Different Jobs Dietitians Can Do

Updated: Jan 14, 2019


Jobs in dietetics include research, corporate nutrition, clinical dietetics, community nutrition, grocery store, food system management, & more! Also included here are some examples of ideal internships if you choose to specialize in a certain area.



RESEARCH


A dietitian can go straight into research post-internship as a full blown career. Or, in the clinical setting, research and evidence-based practice should be part of one's skill set and utilized simultaneously.

NIH hires research dietitians as well as an internship.

The ideal dietetic researcher will have a masters in science degree in Nutrition (opposed to a masters of art).


Internships Available:

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Internship: 10 months

Emphasis: Clinical Nutrition Research

Cornell University - Ithaca - New York

Internship: 10 months

Emphasis: Research


Louis Stokes Cleveland Medical Center - Veteran Affairs

Graduate degree + Internship: 17 months

Emphasis: Research Processes and Applications

Stipend available


List of all internships


CORPORATE NUTRITION



Work in a business promoting health and wellness! Bass Pro's headquarters is located in Springfield, MO and has a registered dietitian in wellness management for the entire company. She promotes healthy options in the headquarter's cafes that provide breakfast and lunch to employees. She started a garden container competition between departments. And she puts on presentations in collaboration with other dietitians and interns for employees with diabetes and other health concerns. If you are a creative and autonomous worker who likes to think up new ideas and implement them, then this may be the job for you! This job tends to pay better than clinical positions in a hospital.


Internships Available:

California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo

Internship - 10 months

Emphasis: Wellness Promotion

University of Florida

Graduate degree + Internship; 25 months

Emphasis: Education and Wellness

California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo

Internship - 10 months

Emphasis: Wellness Promotion

McNeese State University

Graduate degree + Internship; 18 months

Emphasis: Nutrition Therapy, Health Promotion

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Graduate degree (online) + Internship; 27 months

OR Internship only - 11 months

Emphasis: Health Promotion


Wellness Workdays

Internship: 8 months (full time) and 11 months (part time)

Emphasis: Communications, Sports Nutrition, Work Site Wellness

Distance option: Can choose own preceptors


List of all internships



INPATIENT CLINICAL DIETITIAN


The hospital dietitian can work on all floors or on specific floors and see specific patient populations of: cardiovascular disease, COPD, diabetes 1 & 2, pediatrics, gastrointestinal, enteral nutrition, and more. The acute care dietitian focuses on seeing the patients on his or her floor/s quickly, prioritizes nutrition problems to address, and refers patients to outpatient dietitians as needed (which is hopefully often!)


Here I am during my inpatient clinical rotation as a dietetic intern/grad student. This picture was taken in a simulation lab where my classmates and I were practicing the nutrition-focused physical exam.

Internships available:

Cox College

Graduate degree + Internship: 22 months (includes summer of staff relief)

OR Internship only: 11 months

Emphasis: Nutrition Diagnostics (Medical Nutrition Therapy & Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam)


Several different Veteran Affairs hospitals offers internships that take place in the inpatient setting and include a stipend!


See list of internships with emphasis in Medical Nutrition Therapy.



COMMUNITY NUTRITION


Community nutrition include the promotion of health and wellbeing at the community level. The dietitian in this setting has an important role in health promotion. Inpatient and outpatient dietitians often only see a certain number of patients/clients for a short amount of time. The community dietitian provides nutrition education and supportive services to enhance healthy lifestyle choices. The government provides a program for Women, Infants, and Children, also known as WIC, to promote optimal nutritional health to pregnant or breastfeeding women, babies, and children up to 5 years old. They can provide supplemental food (i.e. formula, milk, beans, fruits, vegetables, cereal), nutrition education, and are often first in line to address any nutritional concerns such as anemia, undernutrition, or overnutrition. The community dietitian can also work for local extension programs which provide nutrition education to various groups including schools, gardeners, and rural areas.


Internship available:

New Mexico State University

Graduate degree (MS) + Internship: 24 months

Emphasis: Community Nutrition in the Cooperative Extension Service

Queens College - CUNY

Internship: 10 months

Emphasis: Community Nutrition


List of all internships


FOOD SYSTEM MANAGEMENT


Food system management dietitians oversee food systems such as in hospitals and schools. Their job title is often "Director of Food and Nutrition" or something similar. Even though directors often oversee the system, hiring employees as needed, and provide innovative problem solving, the best kind of management is involved in the production and their employees know them by name.


Here my professor (in blue) is involved in my learning on how to prepare food and serve people in a timely manner and with food safety in mind.

Internships Available:

Western Michigan University

Internship: 10 months

Emphasis: Sustainable Food System

Montana State University - Bozeman

Internship: length unspecified

Emphasis: Sustainable Food System

University of New Hampshire

Graduate degree (MS) + Internship: 21 months

Emphasis: Health Promotion, Sustainable Food System


Prairie View A&M University

Internship: 10 months

Emphasis: School Food System Management


List of all internships



GROCERY STORE


Working in a grocery store was the first job I ever had. So during my internship rotation at Hy-Vee, I got to see how comfortable I was in that environment from my work experiences. If you are a student and wondering if retail dietetics is right for you, get a summer job at a grocery store and see how it feels. Being a grocery store dietitian is an independent role that conducts community nutrition classes for adults and/or kids, grocery store tours on healthy choices to make while shopping, and the promotion of nutritious choices of certain marketable produce and brands.


Retail dietitians provide cooking demonstrations to customers.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY


A newer aspect of dietetics involves software and ability to speak information technology. Can you be a trailblazer for the dietetic community? With these marketable skills, help design great software systems for dietitians and food management systems to use!

Check out Health Informatics Dietitian, Tamara Melton, MS, RDN, CPHIMS on youtube by Kim Rose Dietitian.

Internship Available:

University of Maryland College Park

Internship: 11 months

Emphasis: Communication & Information Technology Management



CERTIFIED DIABETES EDUCATOR


Whether you are certified as a diabetes educator or not, it is very likely some of your patients will have diabetes.


Fortunately for the field of dietetics, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) keeps up to date on latest practices for healthcare professionals. In January 2019, the ADA recognizes the low-carbohydrate diet as a viable option of Medical Nutrition Therapy for the type II diabetic - actually recognizing the root pathology of insulin-resistance!


Internship Available:

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Internship: 10 months

Emphasis: Diabetes

Cedar Crest College

Internship: 10 months (full time) and 16 months (part time)

Emphasis: Community Nutrition, Diabetes

Distance option available: can choose own preceptors



ENTREPRENEUR


One thing is for sure, the field of dietetics is in need for trailblazers. And in the 21st century with the newest inventions of technology and internet, the potential for a nutrition entrepreneur is limitless! From monetizing a website to seeing your own clients in an outpatient setting to health coaching to collaborating with doctors to promote the nutritional health of patients - entrepreneurship could be for you. It requires innate skills of self-motivation and creative problem solving.


Internship available:

Gulf Coast, Mississippi

Internship: 8 months

Emphasis: Entrepreneurship

Fontbonne University - Missouri

Graduate degree (MA) + Internship: 19 months

Emphasis: Public Policy, Health Promotion (blog writing)

College of St Elizabeth - New Jersey

Graduate degree (MS) + Internship: 24 months

Emphasis: Community Nutrition, Public Health, Entrepreneurship


Brooklyn College

Internship: 9 months

Emphasis: Independent Practice



PROFESSOR


If you like academics, why not get a masters and/or a PhD? A PhD in Nutrition is not that common and universities are looking to hire! And a graduate degree can qualify to teach nutrition at a community college.


Internship available:

University of North Carolina - Greensboro

Internship: 12 months (full time) and 16 months (part time)

Emphasis: Professional Engagement, Teaching in Nutrition & Dietetics

Graduate and PhD degrees and teaching certificate available

Funding available to attend FNCE



OUTPATIENT DIETITIAN


An outpatient dietitian is similar to an inpatient dietitian in that they are skilled in medical nutrition therapy, but outpatient dietitians are privileged in that they get to spend more time with patients/clients, set meaningful nutrition goals, and follow up to monitor and encourage progress. The outpatient dietitian can build relationships with doctors in their healthcare network and encourage them to refer their patients to you for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders, and anything else that can be labeled as a nutrition concern.


Internship available:

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Internship: 12 months

Emphasis: Community Health, Nutrition Education

Brooklyn College

Internship: 9 months

Emphasis: Independent Practice

Ohio State University

Graduate degree (MS) + Internship: 23 months

Emphasis: Medical Nutrition Therapy, Sports Nutrition

OR Internship only: 10 months (full time) and 17 months (part time)

Emphasis: Personalized Nutrition and Counseling


Lamar University - Texas

Internship: 11 months

Emphasis: Nutrition Education and Counseling

Graduate degree available



MILITARY DIETITIAN


A dietitian could make a nice living and earn a fair retirement working for the U.S. Army. Dietitians promote optimal nutritional health for military personnel and their family members. They also help provide direction for the food systems within the military.


Read more about Commissary Dietitian here.


Internship available:

U.S. Army - Texas

Graduate degree (MS) + Internship: 12 months

Emphasis: Military Skills

Substantial stipend: 100% tuition paid and salary

See list of internships with emphasis in Medical Nutrition Therapy

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