Education For Dietitians For Food And Nutrition Careers
Proper nutrition is the key to a healthy lifestyle, and it is the responsibility of a certified dietitian to prescribe a good diet for patients. Modern medicine has focussed on preventive care for decades now, and this includes educating people on the importance of nutrition. After all, the secret to a longer lifespan may very well rest with what you eat. And thus, the jobs of designing a proper nutrition program and implementing them befalls upon a dietitian. This critical responsibility is only upheld by trained professionals with years of experience under their belt.
Over the last decade, the career paths of a dietitian have only expanded, with greater working opportunities and specializations to choose from. So, to help you take the first step towards an illustrious career as a dietitian, we’ve compiled all the facts pertaining to this profession. There is plenty to learn when dealing with dietitian careers in Philadelphia, so let’s dive right in!
The Job Of A Dietitian
Broadly speaking, a dietitian provides nutrition services to people in various circumstances and settings. Dietitians often specialize in certain areas, such as body weight management, pediatrics, or oncology, and they receive proper education for this undertaking.
Genetically speaking, no two human bodies are identical and so, the nutritional needs of each individual are different. This is especially applicable to those who are more prone to suffer from a chronic nutritional deficiency than others.
When training as a dietitian, you’ll learn to manage and plan diets and provide your clients with suitable foods by working with food manufacturers. The kind of training you receive will determine where you begin practicing as a dietitian. Places like health clubs, universities, and food services are some of such settings.
A Dietitian’s Career Path
To become a registered dietitian, a candidate must have the following educational qualifications:
- Bachelor’s Degree in nutrition or a related field from an accredited institution
- 1200 hours of supervised practice through an accredited internship
- Pass a national examination held by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)
Any additional certifications will add to your credibility in your area of practice. Credentials awarded by the CDR are held in high regard, and all states accept them for state licensure purposes.
The Different Kinds Of Dietitians
Depending on your setting and specialization preferences, the following are the types of dietitians that you can opt to become:
- Clinical Dietitians
A clinical dietitian practices primarily in medical institutions, providing essential nutritional therapy for patients. Their working methodology involves a thorough assessment of patients’ nutritional needs, based on which they design and implement dietary plans.
Using detailed information about the patient derived from GPs and other health care professionals, a dietitian may make necessary amendments to a patient’s diet plan. Clinical dietitians also tend to people struggling with diabetes and those who are seriously ill. Additionally, they may take care of the food service department to keep a close eye on the health quotient of the food being served.
- Community Dietitians
Dietitians working in communities to provide people with proper nutrition plans are known as community dietitians. Their primary goal is to promote health and target specific illnesses caused by poor eating habits.
Community dietitians practice in a location such as a public health clinic, corporate wellness program, and fitness center, reaching as many people in need as they can.
- Corporate Dietitians
If you’ve ever seen a dietitian’s approval on a packaged product, the certification was made by a corporate dietitian. They work in the food manufacturing industry and play a role in the advertising and marketing of food products as well.
Corporate dietitians are responsible for analyzing foods and preparing medically descriptive text for distribution. And should they find any issues with the foods, they will provide reports on them.
- Management Dietitians
Think of management dietitians as the head dietitian overlooking large-scale meal plans in medical facilities, corporate cafeterias, and schools. A management dietitian’s job is to employ and train dietitians, as well as give them directions to prepare records and reports properly.
Budgeting and purchasing food, supplies, and other necessary items are a part of a management dietitian’s responsibilities. Additionally, some oversee hygienic conditions and safety regulations in these settings as well.
- Consultant Dietitians
Consultant dietitians practice largely privately. Their assessments are targeted toward certain individuals, providing them with advice about nutritional content in their diets and overall wellness. As private practitioners, registered dieticians may hire contract employees to assist them in their jobs.
Some consultant dietitians also oversee wellness programs, sports teams, and businesses, collaborating with food service managers to manage facility hygiene and safety. They may also contribute to the menu of an establishment by budgeting and planning its resources.
Nutritionists Vs. Dietitians
Nutritionists sound similar to dietitians, but their work is largely unregulated in comparison to the latter. Anyone with a degree in nutrition can begin to practice as a nutritionist, no matter what level.
In contrast, a registered dietitian has a far more rigorous career path, but this results in a more illustrious career. The minimum requirement of supervised practice alone should give you an idea of how critical this position is to society.
Moreover, a registered dietitian doesn’t require a special license to practice in most states, in sharp contrast to nutritionists. The latter are limited in the duties they can perform due to a lack of certification, license, or practice experience. Thus, they can’t perform medical diagnoses or counsel patients on their nutritional plans.
Though it takes a lot of commitment to become a registered dietitian, it is entirely worth the effort. The more you work in the field, the better your earnings become, and the wider your scope of work stretches.
Registered dietitians tend to earn some of the highest compensation in the field for this reason. Once you have completed the due diligence, you will likely be hired quickly by companies and organizations that require the position to be filled.
In the end, the choice of specialization and setting rests in your hands. No matter what you choose, a career as a registered dietitian is an illustrious and well-respected one.
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