A dietician can assess people’s health goals and wellness needs to provide suitable nutritional plans. They also manage chronic diseases with dietary strategies. Dieticians work on a group or individual basis with people of all ages. They must have expertise in nutrition science, body anatomy, allergy, and disease management.
This page is a guide to help you create a dietitian resume. Let's start by reading through the three main resume types.
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Job Duties of a Dietician
A dietician may be required to conform to various roles given the diversity of their workplaces. Typically, they work at hospitals, private clinics, community or public health organizations, schools, and other health care facilities. Some may choose to work with corporate nutrition programs, sports nutrition, private businesses, public health policy roles, or non-government organizations and research facilities.
The following are the job duties of a dietician:
Assessing nutritional status of patients based on BMI, health, exercise, sleep, allergies and patient medical history following legal and health protocols.
Developing diet plans for patients considers special conditions and the patient’s preferences, budget, and routine.
Counseling patients and their families on nutritional issues.
Monitoring client progress monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
Developing nutritional products through scientific research.
Educating consumers through social media.
Promoting the general public’s health, dieticians must be organized and have excellent time management skills. They may have to take on many tasks at the same time other than handling diets. It’s not uncommon for dieticians to juggle multiple duties, including working with food service employees to update meal plans, carrying out nutritional programs, overseeing patient progress and so on. Certain workplaces might also require them to conduct research, deliver presentations, and create health policies. Recruiters look for dieticians capable of handling demanding environments by prioritizing tasks.
Dietician Median Salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a dietician earns a median salary of $61,270 as of 2020. This field is projected to grow at 8% since the interest in the field of nutrition and wellness has increased in recent years.
Top skills for dieticians
A dietician has a deep understanding of their subject, both in theory and in practice, to correctly advise clients and uphold the highest standards of professionalism and safety protocols. Here are other skills they need:
- Technical knowledge: A thorough understanding of clinical nutrition, anatomy, biochemistry, metabolism and related nutrition subjects is a must. Many dieticians are required to work in a medical setting where they use nutrition to prevent, diagnose and treat disorders, while collaborating with other medical professionals to deliver the best nutrition care to patients. They must also have knowledge of patient certification requirements. In a food service setting, dieticians must know about supplies, equipment, and inventory control. Expert certifications like Board Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition (CSR), Board Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition (CSP), Board Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition (CSG), Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition (CSO) are required to work in hospitals.
- Patient evaluation skills: Dieticians conduct patient evaluations, read vital statistics, and conduct health assessments while having the emotional intelligence to listen to patients. They are also required to communicate medical information like test results, diagnoses, and medical conditions to clients, supporting medical staff. They are also required to perform bookkeeping and track patient progress.
- Nutritionist tools and technology knowledge: Academic knowledge and real-life training in tools and technologies like hydrostatic weighing machines, glucometers, bioelectric impedance machines and calorimeters allow dieticians to obtain precise information about the status of their client’s health and their body responses. In addition, dieticians should also know the latest tech used by the medical community. Some of the software applications are Nutritionist Pro, Axxya Systems Nutritionist Pro, BioEx Systems Nutrition Maker Plus, Compu-Cal Nutrition Assistant and Lifestyles Technologies DietMaster Pro.
- Meal planning: To be a dietician, you must analyze nutritional information to ensure the desired meal plan has the right balance of dietary fiber, carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. A good dietician re-evaluates and adjusts meal plans to accommodate specific needs in a way that does not compromise the nutritional needs of their clients. Patients with conditions such as diabetes seek the help of dieticians to design menus to manage health issues.
- Organization and time management: Due to the heavy workload in catering to a large number of individual clients, dieticians must be organized and have excellent time management skills. They may have to take on many tasks at the same time other than handling diets. It's not uncommon for dieticians to juggle multiple duties including working with food service employees to update meal plans, carrying out nutritional programs, overseeing patient progress and so on. Certain workplaces might also require them to conduct research, deliver presentations, and create health policies. Recruiters look for dieticians capable of handling demanding environments by prioritizing tasks.
Educational Requirements for Dieticians
Dieticians require specialized skills and knowledge to work in a variety of job environments. Once students complete their degree programs and internships, they must pass a registration examination administered by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Commission on Dietetic Registration.
DegreeMost entry-level dieticians have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and related fields. The Accreditation Council for Education offers accredited programs in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Some of the best universities with full-industry accreditation, like the University of Texas, offer a bachelor of science in nutrition. In contrast, the University of North Carolina provides a bachelor of science in public health. James Madison University has a bachelor of science in dietetics and Ohio State University offers a bachelor of science in nutrition. These courses give a solid grounding in nutrition science and prepare students for additional graduate research and real-life practice as registered dieticians.
CertificationsAll dieticians must gain a specialized and advanced level of knowledge and are required to have certifications. Some states require registered dieticians to earn a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS), provided by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists, to get a license. Earning this certificate requires completing 1,000 hours of supervised clinical work, passing an exam, and completing a graduate degree program.
- Universities and colleges: The Institute for Integrative Nutrition is an online nutrition school headquartered in New York City, offering a health coach training program. The school also provides business training to enable students to start their health coaching careers. San Diego State University and Long Island University Post both offer certificate courses in nutrition.
- Member associations: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Commission on Dietetic Registration offers certifications programs like Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Board Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition (CSR), and Board Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition (CSP).
Other member organizations that offer certifications to entry-level nutritionists but may not allow for licensing in certain states are The American Association of Nutritional Consultants (AANC) and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP).
- For-profit educational companies: Many companies like Udemy, New Skills Academy and Coursera offer online certificate courses that are self-paced and teach you holistic subjects that can give you a beginner-level understanding to help you further your knowledge as a dietician.
- Nonprofit or voluntary organizations: Various nonprofit organizations like The American College of Nutrition (ACN) offer certifications such as Certified Nutrition Specialist® credential (CNS®) for personalized nutrition practitioners with a specialty certification in Certified Ketogenic Nutrition Specialist (CKNS).
LicensureLicensure and certification requirements are different in certain parts of the country, with many states requiring nutritionists to be licensed to practice and use their title. Other states may only require certification to use certain titles such as “Nutrition Coach” rather than “Registered Dietitian” or “Nutritionist.” A license will allow individuals to legally promote themselves as nutritionists and provide services within the legal boundaries of the state board. Make sure to research your state’s requirements before going ahead with certification programs.
Dietician Resume-Writing Tips
There are several ways of writing the perfect resume and you might choose to get creative. In any case, it is important to emphasize how you used your skills to achieve goals in your previous job positions and successfully carried out your duties.
- Highlight professional skills: To stand out, ensure abilities such as designing meal plans are included. Demonstrate your expertise in the field by mentioning your hard skills while also highlighting key soft skills like decision-making and collaboration.
- Add dietician’s certificates: Recruiters prefer candidates with comprehensive training in the field. Add your certifications, credentials and licenses to demonstrate proficiency. Certain workplaces require certifications in relevant areas of specialization. You'll most likely need additional training or education to work in a hospital setting.
- Showcase achievements: Every organization seeks potential candidates that bring value to their workplace. Important accomplishments like securing funding, facilitating group sessions, and mentoring interns attract recruiters.
- Add relevant statistical data: Providing quantifiable metrics like the number of staff trained and the number of hours spent training allows recruiters to have a clear picture of their skills and talents.
Am I required to get recertified for a dietician job?
Yes. To maintain their credentials, registered dietitians are required to get recertified by completing 75 continuing education credits every five years. This applies to those with a CNS designation as well. More information about continuing education courses can be found on the Commission on Dietetic Registration and the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists.
Should I choose a specialization?
Most experts recommend it. Registered dieticians who want to work at hospitals, health centers and exclusive areas of patient care like Oncology Nutrition, Sports Nutrition, Obesity and Weight Management, private consultancy or businesses, specialization helps them attract customers.