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Dietician


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Dietician Job Description

What does a dietician do? Dieticians are professionals who have advanced knowledge of food and nutrition and typically advise clients about diet and design meal plans for them. Dieticians often help people who are attempting to change their eating habits due to a medical condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity. Some clients simply want to eat healthier to maintain their overall health, and dieticians can assist them in choosing healthy and nutritious foods. There are various types of dieticians such as clinical, community, and management dieticians. Each type of dietician works in their area to promote healthy eating.

Dieticians work in a variety of settings. Many work in hospitals, schools, and nursing homes designing meal plans for patients and students. They typically work full time and regular business hours. Other dieticians work in private practice meeting with clients individually. Those who are self employed often work evening and weekend hours based on the needs of their clients.

For those thinking about a career as a dietician, it is important to possess a caring and compassionate nature since many clients are suffering from various medical conditions. Dieticians must also be good problem solvers because they will need to assess clients and then devise an effective plan for clients to follow. Good communication skills are a must for dieticians as they spend a lot of time listening to the needs of patients and then they must clearly explain treatment plans to patients.

Dietician Duties

On a daily basis, a dietician might perform the following duties:

  • Evaluate clients and determine the most beneficial plan for them
  • Design appropriate meal plans for clients
  • Stay up to date on the latest research in nutrition

Dieticians are also know as nutritionists.

How To Become A Dietician

In order to become a dietician, one must graduate with a minimum of a bachelor's degree in dietetics, clinical nutrition, or any other related degree. After obtaining a bachelor's degree, graduates must then undertake an internship in the field lasting 6-12 months. Once completed, prospective dieticians will usually have to become state licensed depending on the rules of their state.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Dietician

It will typically take about 5 years to become a dietician. Four years are spent in a bachelor's degree program, and then another 6-12 months completing a clinical internship in the field.

Education Requirements

The education needed to become a dietician begins with a bachelor's degree. Potential dieticians must complete a bachelor's degree in one of several majors related to food and nutrition. During school, students can expect to spend time in classes learning about nutrition. After completing the bachelor's degree, graduates must then enter a clinical internship that consists of about 1200 hours of clinical training in the field of dietetics. There are some programs that allow students to complete both their degree and internship at the same time.

Although a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement to enter the profession, there are many dieticians who continue their education and earn advanced degrees in the subject to increase their job prospects and salary.

Certification

Although it is not required, many dieticians chose to become registered. Registered dieticians must possess the same credentials they need for state licensing; however, they must also take continuing education classes to keep their registered dietician status. Many employers require dieticians to be registered.

Dieticians can also become certified in specialized areas in the field such as pediatric nutrition. Obtaining certification can often increase employment options.

Licensing

The majority of states require that dieticians be licensed. There are some other states where dieticians only need to be certified. Although most states require some type of regulations for dieticians, there are a small number of states that have no rules or regulations for dieticians.

Because all states have different regulations, it is best to check with the state where one plans to become employed as a dietician. Generally, becoming state licensed involves graduating with a bachelor's degree in the subject, completing an internship, and then passing an exam.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for dieticians is very good. Job growth is expected to be 21 percent between the years of 2012 and 2022 which is faster than other occupations. The increased need for dieticians is due to several factors. First, more people are understanding the correlation between a good diet and overall health. Therefore, more people will seek knowledgeable dieticians to design diet plans for them. In addition, there are more people than ever who are obese and/or suffer from conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. These issues can be helped with a healthy diet, so suffers will often utilize the services of dieticians. In addition, the baby boomer generation is getting older, and as they age, they will need dieticians to design nutrition plans so that can stay healthy and active. Detailed dietician salary data is available here.

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