Registered Dietitian Nutritionists provide nutritional care and counseling to schools, hospitals, nursing homes, community health programs, and in fitness centers, as well as in the food industry.
Graduates may also become sports dietitians/nutritionists, food-service managers, wellness coordinators, senior research technicians, or marketing consultants.
Regardless of career choice, Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are recognized as the link to nutrition and health.
Jobs for Those with RD Certification
The clinical term refers to employment in hospitals, HMO's, long-term care facilities, or other health care facilities. In this setting, the RDN educates patients about nutrition and administers medical nutrition therapy as part of the healthcare team. They work with doctors, nurses, and therapists to help speed patients' recoveries and lay the groundwork for long-term health. There are many specialty areas including diabetes, kidney disease, eating disorders, cancer, pediatrics, nutrition support, and cardiac rehabilitation.
Community & Public Health
Community and public health settings allow RDN's to teach, monitor, and advise the public. Their efforts focus on helping to improve the quality of life through healthy eating habits. This health promotion may include working with families, children, the elderly and pregnant women.
In a private practice setting, RDN's can either work under contract with health care or food companies, or in their own business. Nutrition screening and assessments are performed for their own clients and of those referred to by a physician. They offer advice on weight loss, cholesterol reduction, and a variety of diet-related concerns. They provide services to food service or restaurant managers, food vendors, athletes, nursing home residents, company employees, or individual counseling.
Food/Nutrition Business Industry
Many RDN's who pursue the food and nutrition-related business industry possess strengths in creativity, entrepreneurship, and business. They find this area to be rewarding. These positions involve work in communications, consumer affairs, public relations, marketing, or product development.
Foodservice operations can be managed by RDN's. This may be in schools, hospitals, day-care centers, or correctional facilities. Typically, they oversee everything from food purchasing and preparation to staff management.
RDN's can work in management of healthcare institutions, foodservice, and business facilities. Frequently these positions include personnel responsibilities, menu planning and budgeting. As Americans recognize the importance of good nutrition, management dietitians play an increasingly key role wherever food is served.
Research & Education
Research RDN's work in universities, medical centers, governmental agencies, and food and pharmaceutical companies. They teach physicians, nurses, dietetic students, and others in the sophisticated science of foods and nutrition. In these positions, research is directed or conducted with experiments to answer critical nutrition recommendations for the public.
If you would like to get involved in research, consider emailing professors that are studying areas of interest to you.
Sports or Wellness Nutrition
In a sports nutrition or wellness program, RDN's educate clients about the connection between food, fitness and health. The RDN counsels and assesses the nutritional needs of competitive and recreational athletes and teams.
Jobs For Those Without RD Certification
Although most of the nutritional health market requires the RDN credential, there are opportunities for a student who has their B.S., but did not complete the RDN requirements.
These positions include:
- Diet Technician
- Foodservice Supervisor
- Sales within the health or food industry
- Foodservice Systems Management