How Do I Become a Community Dietitian?

Laura M. Sands
Laura M. Sands
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Woman posing

In order to become a community dietitian you will most likely be required to have a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree in a nutrition-related core subject. People who already have a degree in other health and business subjects, such as nursing, psychology, sociology, economics or business, often continue their education in a health and nutrition-related subject to earn a degree to qualify them to work within this industry. If you are a high school student who is considering this career path, you may want to do well in courses such as health, science, math and biology to prepare yourself to eventually become a community dietitian.

The precise requirements to become a community dietitian often vary depending on where you live and intend to someday work. It is, therefore, important that you take the time to research and determine the rules of the country or region where you reside and intend to work as a dietitian first. In many jurisdictions, you may need to become licensed. In other places, however, you may only need to become certified or may be required to otherwise register with your local government before you can become a community dietitian.

While training to become a community dietitian, you may be required to complete an internship as part of your career education process. Some schools may assist you in locating an internship, while others may require you to find work in a food preparation or nutrition preparation environment, or find work with a clinical dietitian on your own. Dietitians are usually expected to successfully complete an internship for direct experience in the field, and doing so may help you determine whether you’d like to become a community dietitian in a private setting or whether you prefer to practice dietetics in a larger institutional setting, such as a hospital, hospice or school.

Along with the appropriate training, there are other skills and abilities you must have to become a community dietitian. For example, working with clients to assess and improve their dietary intake or dietary modification takes good communication skills, so you must have the ability to get along well with patients as well as other staff members you may work with. The ability to work long hours, often in heated kitchens or around patients with varying illnesses, is also an important quality if you intend to become a community dietitian.

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