Nutritionists or dietitians advise clients on their food selection based on their lifestyles, tastes and health needs. They research and stay up to date with nutritional science. They use their knowledge and turn it into understandable practical advice that can be used to improve health. Both nutritionists and dietitians focus on health and wellness, but registered dietitians have the authority to diagnose and treat food and eating related disorders.

What Responsibilities Will I Have?

  • Complete initial patient nutrition-related screenings and assessments
  • Provide nutritional recommendations to patients and family members
  • Help clients implement nutritional advice into their daily lives
  • Utilize safe and protective equipment
  • Work with a family physician and other medical staff to ensure quality patient care
  • Council family members relating to nutritional concerns
  • Modify menus for specialized diets for specific patients
  • Answer patient questions after a program is in place
  • Provide education to other health care professionals
  • Research nutritional recommendations for health conditions
  • Help coordinate food purchasing and preparation of hospital meals
  • Educate clients about the connection between food and health
  • Work with product development chefs to create healthier meals
  • Help educate the public and advise on governmental policies
  • Research and understand new nutritional studies
  • Document and review client progress
  • Create educational materials about healthy food choices and lifestyle

Recommended High School Courses:

  • agricultural education
  • family and consumer sciences
  • physical education
  • chemistry
  • mathematics

Education/Training Required:

A bachelor’s degree in dietetics, food science, nutrition or a related field is required. In the United States, dietitians must receive a certification from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in order to practice as a registered dietitian. Additional requirements will vary by state.