise them on the special needs for the community they serve. Dieticians also work in private practices and community clinics. Some dieticians provide counseling on matters like weight loss or cholesterol management. Even in a difficult economy, dieticians will likely find a place amongst the many institutions and organizations that employ them.

Career Advice for Dieticians

Becoming a dietician requires specialized education, usually a bachelor's degree in food and nutrition or another diet-related field. Online dietician training courses can help you retrain and improve your skills for this career. These courses often include classes in nutrition, chemistry, biology, and institution-management. Once you have the career skills, it is very helpful to get some on-the-job experience through internships or supervised programs. Additionally, some states require that dieticians be licensed.

Career Outlook

  • Growth on Pace: Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is projected to grow by 21 percent from 2012 through 2022--that's faster than the national average of 11 percent for all occupations.
  • Trends Driving Demand: Several key industry trends should increase the demand for certified nutritionists: an aging population, the emphasis on healthful eating habits, and the complex connections between eating and overall health
  • Work Environment: Dietitians are found in clinical and community settings, as managers and consultants, and as an integral component of federal policy-making teams
  • Get Certified--Get Hired: Most states require some form of licensure in order to obtain dietitian status, such as statutory certification or registration
  • Professional Designation: Registered Dietitian credential is made available by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association for those candidates passing coursework, an exam, and supervised internship
  • Median Salary: In May 2013, Dietitians and Nutritionists earned a median annual salary of $56,300 with top 10% making more than $78,720.
  • States with Highest Employment: California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida.
  • Highest Paying States: California, Nevada, Hawaii, Maryland, Connecticut.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dietitians and Nutritionists
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dietitians and Nutritionists, May 2013 Wages