Work with an RDN or DTR

RDNs provide a nutrition assessment, determine the nutrition diagnosis, determine and implement a nutrition intervention, and then in subsequent visits monitor and evaluate the patient’s progress. Nutrition education for disease prevention and nutrition counseling for chronic conditions provided over a series of visits are essential components of a comprehensive health care program.

Medical Nutrition Therapy provided by RDNs can:

  • Improve a patient's health and well-being.
  • Increase satisfaction levels through decreased hospitalizations and reduced prescription drug use.

Medical Nutrition Therapy improves patient outcomes, quality of life and lowers health-care costs. Medicare covers outpatient MNT provided by registered dietitian nutritionists for beneficiaries with diabetes, chronic renal insufficiency/end-stage renal disease (non-dialysis renal disease) or post kidney transplant. Many other private insurance companies also cover MNT services for a variety of conditions and diseases.

The Institute of Medicine identifies registered dietitian nutritionists as qualified professionals for nutrition therapy. According to IOM, the registered dietitian nutritionist is currently the single identifiable group of health-care professionals with standardized education, clinical training, continuing education and national credentialing requirements necessary to be directly reimbursed as a provider of nutrition therapy.

About half of all RDNs work in clinical settings, private practice or health-care facilities. Many work in community and public health settings, academia and research, business, journalism, sports nutrition and wellness programs. RDNs have met academic and professional requirements including:

  • Earn a bachelor's degree with course work approved by the Academy's Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry.
  • Complete an accredited, supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or foodservice corporation. 
  • Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
  • Complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.