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Registered Dietitian Degree Program and Training

If you are interested in helping others create food and nutrition programs for a healthier lifestyle, becoming a registered dietitian may be a field of interest for you, and can be achieved with a bachelor's degree. Read on to learn the curriculum for undergrad and graduate degree programs and certification requirements.

What Undergraduate Degrees Are Available for Registered Dietitians?

If you're just starting out, you may be interested in a bachelor's degree program in nutrition, food service management, dietetics or a related field of study. Most employers usually require at least a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also says you may choose to specialize as a clinical, community or management dietitian (www.bls.gov). Coursework for a bachelor's degree program usually includes common topics such as biochemistry, microbiology and food science. Other classes may cover topics like meal management, food economics, sports nutrition and medical nutrition therapy. If distance learning interests you, some schools offer dietitian programs partially online. You're expected to complete assignments and tests online as you take some courses from home.

Undergraduate Degree Curriculum Bachelor's dietitian programs that focus on meal management, medical nutrition, and food science.
Graduate Degree Programs Curriculum Master's dietitian programs that focus on metabolism, nutrition counseling, and typically require writing a thesis.
Certification Becoming a registered dietitian requires passing the CDR exam and completing 1200 internship hours.
Median Salary (2018)$60,370* (for dietitians and nutritionists)
Job Outlook (2016-26)15%* (for all dietitians and nutritionists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Graduate Degrees Can I Earn?

This field also offers graduate degree programs. Earning a master's degree can be done in two years. You'll take several classes that enhance your understanding of diet and nutrition. You may find yourself enrolling in courses that cover medical nutrition, metabolism and nutrition counseling. You may also be required to write a research thesis on a subject in your field. Distance-learning programs are available at the graduate level.

How Do I Become Certified?

Depending on the state you intend to work in, you might need to become a Registered Dietitian. This process involves meeting the education requirements and passing the exam proctored by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (www.cdrnet.org). Education requirements include the completion of a bachelor's degree program and a didactic program in dietetics accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Dietetic Education, which you can pursue at the bachelor's or master's level. You're also required to complete a minimum of 1200 hours under supervision in a dietetic internship or coordinated program. Finally, you'll need a passing score on the exam for registered dietitians.