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Becoming a Dietitian Career Plan

Early planning can put you on the fast track for a career in dietetics. The following steps are designed for either secondary students or high school graduates.

  1. Take a lot of math and science courses in high school. Also consider nutrition and health exploration classes. National Connections Academy has a summer course in health, nutrition, and fitness; you own school may offer similar courses through the PE department.

    Do some career observations to confirm your career choice. You might contact AHEC or the Learning for Life organization.

    Pursue enrichment activities that will help you develop your awareness of diet and nutrition. Your school may have a nutrition club.

  2. Take the SAT or ACT and begin researching programs.

    Select a school with a good dietetics program. Make sure the program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Dietetics Education, or CADE. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) maintains a list of accredited programs. They also maintain a lit of non-accredited programs that people might mistake for the real thing. (There’s not necessarily something wrong with the programs listed; many are perfectly respectable nutrition, wellness, or food service programs, but they meet different goals and won’t qualify you for certification as a Registered Dietitian.)

    You may want to explore multiple options. There are programs in traditional universities around the nation, and there are also a few distance learning schools that accept students from all over. You may choose a didactic program and then a one year internship (1,200 hours of supervised practice) or a combined program.

  3. Graduate from high school.

  4. Enroll in school and complete prerequisites. In many cases, you don’t apply to the professional program until you are getting ready for your junior year. You can poise yourself for acceptance, though, by earning good grades and participating in activities that demonstrate professionalism. One organization that you might consider is the Health Occupations Student Association (HOSA).

    You may become a student member of ADA during the pre-professional phase.

  5. Wrap up your required studies. Complete your registration eligibility application a week or so before graduation. Take the exam when you become eligible.

Personality Traits: According to the Mayo Clinic, Dietitians have good communication and people skills and project a professional image. They know how to multi-task.