Work with an RDN or NDTR

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.

More on this Topic

  • Referring Patients to an RDN

    Medical Nutrition Therapy improves patient outcomes, quality of life and lowers health-care costs. If you are a health practitioner, here is what you need to know about referring patients to an RDN.

  • Nutrition Guides and Resources

    The Academy has developed resources to assist practitioners and educators in the practice of dietetics. Many of these tools use evidence-based guidelines and allow practitioners to apply cutting-edge, synthesized research in practice.

  • Food and Nutrition Handouts in Multiple Languages

    Eat Right nutrition tip sheets provide practical food and nutrition guidance for healthy eating. These educational handouts are written by Academy staff registered dietitians and provided in English and Spanish.

  • Work Settings and Areas of Expertise for RDNs

    RDNs work in Hospitals, HMOs or other health care facilities, educating patients about nutrition and administering medical nutrition therapy as a part of the health care team. RDNs 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.

  • Why Should I Send My Staff RDNs and NDTRs to FNCE?

    FNCE - the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo - is the main annual meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, designed for food and nutrition professionals by their peers. Attendees learn to immediately apply updated skills, education and cutting-edge research to improve practice and performance in their workplace.

  • Where Can I Find an RDN?

    Are you interested in finding a food and nutrition expert who can provide quality care to your patients? One who can use evidence-based practices and direct clinical nutrition programs across the continuum of care? One who can improve the nutritional quality of your menu and develop technical information for your food products? You need an RDN!

  • Why Should I Hire an RDN?

    Registered dietitian nutritionists are the food and nutrition experts who can translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living. RDNs use their nutrition expertise to help individuals make unique, positive lifestyle changes.