Dietetics Career Development Guide

The Dietetics Career Development Guide uses the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition to illustrate how a practitioner, regardless of focus area, can attain increasing levels of knowledge and skill throughout a career. Through life-long learning and professional development, practitioners acquire and develop skills that lead to increased competencies and levels of practice.

This guide is designed to provide students, educators and practitioners the tools to assist in career development and advancement. These resources include: examples of educators and practitioners and their career decisions, videos of three RDNs and their career pathways, scenarios for career development and advancement, Standards of Practice in Nutrition Care and Standards of Professional Performance, career Toolbox Resources from the Academy website, resources specific for educators, and resources specific for practitioners.

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Learn from Colleagues

Focus Area of Practice

Career Resources

Resources Specific for Practitioners

Resources Specific for Educators

Levels of Education


A novice is an individual acquiring the didactic foundation of dietetics science and practice. The novice gains increasingly complex knowledge throughout the education program.

Advanced Beginner

An individual currently enrolled in the supervised practice phase of dietetics education, either following (as in a dietetic internship) or concurrent with (CP and DTP) the acquisition of didactic knowledge. The Advanced Beginner has a working knowledge of aspects of dietetics science and practice. The Advanced Beginner increases skills and abilities throughout the supervised practice period. Works under supervision of a preceptor and develops increasing levels of autonomy.

Levels of Practice


A dietetics practitioner who has just obtained RDN/NDTR status, starting in an employment situation as a professional, and gains on the job skills as well as tailored continuing education to enhance proficiency and knowledge. This RDN/NDTR starts the technical training and interaction for advancement and breadth of competence.


An RDN or NDTR who is three plus years beyond entry into the profession, who has obtained operational job performance skills and is successful in the chosen focus area of practice.


An RDN or NDTR who is recognized within the profession and has mastered the highest degree of skill in or knowledge of a certain focus or generalized area of nutrition and dietetics through additional knowledge, experience, or training. An expert has the ability to immediately see "what" is happening and "how" to approach the situation. An expert can easily use the skills within the field of dietetics to become successful through the application of these skills to areas that may fall outside those in the traditional profession. Experts practice autonomously, accurately, and efficiently in a certain focus or generalized area of nutrition and dietetics and continue to engage in leadership activities.