If you are interested in health and wellness and enjoy working with people, a job as a dietitian might be a good fit for you. Dietitian jobs are rapidly growing in America, with jobs increasing at an annual rate of 14%. Dietitians work in a variety of settings, from schools to nursing homes and much in between. They have a strong science background and work with people to create a diet that fits their nutritional needs. Read on to learn more about a day in the life of a dietitian and how to become one.
A Day in the Life of a Dietitian
There is no single, standard day in the life of a dietitian, because what dietitians do depends on exactly where they work. All dietitians are knowledgeable on healthy eating habits, nutritional requirements of certain populations, and meal planning. How they apply that knowledge depends on their work setting. Here a few examples of what a day might look at in different employment situations:
- Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities: Many dietitians work at hospitals and other healthcare settings, such as nursing homes or long-term treatment centers. On any given day, a dietitian might start off by leading a nutritional therapy session to patients recently diagnosed with heart disease. This may include teaching a class on appropriate food choices, preparing a meal with the class, and discussing how to make healthy choices at home. Later in the day, the dietitian might create specialized plans for patients with specific nutritional needs, such as celiac disease, heart disease, diabetes, or food allergies. Some dietitians run the whole kitchen for a facility. They might finish their day looking over the kitchen’s budget, ordering food and other supplies, and meeting with the kitchen staff.
- Schools: Dietitians who work in schools focus on meal planning for the cafeteria and education for students. Having a dietitian in the school is a burgeoning field as more and more children are overweight and obese. A day for a school dietitian might start with preparing lunch or breakfast plans for the school district based on nutritional guidelines for children. Later, they may go into the classroom to teach lessons on healthy eating choices. They may meet with the kitchen staff to see how the children like the food to inform future meal planning.
- Sports Nutrition: Athletes have specific nutritional requirements, so some sports teams and athletic training facilities hire dietitians. Sports dietitians often work one-on-one with clients to determine their specific nutritional needs and athletic goals, then create a personalized meal plan centered around them.
- Private Practice: Many health insurance plans now cover appointments with dietitians, so more individuals are seeking out personalized nutritional care. On a typical day, a dietitian in private practice will individually meet with several patients. They discuss specific goals, such as weight loss or a change in habits, then create a meal plan centered around that goal. The dietitian will meet each patient over a course of weeks or months to discuss challenges and successes and to tweak goals over time.
How To Become a Dietitian
Registered dietitians must fulfill three requirements:
- Complete a bachelor’s degree in a program accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Dietetics or the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
- complete an internship or apprenticeship
- Pass a certification exam
A New Direction
Dietitian jobs offer a lot of variety, both in day to day schedule and in types of employment. If you are interested in pursuing a career in Dietetics or other health care paths, contact New Directions today!