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Become A Clinical Dietitian

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Working As A Clinical Dietitian

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $57,910

    Average Salary

What Does A Clinical Dietitian Do

A Clinical Dietitian plans and oversees custom nutritional programs for healthcare patients after performing assessments of the patients' individual needs. They may work in a particular area, including children's diabetic dietetics or nutrition for people with high blood pressure.

How To Become A Clinical Dietitian

Most dietitians and nutritionists have a bachelor’s degree and have completed supervised training through an internship. Many states require dietitians and nutritionists to be licensed.


Most dietitians and nutritionists have a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, foods and nutrition, clinical nutrition, public health nutrition, or a related area. Dietitians also may study food service systems management. Programs include courses in nutrition, psychology, chemistry, and biology.

Many dietitians and nutritionists have advanced degrees.


Dietitians and nutritionists typically receive several hundred hours of supervised training, usually in the form of an internship following graduation from college. Some dietetics schools offer coordinated programs in dietetics that allow students to complete supervised training as part of their undergraduate or graduate-level coursework.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states require dietitians and nutritionists to be licensed in order to practice. Other states require only state registration or certification to use certain titles, and a few states have no regulations for this occupation.

The requirements for state licensure and state certification vary by state, but most include having a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition or a related area, completing supervised practice, and passing an exam.

Many dietitians choose to earn the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential. Although the RDN is not always required, the qualifications are often the same as those necessary for becoming a licensed dietitian in states that require a license. Many employers prefer or require the RDN, which is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The RDN requires dietitian nutritionists to complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and a Dietetic Internship (DI), which consists of at least 1,200 hours of supervised experience. Students may complete both criteria at once through a coordinated program, or they may finish their required coursework before applying for an internship. These programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), part of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In order to maintain the RDN credential, dietitians and nutritionists who have earned it must complete 75 continuing professional education credits every 5 years.

Nutritionists may earn the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credential to show an advanced level of knowledge. The CNS credential is accepted in several states for licensure purposes. To qualify for the credential, applicants must have a master’s or doctoral degree, complete 1,000 hours of experience, and pass an exam. The credential is administered by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists.

Dietitians and nutritionists may seek additional certifications in an area of specialty. The Commission on Dietetic Registration offers specialty certifications in oncology nutrition, renal nutrition, gerontological nutrition, pediatric nutrition, and sports dietetics.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Dietitians and nutritionists must keep up to date with the latest food and nutrition research. They should be able to interpret scientific studies and translate nutrition science into practical eating advice.

Compassion. Dietitians and nutritionists must be caring and empathetic when helping clients address health and dietary issues and any related emotions.

Listening skills. Dietitians and nutritionists must listen carefully to understand clients’ goals and concerns. They may work with other healthcare workers as part of a team to improve the health of a patient, and they need to listen to team members when constructing eating plans.

Organizational skills. Because there are many aspects to the work of dietitians and nutritionists, they should be able to stay organized. Management dietitians, for example, must consider the nutritional needs of their clients, the costs of meals, and access to food.

Problem-solving skills. Dietitians and nutritionists must evaluate the health status of patients and determine the most appropriate food choices for a client to improve his or her overall health or manage a disease.

Speaking skills. Dietitians and nutritionists must explain complicated topics in a way that people with less technical knowledge can understand. They must be able to clearly explain eating plans to clients and to other healthcare professionals involved in a patient’s care.

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Clinical Dietitian jobs

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Clinical Dietitian Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Asian

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Mandarin

  • Chinese

  • Cantonese

  • Italian

  • Portuguese

  • Hindi

  • Malay

  • Russian

  • German

  • Hebrew

  • Afrikaans

  • Japanese

  • Arabic

  • Estonian

  • Marathi

  • Dutch

  • Korean

  • Ukrainian

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Real Clinical Dietitian Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Supervisor-Clinical Dietitian Sutter Health East Bay Region Antioch, CA Oct 01, 2013 $81,473
Clinical Dietitian CHW-Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield Bakersfield, CA Oct 31, 2011 $76,071
Chief Clinical Dietitian CHW-Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield Bakersfield, CA Oct 31, 2011 $76,071
Clinical Dietitian Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Pomona, CA Sep 01, 2011 $75,000
Clinical Dietitian Nutritionist Compass Nutrition LLC New York, NY Dec 30, 2016 $74,880
Clinical Dietitian Sutter Delta Medical Center Antioch, CA Oct 01, 2010 $73,421
Clinical Dietitian Michael Tenenbaum Malverne, NY Dec 15, 2009 $73,045
Clinical Dietitian Compass Nutrition LLC New York, NY Dec 30, 2013 $73,045
Clinical Dietitian Sutter Delta Medical Center Antioch, CA Sep 20, 2010 $69,247
Clinical Dietitian Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY Jul 01, 2012 $68,529
Clinical Dietitian Children's Hospital of Orange County Orange, CA Jul 16, 2010 $68,162
Clinical Dietitian Montebello Artificial Kidney Center, LLC Montebello, CA Sep 23, 2016 $56,015
Clinical Dietitian (RD) Desert Valley Hospital, Inc. Victorville, CA Jul 18, 2016 $55,515
Clinical Dietitian Desert Valley Hospital Victorville, CA Nov 10, 2014 $55,515
Clinical Dietitian Catholic Healthcare West Bakersfield, CA Feb 18, 2010 $55,431 -
Clinical Dietitian Sodexo, Inc. Palmdale, CA Jul 05, 2013 $55,105
Clinical Dietitian Sodexo, Inc. Aiea, HI Sep 21, 2009 $55,000
Clinical Dietitian (RD) Prime Healthcare Services-San Dimas, LLC San Dimas, CA Aug 27, 2014 $54,930
Clinical Dietitian Barton Memorial Hospital South Lake Tahoe, CA Jul 01, 2010 $54,846
Clinical Dietitian Napa State Hospital Napa, CA Sep 01, 2009 $47,916
Clinical Dietitian Mecosta County Medical Center Big Rapids, MI Jun 27, 2016 $47,840
Clinical Dietitian Compass Group USA Inc. Miami, FL May 01, 2010 $47,235
Clinical Dietitian Medical Center Hospital Odessa, TX Aug 29, 2011 $47,041 -
Clinical Dietitian I Aramark Food and Support Services Group, Inc. Albany, GA Sep 23, 2015 $47,000
Clinical Dietitian Healthcare Services Group Inc. New York, NY Oct 24, 2011 $47,000

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Top Skills for A Clinical Dietitian


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Top Clinical Dietitian Skills

  1. Nutrition Assessments
  2. Nutrition Care Process
  3. Nutrition Care Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Completed 6 Hours a week during semester to do nutrition assessments and nutrition education for various patients with clinical dietitian.
  • Provided assessment and counseling for outpatient and inpatient populations utilizing the Nutrition Care Process.
  • Perform clinical evaluations for acute care patients, developed nutrition care plans and made nutrition recommendations to physicians.
  • Provided medical nutrition therapy to a variety of patients.
  • Updated/created education materials for the nutrition portion of the Living Well with Diabetes program and taught adult group education classes.

Top Clinical Dietitian Employers

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Clinical Dietitian Videos

Nutrition & Dietitian Careers : What Is a Clinical Dietitian?

Clinical Dietitian, Career Video from drkit.org

Career Advice on becoming a Dietitian by Julia S (Full Version)