Curious as to what areas you can be working in once you land your degree or certification? There are specific requirements to becoming a registered dietitian and the choices can be quite rewarding. Or you can opt for becoming a certified nutritionist or health coach. My guest poster outlines some choices that may interest you if you are considering the field of health and wellness. I got my post-grad degree in Nutritional Sciences and continue to explore the possibilities in my field as a registered dietitian. How did I get started?: Check out my previous post: “Are you Considering a Career in Nutrition?“
Guest Post by Mariana Ashley
People who are passionate about nutrition are inherent caregivers, preparing healthy meals for those they love and taking time to research the best foods for family members with health problems. In a world that is increasingly plagued with preventable disease directly related to diet, career opportunities for nutritionists are abundant.
As the title suggests, clinical dietitians work in medical facilities, where they provide nutrition therapy to patients who suffer from a variety of diseases. They also work with families to provide special menus based on different individual needs. Clinical dietitians can also be responsible for supplying artificial nutrition to patients who are unable to eat.
Clinical dietitians can also specialize in diets for patients with specific disorders or dietary needs.
- Gerontological dietitians work in nursing homes to provide meals that address the illnesses and deficiencies associated with the aging process.
- Neonatal dietitians provide individualized medical nutrition therapy for critically ill premature newborns and work closely with parents to ensure safe and healthy feeding.
- Pediatric dietitians work across a range of clinical and public institutions, including schools, to create healthy nutrition plans for children. Some areas of focus may be food allergies and childhood obesity.
Though a research dietitian may work in a hospital setting, research positions are also commonly available in universities, government agencies, food and beverage companies and the pharmaceutical industry. The research conducted by a dietitian may concentrate on how nutrition affects a certain illness such as cancer. Such intensive research requires dietitians to study the biochemical interactions between nutrition and the human body.
Research can also be conducted within a social scope, making dietitians responsible for monitoring the impact of health policies and public nutrition programs. Although the research dietitian’s primary focus is research, sharing discoveries and information is a second component of the career path. A research dietitian may be required to teach university students or to develop public health systems to promote awareness.
REQUIREMENTS TO BECOME A REGISTERED DIETITIAN: Bachelor’s degree from a US accredited institution. Coursework must also be approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ASCEND). Must participate in a supervised practice program (generally 6-12 months) that is also accredited by ASCEND. Finally, dietitians must pass a national exam that is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
Unlike dietitians, nutritionists are not responsible for feeding people. The education requirements and regulations for nutritionists have yet to be determined on a national level, thus making it easy for nutritionists of varying levels of expertise and qualifications to proclaim the title of “nutritionist”.
Mainly, nutritionists work as consultants, sharing advice with schools, public health agencies, community organizations and individuals. Nutritionists often work in public health to identify nutritional problems in specific communities. In light of nutritional problems, nutritionists provide education and outreach to encourage others to improve dietary habits.
REQUIREMENTS TO BECOME A NUTRITIONIST: Requirements for nutritionists vary from state-to-state, but Nutritionists generally hold a bachelor’s degree in a nutrition-related field.
Natural chefs work with a variety of healthy foods to provide meals to healthy and ill individuals alike. Positions for natural chefs can be found in private homes, catering companies, restaurants, health food stores and retreat programs. Natural chefs can also be called upon to provide therapeutic nutritional support to combat certain health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, allergies, stress and digestive disorders.
REQUIREMENTS TO BECOME A NATURAL CHEF: A variety of culinary schools offer specialty training in preparing whole or natural foods.
Mariana Ashley is a blogger and freelance writer for onlinecolleges.net. She offers advice for choosing the perfect online program for prospective students and parents and welcomes comments via email at email@example.com.