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. They work throughout the community in hospitals, schools, public health clinics, nursing homes, fitness centers, food management, food industry, universities, research and private practice. RDNs are advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world.
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.
- Some RDNs hold additional certifications in specialized areas such as pediatric or renal nutrition and diabetes education.
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.