How To Become A Dietitian
Career Video: Dietitian
If you are interested in helping people make better eating choices, a career as a dietitian would be right up your alley. In this profession, you will have the chance to formulate appropriate meal plans for your clients after evaluating their health needs. You will also monitor the effect of the said meal plans and alter them as needed. You will also get the chance to advocate for better nutrition and inform the public about the relationship between one’s diet and the development of diseases through speaking engagements and conferences.
Aside from knowing how to prepare delicious, appealing and healthful foods, you will need to be up to date on the latest nutrition research. You also need to know how to synthesize what you have read so you can turn it into practical advice on matters of nutrition. You also need to know to listen to your clients so you can understand what their problem is and develop the best diet plan to suit their needs.
Why Become A Dietitian
There are many different reasons to become a dietitian. One of these is the chance to help the growing number of obese people in the United States get back to wellness through a proper diet. There is also satisfaction in being an integral part of the recovery of someone suffering from disease. It’s also a fast-growing occupation that pays decently and offers more job opportunities in the coming years.
Dietitian Work Environment
Dietitians and nutritionists are employed mainly by hospitals. Some also work in government, nursing and residential care facilities, offices of health practitioners and outpatient care centers. Dietitians normally work fulltime. Those who are self-employed may accommodate clients on weekends and evenings but have more flexibility in their working hours.
The May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the mean annual wage of dietitians and nutritionists was $56,300. However, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said that for 2013, the median annual wage for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists was $60,000. In 2012, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the highest paid dietitians and nutritionists received over $77,590 annually while the lowest paid got less than $34,500.
Dietitian Career Outlook
From 2012 to 2022, the employment rate of dietitians and nutritionists is expected to rise 21 percent, a rate that is faster than the average for all job types. Thus, from the 67,400 nutritionists and dietitians employed in 2012, their number is expected to grow to 81,600 in 2022. The demand will come from the renewed interest in the role of food in wellness, especially in preventing illnesses. The aging population in nursing homes and other nursing care facilities will also contribute to the demand.
A bachelor’s degree in dietetics, foods and nutrition, clinical nutrition, food service systems management or a related field is needed to become a dietitian. Getting postgraduate degrees is also advantageous in this career. An integral part in the education of a dietitian is getting supervised training through internships. Majority of the states require dietitians and nutritionists to be licensed before they can practice their profession. Requirements vary from state-to-state but the most common requirements are a bachelor’s degree in the field, supervised practice and hurdling an exam. Dietitians often voluntarily choose to get the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist credential.