Work Settings and Areas of Expertise for RDNs

The majority of registered dietitian nutritionists work in the treatment and prevention of disease (administering medical nutrition therapy, as part of medical teams), often in hospitals, HMOs, private practice or other health care facilities. In addition, a large number of registered dietitian nutritionists work in community and public health settings and academia and research. A growing number of registered dietitian nutritionists work with food and nutrition industry and business, journalism, sports nutrition, corporate wellness programs and other non-traditional work settings.

Work Settings of RDNs

  • Hospitals, HMOs or other health care facilities, educating patients about nutrition and administering medical nutrition therapy as part of the health care team. RDs may also manage the foodservice operations in these settings, as well as in schools, day-care centers and correctional facilities, overseeing everything from food purchasing and preparation to managing staff.
  • Sports nutrition and corporate wellness programs, educating clients about the connection between food, fitness and health.
  • Food and nutrition-related businesses and industries, working in communications, consumer affairs, public relations, marketing or product development.
  • Private practice, working under contract with health care or food companies, or in their own business. RDNs may provide services to foodservice or restaurant managers, food vendors and distributors, or athletes, nursing home residents or company employees.
  • Community and public health settings teaching, monitoring and advising the public, and helping to improve their quality of life through healthy eating habits.
  • Universities and medical centers, teaching physicians, nurses, dietetics students and others the sophisticated science of foods and nutrition.
  • Research areas in food and pharmaceutical companies, universities and hospitals, directing or conducting experiments to answer critical nutrition questions and find alternative foods or nutrition recommendations for the public.

Areas of Expertise

In addition to the RD credential, there are specialty credentials in areas of gerontological nutrition (CSG), sports dietetics (CSSD), pediatric nutrition (CSP), renal nutrition (CSR) and oncology nutrition (CSO). Board-certified specialists are credentialed by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.