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Dietitian Job Description

Dhanashree Patane
With life traveling high on health and fitness, a dietitian is a major consulting booth at every milestone. The following is an insight on a dietitian's job.
How does it feel to be the most in-demand professional? We all like to feel good and stay healthy, and so the one-stop guide to eating healthy and in-proportion definitely is a major profession.
Well, talk about health, losing weight and staying in shape, dealing with illness or following a diet, a dietitian grabs some major light that is sure ruling some professional stage today. A dietitian is a person who plans meals, deals with the nutritional vales of food, designs diets that promote health, studies the nutritional principles and manages food.
They are health professionals that play a key role in health plans and nutritional counseling.
Consulting a dietitian has become a religion today. It has become common that a professional guidance on food is of equal value to that of consulting a health expert on physical well-being. We have filed all possible aspects and information on a dietitian job description, in this article. So for all those with a professional eye on food and nutrition, this is your guide to a decent career.

Job Description

We shall study the educational requirements, duties, job prospects, salary package, and much more on becoming a dietitian, in the following.


As discussed above, a dietitian is a health professional responsible for all the nutritional assessment, planning different diets as per individual requirement, treatment for illness, and more. They are also the source to educate individuals for value to nutrition and including a proper balance for food. They offer practical advice based on various research results and health factors.

Educational Requirements and Training

A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement with majors in any of the subjects like food and nutrition, nutritional fields, food service management, food science and technology or similar from an accredited school or university. Graduate degrees are an advantage.
Along with studying these majors, one will also need at least average grades on organic chemistry, algebra, chemistry and advanced human nutrition, biology, microbiology, institution management, etc. Other courses suggested can be mathematics, computer science, sociology, business, and statistics.

Knowledge, Skills and Other Requirements

A minimum age of 18 years along with certification is a must to work as a registered dietitian in most states. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) conducts training programs that can be studied during or after college. They offer practical experience on being a health and nutrition expert. With the program varying from 6 - 24 months, training and passing an ADA test, one can be a certified registered dietitian (RD).
For an advanced role in nutritional science and diet, and high level jobs in this field, a master's degree is also required. To maintain a valid practice license, one must complete at least 75 credit hours in continuing education and training classes once in every five years. In some states, completing a specific number of hours of supervised internship is a must to register.
Skills like active learning, effective communication and counseling, time management, assessing body weight, body mass, height, energy balance, etc., are necessary. One also needs to have knowledge on diseases, eating disorders, and the signs and symptoms, medicine and nutrition therapy, food service quality and safety.

Certification and Licensing

In the United States, out of the 46 states and jurisdictions with registered laws for governing dietetics, a majority of 33 states require a license, 12 states require certification, and 1 state requires a registration. Any individual requirements may vary with different states. Taking into account the state rules and regulations and requirements is important when considering education, training, and jobs in that particular state.

Job Prospects and Salary

Most of the college placements will help students get a job. Other options for getting a job as a dietitian or nutritionist are checking jobs on the Internet and newspapers, in journals, etc. The job prospects in this field are good and show a convincing future growth. Some best job opportunities can be availed with an advanced degree and specialized courses and training.
With the increase in health and diet awareness, dietitians and nutritionists will be in demand in schools, nursing homes, hospitals, prisons, community health programs, etc. With some further studies and experience, an option in teaching and research is also open. The salary will differ with experience, education and the area of employment. The average salary for a registered dietitian can be between $40,000 - $60,000 annually.

Responsibilities and Daily Activities

Most of the dietitians work in clean, well-ventilated work places, and that is an added advantage to this job. Based on the types, we will take a closer look at the duties of a dietitian
  • Clinical Dietitian: A clinical dietitian will design meals for patients with special dietary needs. He will have to assess along with doctors and discuss the patient's needs for nutrition. They also advice people to plan and cook meals as per their dietary requirements. Work will be in government hospitals, nursing homes, health agencies and clinics.
  • Nutritionists: They focus and research on core nutrition in food for the human body. Their studies are helpful to plan diets and also enhance nutrition intake in food. They promote healthy eating habits, and plan health and nutrition programs.
  • Research Dietitians: They work on projects for health , nutrition and food. They are more into studying the effects of different diets on people, and analyzing the need for specific nutritional food and diet. Research dietitians will typically work in medical centers, food manufacturing plants, and universities.
  • Community Dietitians: Their main job is to promote good health and nutritional awareness in an individual or in a group. They evaluate the food preparations, develop nutritional meal plans, etc. These jobs particularly thrive in home health agencies, clinics, public health clinics and organizations.
  • Research Dietitians: They work on projects for health , nutrition and food. They are more into studying the effects of different diets on people, and analyzing the need for specific nutritional food and diet. Research dietitians will typically work in medical centers, food manufacturing plants, and universities.
  • Management Dietitians: The growth in public health awareness has brought dietitians and nutritionists in the light in many fields like advertising, marketing, food manufacturing units, and more. Their key role is to supervise and balance nutrition in companies, health care institutions, schools and prisons. 
They also hire and guide other dietitians for everything right from food purchase, health and safety rules and regulations, to crafting a meal and keeping records, and management.
  • Consultant Dietitians: They have a work contract with most health care services or they run their own center for counseling and consulting. They combine all the jobs of designing a meal, to explaining the nutritional value of food, crafting special diets. For example, low fat diet for obese people or a low salt diet for a person with high blood pressure, etc.
The common duties of a dietitian are to deal with nutrition and health in all clients, consulting health care experts for understanding special patient requirements. They also prepare food budgets and purchase service equipment, write grant requests for research programs, inspect meals, and maintain safety and hygiene standards in food and nutrition.
For those who could relate their inner passions with this job description, know that they have a fair chance in this career. This job is a clean and healthy option to reach the masses with nutrition and health. After all, it earns a lot more than just money to be the guiding light to reach good health through diet and food in people.