What is a dietitian?

A registered dietitian (RD) is a food and nutrition expert who has met tough academic and professional requirements, which includes completing a minimum of a four-year bachelor’s degree and an accredited, supervised practice program (an internship). Some RDs are also certified in specialized areas of practice such as weight management or diabetes education.
Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens

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Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens

In a world of fast food, supersized sodas, and televised temptations, this guide shows how to buck the obesity trend currently in the national spotlight—and have fun doing it. Using a family...
Rebecca S. Reeves
Nutrition & Dietetics
A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements including:
  • Earned a bachelor's degree with course work approved by ADA's Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education. Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry.
  • Completed an accredited, supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or food service corporation.
  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
  • Completes continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration
Registered Dietitians (RDs) are food and nutrition experts who have met the following criteria to earn the RD credential:
  • Completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited or approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • Completed a CADE-accredited supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency, or a foodservice corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. Typically, a practice program will run six to 12 months in length.
  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR’s website at www.cdrnet.org. 
  • Completed continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
Some RDs hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice. These are awarded through CDR, the credentialing agency forthe Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and/or other medical and nutrition organizations and are recognized within the profession, but are not required. Some of the certifications include pediatric or renal nutrition, sports dietetics, nutrition support and diabetes education.

In addition to RD credentialing, many states have regulatory laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners. Frequently these state requirements are met through the same education and training required to become an RD.

From the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Website
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A dietician is a health professional with specialized training in nutrition. Your dietitian provides you with information about a balanced diet and foods that may help improve your energy and overall well-being.
Nadine Pazder
Nutrition & Dietetics
A dietitian is an individual who has completed a 4-year degree in nutrition or related field from a regionally accredited college or university that's approved by the Commission on Dietetic Education. He/she is also required to complete a supervised internship program. Many dietetics professionals earn graduate degrees as well.

To become registered, candidates must pass a national exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
The word dietitian can be spelled as dietician or dietitian. It is most commonly spelled dietitian. A Registered Dietitian is an individual who has completed a 4-year degree in nutrition or related field from a regionally accredited college or university that's approved by the Commission on Dietetic Education, has completed the set hours of supervised practice, and has successfully passed the national examination. You can verify credentials of a RD at www.cdrnet.org.

In addition, many states require a state license for the registered dietitian to practice in a specific state. This can be viewed or verified by the state board of medical licensure in the specific state. 

A dietitian receives comprehensive training in three main areas of nutrition: medical nutrition therapy, community nutrition, and management. 
Laura Motosko, MSEd, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics defines a registered dietitian as a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements including:

  • Earned a bachelor’s degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’s Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education. Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry.
  • Completed an accredited, supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or foodservice corporation.
  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
  • Completes continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.

 

Alberta Scruggs
Nutrition & Dietetics
A dietitian is a health care professional who teaches proper food and nutrition to promote optimal health. Normally, this person has completed a Bachelors degree in dietetics and nutrition (maybe a Masters degree), completed a set number of hours in an internship, and passed a rigorous exam to earn the title, Registered Dietitian.
D. Milton Stokes
Nutrition & Dietetics
First and foremost, a communicator. We ask questions and listen. That allows us to meet clients where they're at. We do not police food choices or make demands because that approach doesn't work. Dietitians have rigorous training in food science and nutrition. We counsel clients privately and in groups, and we are credentialed as preferred providers with major insurance carriers. To find a dietitian in your area, visit www.eatright.org. 
Sherry Coleman Collins
Nutrition & Dietetics

Terminology for nutrition professionals can be confusing and licensure and regulation varies from state to state. A "dietitian" has met a minimum requirement of specific education and training in the science of nutrition. Once an individual further completes supervised practice hours, again in accordance with specific national standards, he or she may become registered by passing a standardized national registration exam. Education for dietitians is regulated by Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE), while registration is by Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

Seeing a registered dietitian ensures that the provider has been properly trained to provide the very best standard of care and service for the many different needs of clients.

Lynn Grieger
Nutrition & Dietetics
A dietitian is a person who has completed an undergraduate degree and professional internship, and also passed a written national certification exam to demonstrate expertise in nutrition.
Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo
Nutrition & Dietetics
A registered dietitian (RD) has extensive education in foods and nutrition science and certification from the Commission on Dietetic Registration through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. RDs are committed to providing reliable and objective information about foods and nutrition. They can help separate fact from fad and translate the latest scientific findings about foods and health into information that is easy to understand and use.   
Sarah Krieger
Nutrition & Dietetics
A registered dietitian (RD) is an individual with an education in nutrition or more specifically, dietetics. An RD achieves a bachelors degree in nutrition/dietetics with a strong emphasis in biochemistry, or how nutrients are used in the body, physiology, biology, microbiology, organic chemistry, foodservice, clinical nutrition, community nutrition among other nutrition courses that shape all aspects of nutrition in the life cycle. After completing these courses in a 4-year program, an internship is completed in all areas of nutrition: hospital, community programs, foodservice, private practice among others. Once a 6-12 month internship is complete, a national exam is taken and the RD staus is achieved. Registered dietitians have this background in science, counseling, food science and foodservice and can be seen in a variety of workplace settings. A registered dietitian is a person that is the best source of nutrition information because that person comes from a background of education, practice and continueing education to keep current with nutrition trends.
Dee Sandquist
Nutrition & Dietetics
Do you want to know how to feel better and have more energy? A registered dietitian (RD) can help you by providing science based strategies for you. There is specific education, experience and continuing education needed to become a registered dietitian. A RD can help personalize nutrition for your needs with science based information that works.
 
Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
A dietitian is a university trained nutrition expert. Dietitians have extensive course work in food, human nutrition, and science to understand the nutritional needs of the human body. A registered dietitian has passed a national exam certifying that he or she is competent in a broad range of areas in the field of dietetics. These areas can be diverse ranging from hospital dietetics and disease management to preventive health, weight loss, and food science. When seeking information about health and wellness, dietitians are a great resource.
Ximena Jimenez
Nutrition & Dietetics
A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert that not only has the expertise but training and credentials. For example, dietitians have a bachelor degree on nutrition and dietetics, they have to complete an accredited, supervised practice program at a health care facility and pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetics Registration. To find a Registered dietitian, please visit www.eatright.org. 
Amy Jamieson-Petonic
Nutrition & Dietetics
A registered dietititian is a person who has at least a bachelors degree in nutrition and has completed a 1,000 hour approved internship program through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
There is quite a bit of confusion about the differences between a nutritionist and a registered dietitian. The registered dietititan has completed extensive education, training and professional experience, and is a nationally recognized expert in food and nutrition. A nutritionist may or may not have education or professional experience in nutrition.
When you are looking for an expert, seek out a registered dietitian on www.eatright.org.
Jim White
Nutrition & Dietetics
A registered dietitian is a healthcare professional who has completed a nutrition-related degree which includes a rigorous course of study in the scientific areas of biochemistry, human anatomy and physiology classes. They also must complete an internship or go through an approved coordinated undergraduate program that combines supervised practice and the last two years of college. Then all dietitians must pass a national board examination before they can receive the credentials R.D. (registered dietitian).
Deborah Beauvais
Nutrition & Dietetics

Registered dietitians (RDs) are the food and nutrition experts. RDs are committed to helping you enjoy a healthy life. You realize the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. But getting the best and most accurate information isn’t always easy. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is here to assist you in your search for answers. www.eatright.org.

Registered Dietitians work in a variety of settings and practice areas. I specialize in school nutrition and meals, food sanitation and safety and food service management.

I am more than happy to answer questions you may have in any of these areas.

Patsy Catsos
Nutrition & Dietetics

A registered dietitian (R.D.) is a food and nutrition expert who has met schooling and professional requirements set by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Registered dietitians have at least a four-year degree in food and nutrition, have completed a 1200-hour internship and have passed a national exam.

Registered dietitians work in many different practice settings. Some are members of the health care team, using food and nutrition to prevent or treat illness. Others work in the community promoting wellness, or managing school and hospital foodservice operations. Registered dietitians may be writers, chefs, software developers, TV personalities, consultants to business and industry, researchers or therapists! In short, R.D. = Nutrition Expert.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.