How to become a DieticianMajors Overview November 7, 2012
There is a big job market for dieticians. In this article, we will show you the steps in becoming a dietician.
Dieticians share their expertise in nutritional health by advising people about what they should eat to ensure a healthy lifestyle.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has ruled that being employed as a dietician; a person must have a bachelor degree, or complete an internship including hundreds of hours of practical experience under supervision. Additionally, the potential dietician must meet requirements necessary for state certification or licensure.
Students can either enroll in a didactic program in dietetics (DPD) or in a coordinated program (CP) in dietetics and must do so in a school accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
They can earn a bachelor degree by enrolling in a didactic program in dietetics, while a coordinated program enrollment will give them supervised experience, in addition classroom work leading to a bachelor degree.
Thereafter, the students must apply to and complete an accredited internship program. The bachelor degree could be in any food service systems management, dietetics, and foods and nutrition. Most states require licensure or certification in addition to one to two years experiences. The student is required to demonstrate strong people skills, communication and organizational skills (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
The first step is to enroll in a coordinated program or didactic program in dietetics to earn a bachelor degree. Subjects such as foods and nutrition, nutritional sciences, food service systems management and dietetics pre-dominate coursework that mainly focuses on nutrition science, psychology, biology and chemistry. Those who enroll into coordinated program will not need to do a separate dietetic internship and able to take the licensing examination.
However, completion of internship is compulsory for students opting for a didactic program in dietetics; alternatively, they can enroll for an ACEND-accredited training program following their graduation. Such a program will typically require about 1,200 hours of practice under supervision spanning eight to twenty-four months. Students are advised to consult faculty members and the program director of their didactic program in dietetics to get information about where and how to apply for the DI program.
The final step is licensure or certification. Many states insist on licensure while others allow dieticians to practice with certification, while others have no regulations at all.
Licensure is best achieved by becoming a registered dietician (RD), though this is not required in some states. To become a registered dietician you must complete your bachelor degree and successfully complete a supervised practice program; thereafter, take a registered computer-based exam for dieticians. Menu planning, nutrition diagnosis, medical monitoring, evaluation and nutrition screening, and assessment are the areas of knowledge that you will be tested.
Even after becoming licensed or certified, a registered dietician can maintain his/her credentials and enhance career growth with continued education.
Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition Statistics
Top Schools For Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition Programs
|School Name||Tuition||Size||Degrees Granted||Degrees Granted By Type|
|Florida State University
|$19,011||30,803||115||Bachelor’s (96), Master’s (19)|
|Northern Illinois University
|$18,410||18,277||102||Bachelor’s (83), Master’s (19)|
|Cal State Long Beach
Long Beach, CA
|$15,530||29,348||102||Bachelor’s (91), Master’s (11)|
|San Diego State University
San Diego, CA
|$16,062||26,796||100||Bachelor’s (89), Master’s (11)|
|Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI
|Cal State Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA
|$17,255||15,857||91||Bachelor’s (60), Master’s (31)|
San Luis Obispo, CA
|University of Northern Colorado
|West Chester Univ. of PA
West Chester, PA
|San Jose State University
San Jose, CA
|$17,988||24,280||76||Bachelor’s (44), Master’s (32)|