Dieticians and Nutritionists
Nutritionists and registered dietitians both study nutrition and help people select their food to reach a healthier lifestyle, but there is a major difference. Nutritionists manage general nutritional behaviors and goals. Dietitians are qualified to diagnose eating disorders and treat specific medical conditions.
Both should be compassionate thinkers, problem solvers, good listeners, flexible and strong communicators. Is this you? Then you might want to investigate these job options.
A nutritionist is an expert in food and nutrition. Nutritionists advise people on their diet to promote a healthy lifestyle and manage diseases. They can also help people achieve a specific health-related goal.
Dieticians teach people and populations about nutrition, food, and health. They can help diagnose and treat illnesses. They often work with people with eating disorders, substance abuse, or medical conditions with symptoms that can be improved or managed with a more specific diet or meal planning. They often collaborate with mental health professionals to screen for eating disorders.
Nutritionists who are certified by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) are called dietitians. In the U.S., the title of "registered dietitian" (RD) is a nationally-recognized profession, while "nutritionist" is regulated on a state-by-state basis.
Many nutritionists and registered dietitians work in hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, medical offices, or other care settings, but they can also work in their clients' homes or institutions like universities.
Nutritionists' education requirements vary from state to state. Depending on where you live, you might be able to offer nutritional advice without certification. There are specific requirements for becoming a registered dietitian, including getting a certification authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
Nutritionists need to complete a bachelor's degree. Popular degrees among nutritionist professionals are a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition or Health Care Administration Leadership and a Bachelor of Arts in General Studies with a concentration in health care.
If you aim to become a registered dietitian, choose a bachelor's program that is approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.