Nutrition is hot and many people are going back to go back to school or changing majors to study nutrition. One of the most common questions I get is about the process of becoming a registered dietitian. I hope that I can help to guide you in the right direction.
To become a registered dietitian, you must first obtain a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at an accredited university or college that is approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
Following the degree, you are required to complete a supervised practice program (dietetic internship). Some dietetics programs, whether they’re at the undergraduate or graduate level, have a coordinated program that allows you to complete the internship at the same time. All internships are extremely competitive and are required to be an RD. Unfortunately there is only a 50% placement rate, so many students who complete their nutrition coursework, aren’t able to take the RD Exam (or Commission on Dietetic Registration Exam) and practice nutrition due to the licensing laws. Information about the RD exam can be found here.
If you are going back to school to be an RD, I strongly encourage to seek out coordinated programs to ensure you are placed in a supervised practice program and are able to get your RD. Click here to search for dietetic programs.
After getting the RD, there are many areas of specialty that you can obtain to hone in your skill set in a particular area from eating disorders, sports nutrition, weight management, food allergies, etc. During the internship, you’ll be exposed to many different areas of nutrition that can help to guide you in the direction you’d like to work. I highly recommend getting experience in nutrition while your in school by volunteering with an Registered Dietitians in various specializations to get a better idea of what each specialization actually entails.
To get insights into “a day in the life on an RD” check out my guest post on A Nutritionist Eats.