Becoming fit and healthy is one of the most popular trends right now. Therefore, it’s both promising and profitable to become a nutritionist or a dietitian. They develop and implement dietary protocols and meal plans that help people to achieve their wellness goals and have the best body and state of mind.
However, how does one end up in this profession? Here is a brief guide on how to become a nutritionist.
How to become a nutritionist
1) Take specific courses during college or graduate studies
Before becoming a nutritionist, one has to take and complete several specific courses that are required by the Academic of Nutrition and Dietetics. These can be completed at the undergraduate level or graduate level.
The variety of subjects is all relevant to the future profession of being a nutritionist. Each of them was designed to equip individuals with the knowledge, insight and skills required to make someone fit and healthy. These subjects include food, and basic and advanced knowledge about the science of nutrition. They also include food service systems management, so individuals can learn the operations and processes involved in the profession. Of course, there are also complementary courses such as business economics, anthropology, sociology, culinary arts and sociology. Besides that, there are also courses related to biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and human anatomy.
2) Complete internships
Once the required courses have been taken, the next step is to take the Dietetic Internships, a program that has been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). These internships are training ground for nutritionists. They are designed to provide the interns with additional knowledge that will be valuable for them in the coming years, and let them experience the actual work as a nutritionist.
In order to apply for a Dietetic Internship, an individual must at least have a bachelor’s degree and fulfilled the coursework requirements that we have mentioned above. Most internships typically involve 1200 hours of continued supervised operation and practice. They should be completed within a span of 8 to 24 months.
There are many internships available around the world. Some of them also provide tuition and financial aid, so make sure to check out for those.
3) Pass the Registered Nutritionist (RD) Exam
Once the internship is finished, the next big step is to take the RD exam. This challenging and multi-section test precisely gauges if an individual has the capability and technical know-how to become a nutritionist. They need to be able to provide the best nutritional plan for their patients. There are four sections in the exam, including principles of dietetics, nutrition care for individuals and groups, management of food and nutrition programs and services and food service systems.
Food and nutrition sciences often involved questions related to food science, nutrition, education, research and several key management concepts that’s important to the subject. Nutrition care for individual and groups includes questions about screening, assessment, diagnosis, planning, intervention, monitoring and evaluation. Management of food and nutrition programs and services include the business side like management, human resources, marketing and quality improvement. Finally, the food service systems, which includes menu development, procurement, production, sanitation, equipment, facilities and sustainability.
Around 125 to 140 questions are given over a period of a few hours.
Becoming a nutritionist requires time, discipline, a lot of knowledge acquisition and hard work. If you are determined to become one, make sure to follow this how to become a nutritionist list and start getting to work today!