Dietitian vs. Nutritionist: What’s the Difference?

18 Jun

I have been MIA from blogging because I have been completing a dietetic internship. This internship is one distinguishing feature between a Registered Dietitian and a Nutritionist. These terms are often used interchangeably and incorrectly. The purpose of this post is to clarify the differences.

Registered Dietitian

  • Undergraduate degree usually in nutrition
    • Many also have masters degrees
  • Completion of an internship
    • 1200 hours of supervised practice
  • Must pass national registry exam
    • Maintain registered status with continued education throughout career
  • National standards for professional legislation
    • The title of dietitian is protected by law
  • Experts in food and nutrition
  • Credentials RD (Registered Dietitian) or RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist)

Nutritionist

  • Undergraduate and/or graduate degree in nutrition
    • Some do not have degrees
  • In most states anyone can all themselves a nutritionist regardless of education and training
    • States with licensing requirements- Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, and Maine.
  • Non-accredited title; not protected by law

When you need nutrition or nutrition related health information seek a registered dietitian, because they are experts in their field and they have completed the necessary education and training. If you are going to work with a nutritionist do your research to be sure they are a reliable source of information.

I have a few months left in my internship and I am excited to get my credentials and begin my career as a registered dietitian. I am also excited that I will have more time to blog, as I have many topics I want to discuss and recipes to make and share.

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One Response to “Dietitian vs. Nutritionist: What’s the Difference?”

  1. Kait McCarthy June 19, 2015 at 7:41 am #

    Thank you for breaking down the difference between the two. I have always wondered if the term was interchangeable or if there was a difference. Also, you rock!!!

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