What is a registered dietitian?


"Registered Dietitians are the food and nutrition experts who can translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living and has met the minimum academic and professional requirements to qualify for the credential "RD". RDs use their nutrition expertise to help individuals make unique, positive lifestyle changes. They work throughout the community in hospitals (as part of the medical team), schools, public health clinics, nursing homes, fitness centers, food management, food industry, universities, research and private practice. RDs are advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world."

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2014

Qualifications of a Registered Dietitian

A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements including:

  • Earned a bachelor’s degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, food service systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry.

  • Completed an accredited, supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or food service corporation.

  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

  • Completes continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.

Approximately 50% of RDs hold advanced degrees. Some RDs also hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition, nutrition support and diabetes education.


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