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It's Registered Dietitian Day!
What’s an RD?
If you didn’t know already, RD day is on March 9. This is the day that we recognize the leading experts in food and nutrition, our registered dietitians (RDs). A Registered Dietitian is a credentialed authority and the leading experts in nutrition. Becoming an RD requires at least a bachelor degree in dietetics, completion of an accredited internship, and successful passing of the national exam. Participation in continuing education is required to keep registration status. Some dietitians hold extra certifications in specialized practice areas like pediatrics, sports nutrition, diabetes, weight management, or nutrition support. In addition, most states have licensure laws that must be obtained to practice nutrition.
What does an RD do?
Dietitians are trained to help people achieve optimal health and performance through the right nutrition. There are many diverse employment opportunities for RDs. They work in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, food service operations, wellness programs, public health, education, research, and private practice.
How does one become an RD?
- Complete the required “didactic” coursework, and receive your bachelor degree. Attend a university that has a nutrition program. Didactic courses are science-focused and include physiology, metabolism, microbiology, organic chemistry, food service management, medical nutrition therapy, and community nutrition.
- Complete the required 1200 hour dietetic internship. Upon completion of the didactic components, you can apply for internships. The selection process is very competitive, and occurs on the basis of GPA, volunteer experiences in the field, recommendations, and interviews. Some universities offer a coordinated program, which means they allow you to get your degree and complete your internship at the same time.
- Pass the national exam for dietitians after completion of the internship.
- Obtain state licensure if required by state.
What’s in it for you?
Dietitians have the educational background that is necessary to help sort through the misinformation that is out there about nutrition and health. Their desire is to communicate evidenced based nutrition information in a way that is practical and reasonable for optimum wellbeing. To find more information, visit the website of the American Dietetic Association, www.eatright.org .