An RD is the recognized credential for professionals who are The Expert in Foods & Nutrition". You may be more familiar with the term "nutritionist". A "nutritionist" is not a defined credential. Anyone can call themselves a "nutritionist" and they may or may not have nutrition related educational backgrounds, skills or training. Registered Dietitians are usually licensed, have thousands of hours of education and training and must pass the rigorous National Examination for Registered Dietitians before using the title Registered Dietitian (RD). The RD credential along with specific required continuing education ensures protection of the public through the pursuit of and application of evidenced based practices.
In today's fast growing health care field, especially relating to the prevention and treatment of obesity, the RD has a critical seat at the table. What separates RDs from other health care professionals is their expertise in nutritional assessment and evaluation, and dietary prescription. RDs hold a diverse range of positions including clinical jobs in hospital settings, outpatient care, long term care, corporate wellness or product development, performance nutrition, and community nutrition program development to name only a few. RDs are often found in management positions within foodservice, public health, and in community based nutrition programs including state and county Extension programs and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program.
Registered Dietitians earn their credential via a challenging undergraduate program followed by a 6-12 month, 1200 hour internship. Following the National Examination for Registered Dietitians, these professionals continue their commitment to lifelong learning to ensure they keep pace with the rapidly changing world of health care.
For more information about Dietetic careers visit American Dietetics Association.