What is a Registered Dietitian?

What is a Registered Dietitian?

According to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a Registered Dietitian (RD or RDN) is a food and nutrition expert who has:

  • Completed a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from an accredited college. The coursework includes organic chemistry, biochemistry, biology, genetics, human anatomy and physiology, and metabolism just to name a few!
  • Completed an ACEND-accredited supervised practice otherwise called a dietetic internship. These programs are usually six to 12 months long and involve rotations at health care facilities, community agencies, and foodservice corporations.
  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration
  • Completed continuing professional educational requirements

So What’s the Difference Between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?

A Registered Dietitian (RD, RDN) has completed the steps listed above while a nutritionist can be anyone! A nutritionist may have received a degree in a health related subject, but it is not required. Registered Dietitians are trained to read research articles and scientific literature to make sure the advice they give is backed by evidence. Contrary to popular belief, a Registered Dietitian is not the “food police” and we don’t recommend restrictive, fad diets. We use our nutrition expertise to help individuals make personalized, positive lifestyle changes. To find an RD in your area go to eatright.org find an expert page.

How I became an RD

  • Received a B.S. degree in Nutrition from California Polytechnic State University
  • Applied to dietetic internships through DICAS
  • Matched with Texas A&M University Dietetic Internship and completed the year long program
  • Passed the national RD exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration
  • Applied for licensure in my state

I know this seems like a lot of steps, but each part of the process is essential to become a competent dietitian. I grew so much during my internship, and I am continually learning new information and skills! If you are a #RD2be or are curious about entering the field of nutrition, let me know! I’d love to chat about my experience!

Click here to learn more about my time as a dietetic intern!