Registered Dietician (RD)

A dietitian (registered dietician, RD) is a food and nutrition expert who has met stringent academic and professional requirements that include an earned a bachelor's degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry. Additionally, RDs must complete an accredited, supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or foodservice corporation, pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, and complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration. Approximately 50 percent of RDs hold advanced degrees. Some RDs also hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition, nutrition support and diabetes education. The majority of registered dietitians work in the treatment and prevention of disease (administering medical nutrition therapy, as part of medical teams), often in hospitals, HMOs, private practice or other health care facilities. In addition, a large number of registered dietitians work in community and public health settings and academia and research. A growing number of registered dietitians work with food and nutrition industry and business, journalism, sports nutrition, corporate wellness programs and other non-traditional work settings (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2012).