Dietitian training in US Dietitian schools
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Dietitian training in US Dietitian schools

Working as a dietitian, you may plan and supervise the nutritional programs of your patients. Dietitians may help prevent or treat certain illnesses by the types and amounts of food they prescribe to patients. You may specialize as a clinical, community, management, or consultant dietitian. Clinical dietitians develop healthy nutrition programs for hospitalized patients and work with doctors and nurses to ensure the optimal menus are provided. Community dietitians work in public health clinics to promote well-being in their specific area. Management dietitians plan meals for companies, schools, and other large organizations, while consultant dietitians may typically work on a contract basis for private practices to perform nutritional screenings on a more personal level.

Careers in Dietetics

A career in dietetics means you may work in an acute care hospital or a long term care facility buying food, creating diets appropriate for each patient, managing kitchen staff, and assuring government requirements of food preparation are implemented. A dietitian most importantly, is a person who educates people about nutrition and enjoys working with people.

As a registered dietitian (RD), you might specialize in diets for diabetics, for children, for seniors, for pregnant or lactating women, or for athletes. Your area of specialization may depend on your own interests. With such consciousness of health and wellness in today's society, you may create your own area of specialization. An RD might easily find a niche specializing in therapeutic diets using herbs for example. Perhaps you are interested in the possibilities of healing diets for cancer patients.

Working as a RD

Many dietitians work in outpatient care centers, providing specific diets to patients to aid in their recovery.

A dietitian with an emphasis in public health might have an office in a health clinic. This career would involve educating the public about nutrition to improve their quality of life. Diets and nutrition for weight management are important in this field.

A dietitian may not work only at one location, but travel throughout a certain area. As a dietitian, you might be educating people in retirement communities. You might not only educate, but also provide all dietetic services to these communities such as nutritional consultation, assessment, and dietary goal creation and implementation for the residents of the retirement communities.

After years of experience as registered dietitians, many RDs go on to become professors. Here they continue their careers by educating people in nutrition and their areas of specialization, in college and university classrooms instead of hospitals or private practices.

Working as a DTR

Dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs) work under the supervision of registered dietitians and have similar responsibilities. Careers in hospitals and long-term care facilities are common places for DTRs. They plan appealing meals according to the patient's needs, but they would not have as many managerial responsibilities as an RD.

Entrepreneurs may find careers in dietetics in private practice. Your expertise becomes your product, and your knowledge of business makes your practice flourish. You may counsel and educate people in the area of your specialization, and you may let the topics and projects you enjoy open new opportunities in your practice.

Career Choices

Careers in dietetics may involve working for companies that make, package, and distribute food to grocery stores and restaurants. You may assure that the consumer receives quality food that is made and processed in sanitary conditions meeting and surpassing government standards.

People's health depends on the expertise of dietitians to keep them informed of the up-to-date research for optimal health. Communicating nutritional information through the newspaper, on television, radio, and the Internet not only uses your nutritional knowledge, but also your skill in communications.

By providing nutritional food to children from preschool through college, dietitians are practicing their profession. You might find a career as a supervisor that purchases and supplies food to a whole district of elementary schools. You would be responsible for the healthy diets of a whole city's children. On a smaller scale, individual preschools also need dietitians for planning their food and distribution.

Whether you find a position in a hospital, a correctional facility or you have your own private practice, your ability to understand each person's mental, physical, and dietary condition are important for providing the appropriate diet. Continual research is necessary to make sure your patients or clients have the best diets.

A degree in dietetics may be the beginning of a career that continues to present opportunities you never expected.

List of Colleges offering Dietitian Programs

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