Dieticians specialize in the study of nutrition and are therefore sometimes referred to as nutritionists. Their goal is to promote good health through proper eating. There are several types of dieticians, of which the clinical dietician is the most common. Clinical dieticians work primarily for institutions, such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools. They establish and monitor the institution's nutritional plan. They supervise the preparation and food service, develop regular menus and special, modified menus, as well as educate people on the importance of practicing good nutritional habits. Read the following list to learn how to go about becoming a dietician.
- Earn a bachelor's degree in dietetics, food and nutrition, or food service management. According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), a bachelor's degree in one of these areas is the minimum required to be certified as a dietician. It helps to take courses in biology and chemistry, as well. It's best to enroll in a bachelor's program that's accredited by the ADA's Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE).
- Complete an internship in dietetics. Many programs require this internship.
- Complete the compulsory number of hours of hands-on experience at an institution approved by the CADE. You will only be eligible to take the licensing exam after fulfilling this requirement.
- Apply to take your state's licensing exam. Upon passing the exam you will receive your license to practice as a dietician. Most states require dieticians to be licensed.
- Become registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the ADA. Although this means taking another exam, it's well worth the effort to acquire this additional certification.