Do you have an interest in healthy eating and want to share that with others in a professional way? Perhaps you should consider becoming a dietician. You could become a nutrition expert and work with food preparation, do diet research or perhaps become a coach that teaches individuals or groups of people on proper nutrition.
You’ll need a high school diploma or GED and have passed or college entrance exam (ACT/SAT). Then you can apply to a four year university and get a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, food science or dietetics. Your dietician coursework should be approved by the Accreditation Counsel for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). This accreditation is very important so check the university’s credentials. The kind of coursework you’ll be getting into includes biochemistry, culinary arts, food and nutrition sciences, microbiology, sociology, food service systems management, physiology and some other electives. Ultimately, it depends on the particular university you go to. At this time, there are more than 250 accredited programs available in the U.S.
You’ll need to complete an internship in dietetics to become a dietician and your internship should also be accredited by ACEND. The internship typically runs for six to twelve months. Venues that will be available to you include food service corporations, community agencies and healthcare facilities where you will be supervised by an experienced dietician or nutritionist.
Once you finish your internship, you’ll need to pass a national exam that is given by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Once you pass this exam, you will become a Registered Dietitian (RD). Your program director will help you apply for the exam and send you in the right direction for preparation.
As a Registered Dietician, you’ll need to take continuing education to maintain your credentials. This happens every five years and includes 75 hours of coursework and important for keeping you up to date.
As a Registered Dietician, you have a number of venues that supply employment including food service management, educational sector, research, private sector and government. Try to determine what industry interests you and seek out those positions. Check online and your local newspaper for job listings. Try to fill out as many applications as you can and submit them with your resume and any letters of recommendation you might have. To get some experience under your belt consider applying to cafeterias, schools and nursing homes.