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Careers in Dietetics

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Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is expected to increase 20 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than average for all occupations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, recent years have seen increased interest in the role of food in promoting health and wellness, particularly as a part of preventative healthcare in medical settings. The importance of diet in preventing and treating illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease is now well known. More dietitians and nutritionists will be needed to provide care for people with these conditions. 

RDs or RDNs work in:

  • Hospitals, clinics or other healthcare facilities, educating patients about nutrition and administering medical nutrition therapy as part of the healthcare team. They may also manage the foodservice operations in these settings, or schools, daycare centers or correctional facilities, overseeing everything from food purchasing and preparation to managing staff.
  •  Sports nutrition and corporate wellness programs, educating clients about the connection between food, fitness and health.
  •  Food and nutrition-related business and industries, working in communications, consumer affairs, public relations, marketing, product development or consulting with chefs in restaurants and culinary schools.
  • Private practice, working under contract with healthcare or food companies, or in their own business. RDs or RDNs work with foodservice or restaurant managers, food vendors and distributors, athletes, nursing home residents or company employees.
  • Community and public health settings, teaching, monitoring and advising the public and helping improve quality of life through healthy eating habits.
  • Universities and medical centers, teaching physician’s assistants, nurses, dietetics students, dentists and others about the sophisticated science of food and nutrition.
  • Research areas in food and pharmaceutical companies, universities and hospitals directing or conducting experiments to answer critical nutrition questions and find alternative foods or nutrition recommendations for the public.

DTRs work in:

  • Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, retirement centers,hospices, home health-care programs and research facilities conducting patient/client screens, gathering data and performing other tasks to assist the registered dietitian in providing medical nutrition therapy.
  • Schools, day-care centers, correctional facilities, restaurants, health-care facilities, corporations and hospitals, managing employees, purchasing and food preparation and maintaining budgets within foodservice operations.
  • Women, Infants, Children (WIC) programs, public health agencies, Meals on Wheels and community health programs, assisting registered dietitians with the
    implementation of programs and presentation of classes for the public.
  • Health clubs, weight management clinics and community wellness centers, helping to educate clients about the connection between food, fitness and health.
  • Food companies, contract food management companies or food vending and distributing operations developing menus and overseeing foodservice sanitation
    and food safety.

             *Retrieved, in part, from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Other career options include:

  • Consulting dietitian
  • Consumer affairs in food and nutrition related businesses
  • Cooperative extension agent
  • Correctional facility food service director
  • Day-care food service director
  • Dietetic educator
  • Dietitian in a nursing home
  • Food and drug inspector
  • Food buyer or distributor
  • Food service director in a hospital, or other health care facility
  • Peace Corps worker
  • Pharmaceutical sales representative
  • Private practice dietitian
  • Product development in food and nutrition related businesses
  • Public health dietitian
  • Public relations in food and nutrition related businesses
  • School food service director