HomeHealthThe Path To Becoming A Registered Dietician

The Path To Becoming A Registered Dietician

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In a world where the latest fad diets are consistently in the headlines, it may be refreshing to hear that leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to mean giving up all of your favorite foods, running on the treadmill every spare minute you have, or getting used to the feeling of being hungry. As promising as these diets might sound, those with expertise in nutrition are likely to disapprove of them. 

Registered dieticians dedicate their careers to learning as much as they can about healthy food choices. Their guidance isn’t meant to last just a few weeks or months, but rather for a lifetime. Here, we’ll explore what it means to be a registered dietician and cover the essential steps one must take when pursuing this career. 

What Is A Registered Dietician? 

A registered dietician is an experienced professional with expertise and education in food, diet, and nutrition. Although their job can vary depending on where they work, they typically help people make informed dietary choices according to their needs.

Registered dieticians may also conduct research, assist people living with eating disorders, help people lose or gain weight, or diagnose and treat eating-related concerns. Their scope of practice often depends on their interests, level of education, and experience.

A Typical Day-In-The-Life Of A Registered Dietician: 

The day in the life of a registered dietician can look different depending on the setting in which they work. Registered dieticians can work in hospitals, universities, private clinics, nursing homes, schools, and other institutions.

They may spend their time helping individuals come up with healthy eating plans, conducting research in a lab, assisting patients struggling to lose or gain weight, and more. In many cases, registered dieticians have great flexibility in their work schedule, allowing them to choose how early or late they start their day. 

How To Become A Registered Dietician:

The path to becoming a registered dietician can vary depending on the state an individual lives in and what their goals are. However, many of the requirements are the same across the board, regardless of residency or individual goals. The following is a general outline of the steps one must take when seeking to become a registered dietician: 

1. Earn A Bachelor’s Degree: 

For those wanting to be registered dieticians, a college education is essential. First, you must enroll in a program that is accredited by a national dietetics organization. You’ll learn about topics like nutrition, biology, anatomy, food science, and more as you pursue and obtain your bachelor’s degree. 

2. Complete A Program in Dietetics: 

Not everyone decides they want to be a registered dietician before attending college. If your bachelor’s degree is not in dietetics, you’ll likely need to complete a program that concentrates on dietetics. These programs provide you with all the coursework needed to meet the academic requirements to become a registered dietitian.

3. Earn A Master’s Degree: 

Previously, you didn’t need a master’s degree to become a registered dietician. However, that changed on January 1, 2024, with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) in the United States now requiring a minimum of a master’s degree to be able to take the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) exam.

4. Complete An Accredited Internship: 

After getting through school and meeting all necessary academic requirements, you’ll need to complete an accredited dietetic internship. You may spend anywhere from 8 to 24 months learning more about the trade while under close supervision.

5. Pass The Official CDR Exam For Dieticians: 

Upon completion of your internship, you must pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam. The CDR is the national credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

6. Gain Licensure: 

Depending on the state you reside in, you may be required to get your license to begin officially practicing as a registered dietician. You’ll want to check the requirements in your state to make sure you have everything in order and then apply for licensure as needed. Keep in mind that licensing requirements can change suddenly, making it important to double-check that you have the correct information before proceeding. 

7. Complete Continuing Education: 

Most professionals must complete some type of continuing education to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in their field. This is particularly true of registered dieticians since they fall within the health sector, where advancements are constantly being made.  

8. Renew Your License: 

Registered dieticians must renew their licenses every two years if they live in a state that requires them to hold a license to practice. Renewal usually involves some type of continuing education requirements. 

These steps can vary depending on the region you live in. It’s crucial to check with an official organization, such as the CDR, when pursuing a career as a registered dietician to make sure you’re informed of everything required of you. 

The Benefits Of Involving Professionals

Working with a registered dietician can be instrumental in achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In a world filled with fad diets and endless misconceptions surrounding food, having a professional’s guidance and input can be invaluable. 

However, some problems may run deeper than food, such as those related to mental health conditions. In these cases, it can be useful to work with both a registered dietician and a therapist. BetterHelp offers online therapy for a range of concerns, including those related to disordered eating or exercising. With the right tools and support, you can begin to work toward recovery and healing.

Still Thinking About Becoming A Registered Dietician?

Filled with numerous educational requirements, internships to gain experience, and exams to ensure competence, becoming a registered dietician involves a serious time investment.

If you’re interested in pursuing this career, it’s critical to double-check your state’s requirements to make sure you’re on the right track to your dream job.

While the journey to becoming a registered dietician may be challenging, many people find it to be a rewarding career that leaves a lasting impact on the lives of many.

I'm Bipasha Zaman, a professional author with vast experience in the research field. Presently, I work for many sites. Also, I have a strong passion for writing creative blogs.


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