Dietitian Careers

Dieticians are specialists that help in planning food and nutrition programs and supervise the preparation and serving of meals. They usually run their service in hospitals and schools but sometimes can work with individuals. A dietician offers dietetic educational services, assesses patients' nutritional needs, and oversees meal planning. They also develop dietetic plans at the institutional level and work with individual clients to develop customized diets and meal plans for their overall healthcare. A dietician facilitates group sessions, collects data, and prepares statistical reports.

As a dietician, you need soft skills for you to work effectively with patients. Some of these skills include active listening skills since patients need complete attention when discussing their health issues. You will also need verbal communication skills as you will need excellent communication and speaking skills to convey information to the patients. You must also be able to instruct and persuade the patients, manage time well, and organize things with ease. Dieticians need at least a bachelor's degree in dietetics, food nutrition, or related areas like biochemistry, sociology, psychology. The median annual salary of a dietician is $59,410.

What Does a 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.

Learn more about what a Dietitian does

How To Become a 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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Average Salary for a Dietitian

Dietitians in America make an average salary of $51,301 per year or $25 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $65,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $40,000 per year.
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Best Paying Cities For Dietitians

Average Salarydesc
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range59k - 87k$72k$72,057
Washington, DC
Salary Range50k - 76k$62k$61,798
Las Vegas, NV
Salary Range50k - 71k$60k$60,089
New York, NY
Salary Range49k - 73k$60k$60,038
Hackensack, NJ
Salary Range48k - 72k$59k$59,190
Rochester, MN
Salary Range49k - 70k$59k$58,917
Medford, OR
Salary Range50k - 67k$58k$58,050
Phoenix, AZ
Salary Range45k - 66k$55k$55,478
Newton, MA
Salary Range45k - 64k$54k$54,042
Aurora, CO
Salary Range47k - 59k$53k$53,106
Charlottesville, VA
Salary Range43k - 65k$53k$53,066
Vancouver, WA
Salary Range47k - 59k$53k$53,027
Charlotte, NC
Salary Range42k - 63k$52k$52,087
Miami, FL
Salary Range41k - 61k$51k$50,568
Houston, TX
Salary Range40k - 61k$50k$50,086
Chicago, IL
Salary Range40k - 60k$50k$49,612
Columbus, OH
Salary Range39k - 60k$49k$48,945
Albuquerque, NM
Salary Range41k - 56k$48k$48,310
Silver Spring, MD
Salary Range38k - 59k$48k$47,994
Ann Arbor, MI
Salary Range38k - 58k$47k$47,322

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Dietitian Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Dietitian. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Dietitian Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Dietitian resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Dietitian Resume Examples And Templates

Dietitian Demographics



80.3 %


15.2 %


4.4 %



70.1 %

Hispanic or Latino

10.8 %

Black or African American

9.1 %

Foreign Languages Spoken


59.2 %


9.0 %


4.3 %
Show More Dietitian Demographics

Dietitian Education


45.2 %



66.4 %


22.1 %


4.3 %

Top Colleges for Dietitians

1. University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, MD • Private

In-State Tuition

2. University of Georgia

Athens, GA • Private

In-State Tuition

3. Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN • Private

In-State Tuition

4. University of Delaware

Newark, DE • Private

In-State Tuition

5. Ohio State University

Columbus, OH • Private

In-State Tuition

6. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

7. California State University - Chico

Chico, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

8. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

9. Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX • Private

In-State Tuition

10. Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
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Top Skills For a Dietitian

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 31.2% of dietitians listed nutrition services on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and compassion are important as well.

  • Nutrition Services, 31.2%
  • Medical Records, 16.7%
  • Patient Care, 9.4%
  • Lab Results, 6.1%
  • Diabetes, 4.4%
  • Other Skills, 32.2%
  • See All Dietitian Skills

Best States For a Dietitian

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a dietitian. The best states for people in this position are California, Connecticut, North Dakota, and Delaware. Dietitians make the most in California with an average salary of $69,950. Whereas in Connecticut and North Dakota, they would average $62,355 and $61,120, respectively. While dietitians would only make an average of $61,089 in Delaware, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. North Dakota

Total Dietitian Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New Hampshire

Total Dietitian Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Rhode Island

Total Dietitian Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Dietitians

How Do Dietitian Rate Their Jobs?

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What do you like the most about working as Dietitian?

I love the daytime work hours and having the weekends off most of the time. I love it when a client is interested in diet and ready to learn. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Some areas of nutrition-especially outpatient-require a certain amount of persuasive ability. It can be hard to work with the public all the time. And some dietitians, mostly clinical and hospital food service have to work some holidays. Show More

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