CAREER DEVELOPMENT / MAR. 25, 2014
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How to Become a Dietitian in the US

In today’s world when everyone wants to look fit and stay healthy, one does everything needed to make an informed decision on lifestyle and food choices. We are living in an era where everyone is ignorantly following fad diets to get to size zero. Fad diets are falsely believed to be grandly spectacular and phenomenal. During this time, it is the best and most rewarding decision to make a career out of nutrition. Dietetics is one such career where you learn to interpret and communicate nutritional science to promote the well-being of individuals and communities.

Here’s everything you need to know to become a Dietitian.

Pre-requisites

In order to be successful in this profession it is vital that you have a relevant life sciences degree. You should also have an ardent desire to learn more and more about food and eating habits of people. Above everything else, you need to have a positive attitude so as to encourage people to opt for healthy eating habits. A desire to promote healthy food choices among wide range of audiences will make you excel in this field. Beside this, you should also be able to demonstrate the following: 

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills;
  • The ability to explain complex ideas simply;
  • The desire to work in a care-based setting;
  • Patience.

Education and Training

To become a fully qualified dietitian, the specific academic and professional criteria differs across countries, the basic educational path remains the same. In most countries, you can work as a dietitian only after undertaking a formal training at a higher educational institution in food and nutritional science, nutrition education, dietetics, or a related field.

In order to become a registered dietitian, one must do the following:

  • Complete an approved degree in dietetics or nutrition and dietetics ( Duration: 3 to 4 years); or
  • Complete a bachelor of science degree and an approved postgraduate qualification in dietetics - either a Postgraduate Diploma or a Masters (M.SC) in dietetics (Duration: 2 years)

It may also be useful to do an internship or get paid work experiences in a related institutional setting to get some relevant experience.

 The Role

As a dietitian, you will be working as a nutrition expert and your work will include food preparation, conducting food research, and coaching people on healthy nutrition.

You will have a wide range of responsibilities including

  • Working with people who have special dietary needs
  • Informing the general public about nutrition
  • Diagnosis and dietary treatment of diseases 
  • Health promotion

Future

Dietitians get employed in a variety of settings from hospitals to community and food industry to media communications. Following are the various areas where a dietitian can get employed:

  • Food and Nutrition industry
  • Teaching or Health education
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Research
  • Business
  • Corporate wellness programs
  • Charities
  • Journalism or Media
  • Freelancing

Pay Scale

As per payscale.com, the average salary for a registered dietitian in the US as of March 2014 was $47,419 per year.

Now, if you wish to apply your interest in nutritional science and knowledge in food to make a worthy career choice, you might consider becoming a dietitian and earn big bucks.

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