5 things nobody tells you about being a dietitian
Are you interested in being a dietitian? Here are 5 things that you may not have known about becoming a nutrition professional.
If you have a passion for health and wellness, chances are high that you decided to become a registered dietitian (RD). In school, you learned all about clinical nutrition, but after becoming an RD, you may realize that there was a lot you didn’t know about when it comes to the nutrition field. Whether it’s alternative career paths or dealing with difficult clients, some things may surprise you.
In this article, we’re shedding light on 5 things you may not have known about being a dietitian.
Being a dietitian is equally challenging and rewarding
As with every profession, there are many challenges you will face as nutrition professional. Here are some of the more challenging aspects of being a dietitian:
- Educational requirements. Aspiring dietitians need to be accepted into an accredited program and complete their undergraduate degree in nutrition and dietetics. Many students will also choose to obtain a graduate degree to further their education.
- Internship. You need to go through a grueling dietetic internship and pass the CDR (commission on dietetic registration) exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.
- Adapting to different environments. You may find yourself dealing with difficult clients, adapting to virtual work life, or switching specialties.
However, despite these challenges, being an RD can be incredibly rewarding. After all, helping people is most likely why you entered dietetics in the first place. By focusing on the positives instead of the challenges, you will continue to fall more in love with dietetics.
There are many career options
Many people opt to be clinical dietitians, but many job prospects go beyond health care facilities. Whatever your passion is, you can find a career path that works for you.
- Work as a community dietitian. Dietitians work everywhere from a WIC office to food service, public health, and government agencies.
- Opening a private practice. Opening a private practice allows you to niche down and provide nutrition support to your target audience.
- You can develop recipes for companies. If you’re passionate about creating recipes, you can collaborate with companies to develop and photograph recipes.
- Writing. Dietitians can be freelance writers or have a contract with numerous publications. If writing interests you, this would be an interesting avenue to explore.
- Marketing. If marketing interests you, reach out to nutrition companies to be involved with their PR, social media, or email campaigns. Many companies have dietitians on their marketing team.
- Becoming a virtual assistant. With many jobs becoming virtual, many dietitians are thinking outside of the box and creating their ideal jobs. Working as a virtual assistant can further hone your communication and marketing skills while boosting your resume.
- Offering freelance work. This has become a popular option for dietitians as it provides flexibility to manage your schedule. If you’re interested in becoming a freelancer, check out this article to learn more.
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You will have a variety of skills
While you went to school for nutrition, you may find that being a dietitian requires you to wear many hats. For instance, if you’re working in private practice, you will take on the role of counselor, friend, and cheerleader. Similarly, if you’re a freelancer, you’ll also need to be a marketer, content writer, and negotiator. Check out our best tips on succeeding at freelancing as a registered dietitian.
When you combine these skills with your nutrition education, you will find that you become more marketable for other job opportunities.
You’re always learning something new
Being in a science-based field means that nothing stays the same for long. After all, trends change, new research emerges, and technology evolves.
To stay on top of everything, you should strive to always learn something new. Whether it’s attending conferences or taking an online course, you should never stop seeking to gain more knowledge.
You will be called a nutritionist
This one is a tough truth to swallow, and one that even seasoned dietitians find difficult to accept. The terms dietitian and nutritionist do not mean the same things, so if people call you the wrong title, be gracious, gently correct them, and move past it.
Being a dietitian is an exciting career path that can focus on many different areas of health and wellness. However, there might be things that you didn’t know about this profession. Whether it’s education requirements, different career opportunities, or mastering other skills, nutrition professionals have a lot on their career plates. But regardless of the challenges, this profession is rewarding and can offer many opportunities that go beyond health care.
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