Dietetics is an exciting field that’s projected to grow a whopping 15% from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s also a great way to put a passion for healthy eating to work. But before you move forward with obtaining your dietetics certification, it’s important to understand what’s required in order to join this growing group of professionals. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you’ll need to complete the following five steps in order to get that coveted Registered Dietitian, or RD, title:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree from a program accredited by ACEND (Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics)
- Complete a year-long supervised clinical program approved by ACEND
- Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam
- Gain licensure in your state if applicable (47 states currently have requirements)
- Continue your education throughout your career
Clearly, becoming a registered dietitian requires a commitment that extends far beyond a bachelor’s degree. In addition to the five steps listed above, some are also adding nutrition coach training to their education as a way to further help clients with habit change and overall healthy lifestyle design. So, a desire to go the distance and continually expand your knowledge is a must in this exciting career!
Dietitians and Healthy Eating
A passion for healthy eating is an obvious requirement for anyone considering obtaining their dietetics technician certification. But perseverance is important as well. With fast food on every corner and increasingly hectic lifestyles that leave little time for shopping and preparing meals, people really struggle in this area. Therefore, the ability to see clients through setbacks and get back on track is key. Some of the ways RDs might help clients include:
- Grocery lists
- Meal plans
- Cooking short-cuts
- Pantry and refrigerator makeovers
- Tips for eating out
- Technology and apps that can help keep clients on track
By offering a solid eating plan and tips to make shopping, meal planning, and tracking progress easier, RDs not only provide clients the tools needed to eat healthy in the short term, but they also help create habit change that will keep clients healthy in the long term.
Dietitians and Weight Loss
Whether it’s to improve a chronic condition or simply to help a client look and feel better, weight loss is a common goal among registered dietitian clients. So a desire to help clients lose weight—even when it’s difficult or the road is long—is key. According to the CDC, nearly half of American adults tried to lose weight in 2013 – 2016. Yet this 2010 Psychology Today article states that 95% of all dieters regain any weight they lose in 1–5 years.
Fortunately, RD’s have the training and experience to not only help clients lose weight but keep it off as well. It starts with ditching the idea of diets and helping clients make lasting lifestyle changes. By asking about things like individual health goals, food preferences, and lifestyle, an RD is able to create a tailored eating plan that is sustainable in the long term. Add in the support and accountability a good RD provides, and success rates improve significantly.
Registered Dietitian Jobs
The basic job description for a registered is someone who provides counsel on food and nutrition. However, as the trend toward health and wellness continues to expand, so do your job opportunities as an RD. In addition to the expected roles working with patients in hospitals and healthcare provider settings, more and more are now working in other, less obvious, capacities such as:
- Counseling or consulting for businesses, schools, restaurants, health clubs, or spas
- Acting as food safety specialists for food manufacturers and other organizations
- Working with government organizations like the USDA, FDA, and state and local programs
- Performing research and helping with clinical trials and interventions
- Opening private practices
- Writing health and wellness materials and grants
- Performing Research & Development for food manufacturers
- Joining international food organizations like US AID, CARE, Peace Corps, Oxfam, and Center for Food Safety
- Counseling clients online
- Working in public health positions
- Working as a food safety specialist for restaurants, airlines, hospitals, etc.
Regardless of which career path you take, there are skills that set some apart. For instance, being a strong educator and public speaker is helpful in motivating clients. Being a good writer might make you stand out in a corporate or government position. But it’s the ability to actively listen that may bring you the most success. After all, when clients feel heard, they’re more likely to work hard to reach and maintain their goals long term.
Certified Dietitian Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS) the median pay for RDs in 2017 was $59,410/year. The BLS goes on to say that those working in outpatient care centers made the most, at $65,650. Hospital positions came in second, with a salary of $60,210. Add in a projected growth rate of 15% per year and no matter where you work, one thing is clear —he future for RDs in the US is bright!
Interested in learning more about dietetics certification and how adding health coaching training might enhance make your future success? Connect with a Clarity Coach today to find out how Health Coach Institute can help you build the career of your dreams!
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