What is a Registered Dietitian?

A Registered Dietitian (RD)

is a highly-qualified health professional, recognized as an expert on food and nutrition. Dietitians are employed in a variety of settings.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Practice Groups:

Management dietitians work in healthcare institutions, schools, universities, and industry. They are responsible for personnel management, menu planning, budgeting, and purchasing. Management dietitians increasingly play a key role wherever food is served.

Clinical dietitians are a vital part of the medical team in hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, health maintenance organizations, and other health-care facilities. They provide medical nutrition therapy to help speed patients' recovery and lay the groundwork for long-term health. Some dietitians choose a particular area of practice, such as diabetes, pediatrics, or nutrition support.

Community dietitians work in public and home health agencies, and in government-funded programs that feed and counsel families, the elderly, pregnant women, children and disabled individuals. Wherever proper nutrition can help improve quality of life, they reach out to the public to teach, monitor and advise.

Educator dietitians work in colleges, universities, and community or technical schools, teaching future doctors, nurses, dietitians, and dietetic technicians the sophisticated science of foods, nutrition, and dietetics.

Research dietitians work in government agencies, food and pharmaceutical companies, and in major universities and medical centers. They conduct or direct experiments to answer critical nutrition questions, and make dietary recommendations for the public.

Consultants work full or part-time as management, clinical, or community dietitians, usually under contract with a healthcare facility or in their own private practice. They perform nutrition screening, assessment, and counseling. They consult regarding disease management, weight loss, sports nutrition, wellness, and foodservice management.

Business dietitians work in food and nutrition related industries. They work in product development, sales, marketing, advertising, public relations, purchasing, and in many other capacities that enable companies to satisfy consumers' growing interest in nutrition.