What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Pediatric Dietician?

A pediatric dietician, typically spelled ~'dietitian~' today, evaluates and establishes nutritional plans for children and infants. These dietitians may work in many types of settings, from hospitals to public schools. A bachelor's degree, internship experience and licensure are common requirements for dietitians. Read on to learn more about these requirements. Schools offering Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Requirements

To become a pediatric dietitian, individuals must meet the educational and professional requirements, which include a bachelor's degree, an internship and certification. The internship must be completed to pursue certification. In addition, continuing education requirements must be fulfilled for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs).

Important Facts About This Occupation

Average Salary (2018) $61,210 (for dietitians and nutritionists)
Key Skills Analytical, listening, organization, speaking, and problem solving skills; dietitians must also be compassionate
Work Environment Majority of dietitians and nutritionists employed by hospitals; 6% were self-employed in 2012. May work evenings and weekends
Similar Occupations Sports nutritionists, health educators, community health workers, registered nurses, physicians, rehabilitation counselors, exercise physiologists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Programs

One must obtain a bachelor's degree in nutrition, dietetics or a similar field from an accredited college or university in order to become a pediatric dietitian. Coursework in these programs must be approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

Coursework

Some typical courses included in a bachelor's degree program in nutrition or dietetics include:

  • Nutrition
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Metabolism
  • Biology
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Dietary systems management
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Nutrition life cycle
  • Community health
  • Food science
  • Exercise

Internships

Many employers require individuals to be registered dietitians before hiring them. A dietitian internship must be completed to be eligible to take the RDN exam given by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Many 4-year programs in nutrition or dietetics offer an internship, which usually begins during the final year of the program. One might intern at a hospital, children's hospital or community wellness center. These programs may also have field experiences.

Licensure and Certification

Licensure as a dietitian is currently required in most states, though some states require certification or registration instead; these credentialing systems are similar, but requirements can vary. Getting licensed usually requires an exam, a bachelor's degree and supervised experience. Continuing education must be completed in order to maintain registered dietitian certification, which usually has similar requirements as licensure. There are some advanced certification options available as well, such as becoming a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS), which requires 1,000 hours of work experience and an advanced degree.

Job Prospects

Dietitians and nutritionists in general are expected to experience a 15% employment growth over the 2016-2026 period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). This faster-than-average growth will lead to good job prospects, which may be even better for certified professionals. Earning an advanced degree can also improve job prospects.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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Popular Schools

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Trident University

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    Popular programs at Trident University:

    • Doctoral

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  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Michigan State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: East Lansing
  • The University of Alabama

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    • Alabama: Tuscaloosa
  • Iowa State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Iowa: Ames
  • University of Georgia

    Campus Locations:

    • Georgia: Athens
  • University of Connecticut

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: Storrs