What does a registered dietitian do?

Registered dietitians teach and counsel individuals and groups about nutrition and its impact on health and well-being. They work in a variety of settings: hospitals and clinics, food service management, public health, business, education, research, and private practice. Areas of specialty include education, pediatrics, geriatrics, business, and sports nutrition.

What might a registered dietitian do in a workday?

Depending on their work setting, registered dietitians:

  • plan and supervise meal preparation and service in hospitals, schools, restaurants, or other public and private institutions.
  • use nutrition, biochemistry, and physiology principles to make recommendations regarding patients’ nutritional management.
  • provide counsel about diet modifications that can correct or prevent health problems.
  • analyze food for its nutritional content and study the way the body uses nutrients.
  • select, train, and direct nutrition services staff.
  • provide community-based programs designed to promote well-being and prevent chronic diseases.
  • direct purchasing and prepare reports and budgets.

How much does a registered dietitian earn?

  • $45,000 - $65,000

How do I become a registered dietitian?

Students interested in becoming dietitians should prepare by taking challenging high school classes in science, English, math, and business.

To become a registered dietitian, students must earn a bachelor’s degree in an accredited academic program and complete an accredited supervised practice program, such as a coordinated program or dietetic internship. Registered dietitians also must pass a national examination and complete continuing education requirements. Students may begin at a local community college and transfer to a four-year program after obtaining an Associate in Science degree.

“Becoming a Registered Dietitian Fact Sheet” and additional information are available at: www.eatright.org/students/education/starthere.aspx.

Where else can I learn about becoming a registered dietitian?

Virginia Dietetic Association
P.O. Box 439 / Centreville, VA 20122-0439
tel:  (703) 815-8293 / www.eatrightvirginia.org

American Dietetic Association
120 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000 / Chicago, IL 60606-6995
tel:  (312) 899-0040 or (800) 877-1600 / web:  www.eatright.org

American Society for Nutrition
9650 Rockville Pike / Bethesda, MD 20814
tel:  (301) 634-7050 / web:  www.nutrition.org

Educational Institutions in Virginia for Registered Dietitians: