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A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is a health professional that assists people of any age to attain optimal nutritional status. A career in nutrition requires significant formal education.
The minimum requirement for a career in dietetics is a bachelor's degree; however, some dietitians hold graduate degrees. The bachelor’s degree should be from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).
Colleges and Universities across the US with accredited Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in Nutrition & Dietetics programs must include didactic curricula approved by ACEND. Curricula include courses in nutritional biochemistry, human nutrition, developmental nutrition, exercise physiology, metabolism, medical nutrition therapy, food service management and organization, social sciences, education, business, management, and food production. The last two years of a dietetics education are called a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). Students completing a DPD program receive a verification statement upon graduation, required to enter an accredited supervised practice program – Dietetics Internship (DI).
Upon successful completion of a DI, graduates are eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians, administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN). Most states require RDNs to be licensed.
Salaries for RDNs range from $47,000 to $104,000 (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Compensation & Benefits Survey, 2015) depending on the field, experience, and position held. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, dietitian jobs were predicted to increase 16% from 2014-2024.
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