What Degree Is Required to Become a Dietician?

Do you like to promote healthy eating habits? Has good eating always been something you've been interested in helping others with? If you answered yes to these questions, then you may be interested in a career as a dietician. Find out what education is necessary to become a dietician by reading below! Schools offering Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

A dietician is someone who promotes healthy dietary habits by creating and supervising meals, meal preparation, and nutritional programs. The primary goal of a dietician is to ensure a client is eating a diet that is suitable to that individual's health. For example, if someone is overweight, a dietician may recommend a reduced-calorie diet.

One field you could enter is clinical dieting. In this role, you'll work as a dietician in a nursing care facility, a hospital, or similar healthcare institution. By working with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers you'll get to know your patients, and you'll be able to better cater to their personal diet needs.

If you're more interested in working with the community, then you can become a community dietician. In this role, you'd work for health maintenance businesses or in public health clinics to help educate citizens on healthy eating habits and how to prevent food-related illnesses and diseases. In addition to general health education, you'll also provide insights into special dieting needs for children, the elderly, or individuals with health issues.

Other dietician occupations include consulting and management careers. These positions are similar to the dietician careers above, but are generally related to different businesses or organizations like cafeterias, schools, prisons, or private practices.

Education

A bachelor's degree is the minimum amount of education necessary for a career as a dietician. Graduate degrees are also available and recommended for higher-level positions. Suitable majors you'll want to pursue include food service systems management, dietetics, and food nutrition. Ideally, you'll want to pursue a degree program that has accreditation and approval from the American Dietetic Association's Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education.

Coursework you can expect to complete in a dietician program includes advanced nutrition, community nutrition, nutrition counseling, food science principles, life cycle nutrition, medical nutrition, and food service management. Some science classes you may take include biochemistry, chemistry, human anatomy, physiology, and microbiology.

Licensing and Certification

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), there are almost all states in the U.S. that have laws regulating dietitians. While there are a very few states that do not require any regulations, most mandate licensure although some require registration and certification. In most cases, a minimum amount of education is necessary along with some work experience to qualify for registration, licensure, or certification.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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