Employment Settings for Dietetics Graduates
- Public Health
- Private Practice
- Private Industry
- Education and Research
A degree in dietetics prepares a person for a career as a dietician. Although some people may use the terms nutritionist and dietician interchangeably, a dietician differs from a nutritionist in that the title of dietician is much more tightly regulated. Dieticians complete an internship and take a national exam to enter the field. Below are some of the areas where a person can work with this type of degree.
Working in a clinical setting is one of the most common career paths for a registered dietician. This would involve working in a hospital or another health care facility such as a long-term care facility. The dietician might specialize in a certain area, such as eating disorders, pediatrics, diabetes or kidney disease, or might work with patients on nutrition in a more general way. They would work alongside therapists, nurses, doctors and other medical professionals on developing a nutrition plan that can help with a patient's recovery or managing a chronic illness.
Dieticians working in public health might focus on educating groups, such as pregnant women, low-income families or older people, in improving their nutrition, or they might work with the general public. This could include developing programs for institutions, creating meal plans and doing presentations and other types of public speaking. The person might work for state, federal or local agencies or in a school system, a prison or a nonprofit.
Some dieticians might choose to work in their own private practice. This could involve running their own business in which they see private clients, or it could involve a business in which they act as consultants to food companies, health care organizations or other organizations. With private clients, they might work with people to lose weight or reach other dietary goals such as reducing cholesterol or high blood pressure. They might also work with athletes to improve their nutrition for maximum performance. The types of companies and organizations they might work with include food vendors, restaurants and nursing homes.
The opportunities for dieticians in private industry are broad and may include work in surprising fields. Dieticians who work in private industry might oversee the menu for a company dining hall or a cruise ship, or might work in the food industry on marketing, product development, consumer affairs or communications. Some media outlets might employ a dietician to produce content about nutrition and health like the magazine Good Housekeeping, as reported by Forbes.
Education and Research
Some people might want to remain in academia and work on nutrition research. Others may go into academia after working in one of the other fields above and train students for those careers. Working in academia will require getting a doctorate. A person who is interested in research might also find work in private industry.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, rapid growth in this field is expected. A person with a a degree in dietetics can expect to have a number of engaging career choices in the years ahead.