Dietitians and Nutritionists

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Also known as:
Clinical Dietitian, Dietitian, Nutritionist, Pediatric Dietician, Public Health Dietitian, Public Health Nutritionist, Research Dietitian, Sports Nutritionist, Therapeutic Dietitian

ABOUT DIETITIAN OR NUTRITIONIST CAREERS
Video transcript

The positive health and lifestyle effects of a healthy diet are very much in the news. The people behind the headlines are dieticians and nutritionists, who work to help all kinds of people take better care of themselves by making wiser food choices.

For someone being treated for high blood pressure, a consulting dietician or nutritionist in private practice or associated with a clinic can help design a diet that taste great, with less salt and fat. At institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes, a clinical dietician plans meals that serve the needs of individual patients and the employee cafeteria.

A community dietician or nutritionist works in public health clinics or home health agencies developing nutritional care plans and instruction individuals and their families. With good business skills, a management dietician oversees large-scale meal planning for company cafeterias, prisons, and schools.

This kind of work requires keeping a budget, purchasing food and equipment, and to making sure sanitary and safety regulations are being followed. Increased interest in nutrition has led to opportunities in food manufacturing, advertising and marketing, and helping to promote healthy foods and food ingredients.

The overall themes for these jobs are the supervision of meal preparation and nutritional planning. Increased national attention to the importance of nutrition and disease prevention will promote increased opportunities in this field and related occupations in food service, public relations for food companies, and education.

Many states require licensing, certification, or registration. The Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association awards an R.D. -registered dietician credential. Other credentials include registered nutritionist. You'll learn more about licensing and specialization while taking the necessary college courses in this field.

SNAPSHOT
Plan and conduct food service or nutritional programs to assist in the promotion of health and control of disease. May supervise activities of a department providing quantity food services, counsel individuals, or conduct nutritional research.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Prepare and administer budgets for food, equipment, and supplies.

Develop policies for food service or nutritional programs to assist in health promotion and disease control.

Plan and prepare grant proposals to request program funding.

Coordinate recipe development and standardization and develop new menus for independent food service operations.

Plan, conduct, and evaluate dietary, nutritional, and epidemiological research.

Organize, develop, analyze, test, and prepare special meals, such as low-fat, low-cholesterol, or chemical-free meals.

Advise food service managers and organizations on sanitation, safety procedures, menu development, budgeting, and planning to assist with establishment, operation, and evaluation of food service facilities and nutrition programs.

Select, train, and supervise workers who plan, prepare, and serve meals.

Manage quantity food service departments or clinical and community nutrition services.

Inspect meals served for conformance to prescribed diets and standards of palatability and appearance.

Plan and conduct training programs in dietetics, nutrition, and institutional management and administration for medical students, health-care personnel, and the general public.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Therapy and Counseling Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
TOP SKILLS
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Instructing Teaching others how to do something.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.