What Education Is Required to Become a Nutritionist?
Do you believe that a healthy diet can prevent or improve disease or illness? Do you enjoy working with and helping people eat better? Perhaps a career in nutrition science is the path for you. Schools offering Fitness & Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
An Overview of Nutritionists
Nutritionists are health and food science professionals who are trained in dietary balance and healthy eating. As a nutritionist, you work with individuals, families or institutions to make recommendations or modifications to diets or menus, either for overall health or due to specific illness or disease. A nutritionist might work with a diabetic individual to develop a food plan and help manage blood sugar levels.
The titles nutritionist and dietitian are sometimes used interchangeably. Although, there can be distinct differences in the titles based on state laws concerning registration, certification or licensure. Some states that require licensure or registration of dietitians and nutritionists do allow unlicensed individuals to practice in the field, but they cannot call themselves a dietitian or a nutritionist.
A minimum of a bachelor's degree is required to work in this profession. Enrolling in a degree program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Dietetics Education (CADE) will provide a comprehensive curriculum and prepare you for becoming a registered dietitian (RD). During a nutrition science or dietetics program, you might encounter coursework that covers human physiology and anatomy, nutritional assessment, food functions and supplements, and nutrition therapy and counseling.
In addition to completing core coursework, didactic degree programs require completing an internship or supervised practice. A minimum number of hours must be completed during the hands-on instruction. These hourly requirements can vary depending on the degree program and state mandates.
State requirements for licensure vary. The most basic requirements include completing the appropriate degree program and internship, as well as taking and passing a national exam to gain the RD credential. The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) oversees the Registration Examination for Dietitians. The exam consists of five parts and covers topics in foodservice systems, nutrition care, and counseling and communication. License renewal commonly requires the completion of continuing education coursework.
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: