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What Does a Registered Dietitian Do?

Healthy food can be life-changing. What if you could help people understand and embrace that choice? Then this job could be for you. Registered Dietitians (RD) design nutrition programs to improve patient well-being or to boost disease recovery. These food and nutrition experts may also advise someone who wants to embrace a healthier lifestyle. A dietitian explains how smart food choices help the body function better, including what foods to eat and what to avoid.

Clinical dietitians work in a traditional medical setting like a hospital or nursing home while community dietitians work with corporations or communities to teach better eating habits. Food service dietitians, sometimes called management dietitians, oversee food planning for a cafeteria, food company or school. Many dietitians also work in private practice.

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A registered dietitian helps people embrace a healthy diet and understand the role of good nutrition
A registered dietitian helps clients understand how food affects every aspect of long-term health, and why fruits and vegetables are so powerful. (Credit: Komsan Loonprom/Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Assess nutritional needs
  • Consult with doctors and other healthcare personnel
  • Explain the principles of healthy eating and nutrition and counsel patients to follow them
  • Create customized meal plans and adjust them as needed
  • Keep up with the latest nutrition research

A registered dietitian (RD) must earn a bachelor’s degree in an accredited program, complete several hundred hours of supervised practice and take an exam to become credentialed through the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Many states require a license to practice. Some employers look for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential.

In general there are two program approaches. A coordinated program in dietetics provides classroom and supervised practical experience at the same time. In a didactic program, classes are followed by a dietetic internship or supervised experience, which can last eight to 24 months.

Many hold advanced degrees and some hold additional certifications in areas of specialization, like pediatric or sports nutrition. The requirements for licensure and certification vary by state, but continued professional education is required to maintain certification.

  • Communicate and listen well
  • Understand complicated research and are able to translate it for everyday use
  • Enjoy working with people and helping solve problems
  • Have strong organization skills

Registered Dietitian training in your area

Paradise Valley Community College

Dietetic Technology, A.A.S.

Paradise Valley Community College
Phoenix (0.0 Miles)

Dietetic Technology, A.A.S.

Middlesex County College
Edison (0.0 Miles)

Dietetic Service Supervisor Certificate

Merced College
Merced (0.0 Miles)

Nutrition and Dietic Technician, A.A.S.

Central Arizona College
Coolidge (0.0 Miles)

Nutrition Certificate

Ocean County College
Toms River (0.0 Miles)

Dietary Manager Noncredit

Anne Arundel Community College
Arnold (0.0 Miles)

Dietetic Technician, A.S.

Community College of Allegheny County
Pittsburgh (0.0 Miles)

Dietetic Service Manager Certificate of Achievement

Orange Coast College
Costa Mesa (0.0 Miles)

Dietetic Service Supervisor Certificate of Achievement

Orange Coast College
Costa Mesa (0.0 Miles)

Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, A.S.

Orange Coast College
Costa Mesa (0.0 Miles)

Dietary Manager Certificate Of Achievement

San Diego Mesa College
San Diego (0.0 Miles)

Nutrition and Foods, A.S.

Antelope Valley College
Lancaster (0.0 Miles)
'You have to be a good listener and be able to develop a good rapport with people,' said registered dietician Cathy Shaw.
Meet Ambassador Catherine Shaw

Catherine Shaw knows that some people may equate her job with the “food police,” but the truth is so much more interesting. A Registered Dietician has the knowledge and the relationships to help people change in ways they didn’t think possible. 

“When we work so closely with patients on skills to help facilitate lifestyle change, they are so appreciative when they start feeling better, moving better and are able to enjoy their lives more,” says Catherine.

If you're interested in food science and have a passion for improving people's lives, this could be the job for you.

Find Registered Dietitian Jobs in Your Area


Asst Dietary Manager HCC - G2

Durham ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 6 months 1 week ago

Registered Dietitian - PGMC

American Advanced Management, Inc
Coalinga ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 8 months ago

Registered Dietitian

NHC Dickson
Dickson ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 8 months 3 weeks ago

Dietary Manager ALF

Americare Senior Living
Clarksville ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 9 months 1 week ago


Department of Defense
Warren Air Force Base ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 year ago


Mount Sinai Medical Center
New York ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 year 1 month ago

Clinical Regestered Dietitian - Full time - Days

Cedars Sinai
Los Angeles ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months ago

Registered Dietitian CNSC - Part Time

Nashville ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 3 weeks ago