The Difference Between A Registered Dietitian And A Nutritionist

Have you ever noticed how saturated social media is these days with "Nutritionists?" Everyone seems to be making their living "educating" others on their diets. Many of those "educators" do not have a degree in Dietetics & Nutrition.

Have you ever called any of your friends, who are majoring in nutrition, a nutritionist? They will burst out in anger saying, " I am NOT a Nutritionist, I am trying to become a Registered Dietitian!" Immediately you forget what you wanted to ask them, and start to wonder what the heck is the difference?

The majority of the population has mistakenly used the terms, Dietitian and Nutritionist, interchangeably. Many cannot distinguish between the two. The most significant difference is a Registered Dietitian (RD) is registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). This registration is what allows them to legally declare themselves as RD's.      

  
Educational Background:
Nutritionist doesn't need to have a background in nutrition, just some course-work, depending on their state's requirements. 

An RD has to have at least a bachelors degree, in 2025 a Master's Degree will be the minimum requirement. The program must be approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). After receiving a degree they must be matched to a supervised, ACEND- approved, internship program (and only 50% of students, in the nation, get accepted). The internship consists of 4 rotations: Clinical, Foodservice Management, Community Nutrition and Long Term Care. Once you have completed your internship you are now eligible to sit for your National Boards to become an RD. Continuing education is a requirement to maintain registration.


The following are the coursework requirements for my degree at FIU:
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry 
  • Food service Management
  • Food and Nutrition Sciences

For more information, or if you're interested in becoming an RD, visit  
http://www.eatrightpro.org/resources/about-us/what-is-an-rdn-and-dtr/what-is-a-registered-dietitian-nutritionist

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