Credentials of registered dieticians

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
The American Dietetic Association is the official organization of the dietetics profession. Most dietitians work in hospitals, but today's dietitian also may be a university professor who teaches nutrition; a consultant to the restaurant, pharmaceutical, or supermarket industries; a researcher; or part of a public health program. He or she also may do individual counseling, either with hospital patients, in an outpatient clinic, or with a physician's practice. To qualify for full professional membership in the A-D-A, an aspiring dietitian must complete at least four years of study in the biological and behavioral sciences, as well as study food management systems, foods, and food sciences. This must bedone at an accredited college or university. After passing a comprehensive qualifying exam, the applicant receives the designation 'R-D,' or 'Registered Dietitian.' There's also a two-year degree program offering an associate degree in dietetic technology and the registration 'D-T,' or 'diet tech.' A diet tech is professionally qualified to assist the registered dietitian. Some dietitians go on to earn a master's or doctoral degree in nutrition or a related field. Others go to nursing or medical school, with training emphasizing a special understanding of the relationship of food to nutrition and health.

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