How Can I Become a Dietitian?

DietitianRegistered dietitians focus on the impact of food on people of all ages as it pertains to their health. With a focus on giving dietary advice that not only promotes health but also helps prevent disease, dietitians can find work in a variety of settings.  In order to become a Registered Dietitian, you must know what schooling, degrees and other important factors are necessary.

Schooling and Coursework

As you are preparing to become a dietitian, you will take coursework in food and nutrition sciences, foodservice system management, business, economics, computer science, communications and sociology. Specific science classes include biochemistry, organic chemistry, anatomy, chemistry and physiology. After taking all of these American Dietetics Association approved classes, you earn your Bachelor’s of Science Degree from your university in an average of four years. Further career advancement is available for those who choose to get advanced degrees, such as a Master’s Degree in Dietetics.


Students studying to become registered dietitians must complete an approved internship. The goal of the internship is to provide on the job training. These internships are very competitive–it’s best to understand the process completely before applying. Find out how to improve your chances for getting into a great internship program here.

Inquire at your college to see if they prefer you complete your Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education, or CADE, approved internship as an undergraduate or after you have graduated. This program places you at a health-care facility, community agency or food service corporation. Your supervised program will last between six and 12 months.


Once you have completed your schooling and internship, you need to pass the national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration to become a registered dietitian, a title many companies, hospitals, health care facilities and others who need a person knowledgeable in nutrition on hand prefer. To find out exactly what you need to know for the exam, when to sign up, how to prepare and how much the exam costs, visit the CDR website at Also at this site, find out how to continue your education, see average passing scores for the exam and become reauthorized as a dietitian.

Specialized Certification

Earning a general dietetics degree just about guarantees you a job in the field. However, if you want to specialize in a certain area based on people’s specific needs or your own personal health interests, that broadens your scope of available positions. Some of these specializations include pediatric or renal nutrition, nutrition support, diabetes education or sports nutrition.

After you have completed all the necessary schooling, internship and licensing requirements to become a registered dietitian, choose your location of employment. Hospitals, schools, nursing homes, cafeterias, corporate wellness programs, businesses and private practices all hire dietitians.