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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

  • $54,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Clinical Dietitian Do

Dietitians and nutritionists are experts in the use of food and nutrition to promote health and manage disease. They advise people on what to eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle or achieve a specific health-related goal.

Duties

Dietitians and nutritionists typically do the following:

  • Assess patients’ and clients’ nutritional and health needs
  • Counsel patients on nutrition issues and healthy eating habits
  • Develop meal plans, taking both cost and clients’ preferences into account
  • Evaluate the effects of meal plans and change the plans as needed
  • Promote better health by speaking to groups about diet, nutrition, and the relationship between good eating habits and preventing or managing specific diseases
  • Keep up with or contribute to the latest food and nutritional science research
  • Write reports to document patients’ progress

Dietitians and nutritionists evaluate the health of their clients. Based on their findings, dietitians and nutritionists advise clients on which foods to eat—and which to avoid—to improve their health.

Many dietitians and nutritionists provide customized information for specific individuals. For example, a dietitian or nutritionist might teach a client with diabetes how to plan meals to balance the client’s blood sugar. Others work with groups of people who have similar needs. For example, a dietitian or nutritionist might plan a diet with healthy fat and limited sugar to help clients who are at risk for heart disease. They may work with other healthcare professionals to coordinate patient care.

Dietitians and nutritionists who are self-employed may meet with patients, or they may work as consultants for a variety of organizations. They may need to spend time on marketing and other business-related tasks, such as scheduling appointments, keeping records, and preparing educational programs or informational materials for clients.

Although many dietitians and nutritionists do similar tasks, there are several specialties within the occupations. The following are examples of types of dietitians and nutritionists:

Clinical dietitians and clinical nutritionists provide medical nutrition therapy. They work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, private practice, and other institutions. They create nutritional programs based on the health needs of patients or residents and counsel patients on how to improve their health through nutrition. Clinical dietitians and clinical nutritionists may further specialize, such as by working only with patients with kidney diseases or those with diabetes.

Community dietitians and community nutritionists develop programs and counsel the public on topics related to food, health, and nutrition. They often work with specific groups of people, such as adolescents or the elderly. They work in public health clinics, government and nonprofit agencies, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and other settings.

Management dietitians plan food programs. They work in food service settings such as cafeterias, hospitals, prisons, and schools. They may be responsible for buying food and for carrying out other business-related tasks, such as budgeting. Management dietitians may oversee kitchen staff or other dietitians.

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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.

Education

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.

Training

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 Career Paths

Clinical Dietitian
Consultant Manager General Manager
Food Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Consultant Supervisor Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Consultant Office Manager Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Owner Assistant Director
Interim Director
10 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Case Manager Nursing Director
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Principal Director
Medical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Health Educator Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Director Of Health Services
10 Yearsyrs
Health Educator Program Coordinator Therapist
Clinical Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Health Coach Owner Assistant Director
Director Of Food And Nutrition Services
9 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Owner/Operator Food Service Manager
Dietary Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Registered Nurse Supervisor Nursing Director
Wellness Director
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Nurse Manager Nursing Director
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Therapist Service Supervisor
Patient Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Therapist Clinical Manager
Manager Of Clinical Services
10 Yearsyrs
Health Educator Program Coordinator Clinician
Clinical Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Food Service Supervisor Food Service Director
Nutrition Director
7 Yearsyrs
Food Service Supervisor Food Service Manager Dietary Manager
Nutrition Services Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Registered Nurse Occupational Health Nurse
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Registered Nurse Supervisor Registered Nurse Case Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Dietitian Health Coach
Wellness Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Clinical Dietitian?

Average Yearly Salary
$54,000
Show Salaries
$43,000
Min 10%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
Highest Paying City
San Jose, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
4.3 years
How much does a Clinical Dietitian make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Clinical Dietitian in the United States is $54,336 per year or $26 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $43,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $68,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Clinical Dietitian Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Supervisor-Clinical Dietitian Sutter Health East Bay Region Oct 01, 2013 $81,473
Chief Clinical Dietitian CHW-Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield Oct 31, 2011 $76,071
Clinical Dietitian CHW-Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield Oct 31, 2011 $76,071
Clinical Dietitian Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Sep 01, 2011 $75,000
Clinical Dietitian Nutritionist Compass Nutrition LLC Dec 30, 2016 $74,880
Clinical Dietitian Sutter Delta Medical Center Oct 01, 2010 $73,421
Clinical Dietitian Michael Tenenbaum Dec 15, 2009 $73,045
Clinical Dietitian Compass Nutrition LLC Dec 30, 2013 $73,045
Clinical Dietitian Sutter Delta Medical Center Sep 20, 2010 $69,247
Clinical Dietitian Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Jul 01, 2012 $68,529
Clinical Dietitian Children's Hospital of Orange County Jul 16, 2010 $68,162
Clinical Dietitian Montebello Artificial Kidney Center, LLC Sep 23, 2016 $56,015
Clinical Dietitian (RD) Desert Valley Hospital, Inc. Jul 18, 2016 $55,515
Clinical Dietitian Desert Valley Hospital Nov 10, 2014 $55,515
Clinical Dietitian Catholic Healthcare West Feb 18, 2010 $55,431 -
$59,208
Clinical Dietitian Sodexo, Inc. Jul 05, 2013 $55,105
Clinical Dietitian Sodexo, Inc. Sep 21, 2009 $55,000
Clinical Dietitian (RD) Prime Healthcare Services-San Dimas, LLC Aug 27, 2014 $54,930
Clinical Dietitian Barton Memorial Hospital Oct 01, 2010 $54,846
Clinical Dietitian Mecosta County Medical Center Jun 27, 2016 $47,840
Clinical Dietitian Compass Group USA Inc. May 01, 2010 $47,235
Clinical Dietition Providence Hospital Jul 14, 2012 $47,229
Clinical Dietitian Medical Center Hospital Aug 29, 2011 $47,041 -
$50,171
Clinical Dietitian I Aramark Food and Support Services Group, Inc. Sep 23, 2015 $47,000
Clinical Dietitian Healthcare Services Group Inc. Oct 24, 2011 $47,000

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Top Skills for A Clinical Dietitian

  1. Nutrition Care Plans
  2. Patient Care
  3. Comprehensive Nutrition Assessments
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Participated in implementing palliative care measures to terminally ill patients/residents by individualizing nutrition care plans and meal plans tailoring their needs.
  • Communicate nutrition assessment findings and interventions via medical record documentation, patient care rounds and/or verbal communication with health care staff.
  • Provided comprehensive nutrition assessments and care planning for a diverse population including general adult, pediatric, and geriatric patients.
  • Develop and deliver nutrition weight loss curriculum to the morbidly obese, including exercise and psychological components.
  • Provided diabetes education for newly diagnosed diabetics including insulin starts, and provided education for those previously diagnosed requiring further instruction.

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Top 10 Best States for Clinical Dietitians

  1. Connecticut
  2. Nevada
  3. Alaska
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Mississippi
  6. Louisiana
  7. West Virginia
  8. South Dakota
  9. Maryland
  10. Montana
  • (49 jobs)
  • (26 jobs)
  • (16 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (38 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)
  • (15 jobs)
  • (13 jobs)
  • (91 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)

Clinical Dietitian Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 8,870 Clinical Dietitian resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Clinical Dietitian Resume

View Resume Examples

Clinical Dietitian Demographics

Gender

Female

83.5%

Male

11.7%

Unknown

4.8%
Ethnicity

White

61.7%

Hispanic or Latino

13.9%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

9.3%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

60.8%

French

7.6%

Mandarin

5.3%

Cantonese

4.3%

Chinese

4.3%

Portuguese

2.7%

Hebrew

1.7%

Hindi

1.7%

Italian

1.7%

German

1.7%

Malay

1.3%

Russian

1.3%

Japanese

1.3%

Korean

1.0%

Marathi

0.7%

Ukrainian

0.7%

Afrikaans

0.7%

Arabic

0.7%

Estonian

0.3%

Dutch

0.3%
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Clinical Dietitian Education

Schools

Texas Woman's University

9.0%

New York University

8.9%

University of Alabama

6.0%

Ohio State University

6.0%

Florida International University

5.6%

Michigan State University

5.5%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

5.3%

Eastern Michigan University

5.0%

Iowa State University

4.9%

California State University - Los Angeles

4.7%

University of Delaware

4.4%

Loma Linda University

4.3%

Framingham State University

4.1%

Pennsylvania State University

4.0%

Marywood University

4.0%

Louisiana Tech University

3.8%

East Carolina University

3.7%

Kansas State University

3.7%

Bowling Green State University

3.7%

University of Kentucky

3.5%
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Majors

Dietetics

43.5%

Food And Nutrition

27.9%

Nutrition Science

7.9%

Public Health

3.1%

Business

2.1%

Food Science

1.7%

Health Care Administration

1.5%

Nursing

1.5%

Family And Consumer Sciences

1.4%

Clinical Psychology

1.4%

Kinesiology

1.0%

Health Education

1.0%

Management

1.0%

Physician Assistant

0.8%

Education

0.8%

Health Sciences And Services

0.8%

Public Health Education

0.8%

Health And Wellness

0.7%

General Education, Specific Areas

0.6%

Exercise Physiology

0.6%
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Degrees

Masters

52.4%

Bachelors

39.3%

Certificate

5.4%

Doctorate

1.2%

Associate

1.1%

Diploma

0.3%

License

0.1%

High School Diploma

0.1%
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Top Clinical Dietitian Employers

Jobs From Top Clinical Dietitian Employers

Clinical Dietitian Videos

Nutrition & Dietitian Careers : What Is a Clinical Dietitian?

Clinical Dietitian, Career Video from drkit.org

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Updated May 18, 2020