A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD or RDN) is considered the top nutrition expert who will link good nutrition to better health. The RD credential is the only credential nationally recognized in foods and nutrition. This credential is necessary for most employment in the health care industry as well as for many other opportunities in foods and nutrition. For this reason, it is expected in the future that the RD credential will be a greater requirement in this growing field. RDs use their nutrition expertise to help people of varying backgrounds and medical histories make unique, positive lifestyle changes to benefit their overall health. Dietitians can work in a wide range of settings; they can be employed by hospitals, universities, specialty outpatient centers (i.e. eating disorder, bariatric, or gastrointestinal clinics), food banks, schools and universities, private practices, and numerous other settings. Dietitians are advocates for preventative care and for advancing the nutritional status of people around the world. The RD credential is earned following completion of academic training, supervised practice experience, and the successful passage of the nationally administered board exam.
Once you become a dietitian or nutritionist, you’ll participate in menu planning and overseeing the preparation of food, and educate groups such as senior citizens, expectant women, and diabetics about which types of food to eat and which foods to avoid. You may also study nutrition for food companies and test new food products and equipment. You’ll have opportunities to work in diet therapy, nutrition research, and counseling.
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