Is there a difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian?

Is there a difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist

Yes, there is a difference between the two. While some Registered Dietitians (RDs) may call themselves “nutritionists,” please be aware that not all nutritionists are Registered Dietitians. The definition and requirements for the term “nutritionist” vary. Some states, such as Pennsylvania, have licensure laws that define the range of practice for someone using the designation “nutritionist.“ In other states, however, virtually anyone can call themself a “nutritionist,” regardless of education or training.

What is a dietitian?

The Registered Dietitian (RD) credential is a legally protected title that can be used only by practitioners who are authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

What are the qualifications of a Registered Dietitian?

A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements including:

  • Earned at minimum a four year degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®). Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry.
  • Completed 900+hrs of an accredited, supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency and foodservice corporation.
  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
  • Completes continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
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Laura Boehm, MHSc, RD, LD

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