What is the Difference Between a Nutritionist and a Dietician?
More Answers From Holistic Nutrition Professionals
Host Question: What would be the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian?
Answer: A dietitian has gone through their education in nutrition. Right now, it’s a four year degree requirement, but it’s increasing to a master’s degree starting in 2024. But then after the dietitians will complete their clinicals, which typically lasts about a year. And these dietitians are usually more focused on inpatient care and disease management and, you know, feeding tubes and things like that, where a nutritionist can be a lot more broad and work with a lot more outpatients. A dietitian can do all these things as well. But from what I’ve seen, more dietitians stick with the medical field, a more traditional practice of dietetics, where nutritionists work with outpatients and take one to one clients working in fitness facilities and wellness centers and things like that.
Answer: A registered dietitian has to go through an accredited program. They then have to match to a dietetic internship, which is 1,200 hours of supervised practice. And during that internship, you’re going to see a variety of different rotation settings. So like I said, clinical community, food service, maybe even elective business, things like that. And then after you complete your supervised practice, you sit for the credentialing exam to get your credential. A nutritionist, on the other hand, is a term that’s not necessarily regulated, especially here in the states, and so anyone can call themselves a nutritionist.
Answer: The overarching difference is going to be dietitians are licensed and there’s a lot of oversight and nutritionists aren’t. You can pretty much call yourself a nutritionist with minimal education, whereas a dietitian you can as a dietitian, in order to get that certification, you have to have a bachelor’s degree. You have to finish a series of classes. You have to do a dietetic internship, which is a year of almost a year of supervised clinical practice. And you have to pass an exam.
Answer: Now you have to have your master’s to become a dietician now. That is a new rule. So you have to have your masters in dietetics and you have to go through a dietetic program where you do 1,200 hours of practice or internship, intern rotations, and then you can take the exam and then you become a dietician. A nutritionist doesn’t have a defined set of steps they have to take to become a nutritionist. You can take a 6 week course online and become a nutritionist. You could just make a website, call yourself a nutritionist. I’m not saying that all nutritionists are doing that. I’m just saying that it’s a lot simpler to become a nutritionist, but you don’t get as much practice learning background.
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