Becoming a Dietitian

If you do not have a bachelor’s degree and you want to become a nutrition counselor or a registered dietitian.

To become a Registered Dietitian you need to do four things.

  • Complete a baccalaureate degree from an regionally accredited college or university
  • Meet the current academic requirements set by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) at an accredited dietetics program,
  • Complete an ACEND  accredited supervised field experience
  • Successfully write the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

There are two kinds of dietetic education programs available in the US.  In the most common kind of program, the four-year undergraduate program, you would earn a bachelor’s degree and then complete a dietetic internship in the fifth year.  The second type of program, the coordinated program, includes the internship component in the undergraduate preparation.

Unfortunately, we do not have either type of program at IUPUI, although some of the required courses are available on this campus.  IUPUI offers many of the required science courses and the food service courses.  Before enrolling in courses at IUPUI, decide which dietetic education program you will attend.  Talk with the advisors at this program and find out which IUPUI courses their program will accept as transfer courses.  There is no point in taking a class that will not transfer!!

A complete listing of both four-year undergraduate programs and coordinated programs in the United States is available at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website www.eatright.org. Dietetic education programs available in Indiana are attached. Please contact these programs directly.

The ACEND website includes a list of commonly asked student questions.  Here is the link http://www.eatrightacend.org/ACEND/content.aspx?id=6442485476

Employment Prospects for Registered Dietitians

 There are several websites that provide information on current opportunities in dietetics:   The U.S. Department of Labor at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm#tab-1, the American Medical Association Allied Health site at http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/education-careers/careers-health-care.page and  the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at www.eatright.org.

According to AND's most recent  data, 2013 Dietetics Compensation and Benefits Survey, Registered Dietitians  in the U.S. with five years or less working experience in the field earn between $46,197 and $65,000 per year – with a median salary of $53,893.  As with any profession, salaries and fees vary by region of the country, employment settings, scope of responsibility, and supply of RDs. Salaries increase with years of experience and many RDs, particularly those in management and business, earn incomes ranging from $92,000- $105,000 per year.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2020), “Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is expected to increase 20 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than average for all occupations.

In recent years, there has been increased interest in the role of food in promoting health and wellness, particularly as a part of preventative healthcare in medical settings. The importance of diet in preventing and treating illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease is now well known. More dietitians and nutritionists will be needed to provide care for people with these conditions.  

An aging population also will increase the need for dietitians and nutritionists in nursing homes.”