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Licensed Nutritionist vs. Registered Dietitian: Evaluating Roles


Editor’s Observe: This publish was revealed in November 2019 and has lately been up to date and revised for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

Though nutrition-related profession titles could sound comparable, they are often very completely different in the case of instructional necessities, job duties, and typical workplaces. 

The 2 commonest designations within the discipline are licensed nutritionist and registered dietician. There are some apparent factors of overlap, corresponding to offering recommendation on meals and vitamin, however in different methods, every is a definite profession path. Let’s take a look at licensed nutritionist vs. registered dietitian.

What’s a Registered Dietitian? 

A registered dietitian (RD) is identical as a more moderen designation known as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). The Academy of Diet and Dietetics’ Board of Administrators created the newer title as a technique to additional improve alternatives for RDNs. 

Both method, the function requires a bachelor’s diploma from a university or college, with coursework that sometimes consists of meals and vitamin sciences, foodservice programs administration, enterprise, economics, pc science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, and chemistry. RDs and RDNs should additionally full an accredited, supervised observe program at a well being care facility, foodservice company, or group company. 

In any case necessities are met for licensure, a lot of job alternatives turn out to be accessible. These could embody explaining vitamin to particular person shoppers or teams, creating meal plans, selling vitamin via public talking, and placing collectively group outreach packages. Some RDs and RDNs select to pursue extra schooling so as to turn out to be researchers or professors. 

As they proceed within the occupation, some RDs and RDNs pursue certifications in specialised areas of observe, corresponding to pediatric vitamin, diabetes schooling, or senior vitamin. 

Irrespective of which path they observe, RDs and RDNs should renew their credentials each 5 years and apply for certification primarily based on their state’s legal guidelines. 

What’s a Licensed Nutritionist? 

Those that merely need to present dietary counseling could need to contemplate the choice of changing into a Licensed Nutritionist, also called a Licensed Diet Marketing consultant. 

This function requires completion of a vitamin certification program or collection of certification packages, often with the prerequisite of getting a highschool diploma, GED, or worldwide equal. This could usually be executed in six months or much less. In the sort of program, you’ll examine subjects just like the ideas of vitality steadiness, macro and micro vitamins, the connection between vitamin and bodily health, the usage of analysis in creating dietary plans, and the identification of behaviors that will have an effect on particular person shoppers. 

After the coursework is full, a lot of job alternatives turn out to be accessible— from being self-employed as a dietary and wellness marketing consultant to working for meals complement distributors, company wellness facilities, weight reduction facilities, well being meals and vitamin retail shops, well being and wellness publications, colleges, or group packages. 

This certification means that you can give educated dietary steering which may embody creating dietary plans for particular person shoppers, creating workshops that may be introduced at colleges or firms, and offering help to teams with particular targets like weight reduction or illness administration.  

Basically, each the licensed nutritionist and the registered dietician help folks with their vitamin and wellness wants. However the paths to get to these roles differ, and which one to take is a matter of non-public selection. 

Change into a Dietitian: Are There Programs On-line?  

The coaching wanted to turn out to be a registered dietitian within the US is as follows:  

  • Full a bachelor’s diploma in vitamin or a associated discipline from an accredited faculty or college. 
  • Full an accredited dietetics program, which incorporates coursework in meals and vitamin sciences, medical vitamin remedy, foodservice programs administration, and group vitamin. 
  • Full a supervised observe program, which features a minimal of 1200 hours of supervised observe in areas corresponding to scientific vitamin, group vitamin, and foodservice administration. 
  • Go the nationwide registration examination for dietitians administered by the Fee on Dietetic Registration (CDR). 
  • Receive any state-specific licenses or certifications required to observe as a dietitian within the state the place you intend to work. 
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It is vital to notice that the precise necessities for changing into a dietitian could fluctuate relying on the state the place you intend to observe, so it is a good suggestion to analysis the necessities earlier than starting your schooling and coaching. Moreover, it could be useful to hunt steering from knowledgeable group for dietitians, such because the Academy of Diet and Dietetics, to make sure that you’re following the suitable steps to turn out to be a registered dietitian. 

Licensed Diet Specialist: On-line Diet Programs 

 AFPA has quite a few vitamin certifications for numerous areas of specialty, which might all be accomplished on-line and in your personal time.  

Considered one of our hottest programs is the Holistic Nutritionist Certification. This course comprises details about all the things from meals and vitamin science to teaching methodologies. AFPA additionally provides the next certifications:  

You’ll be able to try all of AFPA’s programs right here. 


Dietitian vs. Licensed Nutritionist: Diploma and Careers Comparability 

Dietitians and licensed nutritionists are each professionals who work within the discipline of vitamin and wellness, however there are some key variations between the 2 when it comes to schooling, coaching, and profession paths. Here’s a comparability of dietitians and licensed nutritionists: 

Training and Coaching: 

  • Dietitians sometimes maintain a bachelor’s diploma in dietetics, vitamin, or a associated discipline, and should full an accredited dietetics program, a supervised observe program, and go a nationwide registration examination so as to turn out to be a registered dietitian. 
  • Licensed nutritionists may maintain a bachelor’s diploma in vitamin, dietetics, or a associated discipline, however certification necessities fluctuate by state. Some states could require certification via a state licensing board or different group, whereas others could not require certification in any respect. 

Scope of Apply: 

  • Dietitians are educated to work in a wide range of settings, together with hospitals, clinics, colleges, and long-term care services, and are certified to offer medical vitamin remedy to sufferers with complicated medical situations. 
  • Licensed nutritionists could present vitamin counseling and schooling to shoppers, however their scope of observe is extra restricted than that of a registered dietitian. 

Profession Alternatives: 

  • Dietitians may go in a wide range of roles, together with working as scientific dietitians, meals service managers, group nutritionists, and analysis dietitians. 
  • Licensed nutritionists may go as vitamin consultants, wellness coaches, or vitamin educators, amongst different roles. 

In abstract, whereas each dietitians and licensed nutritionists work within the discipline of vitamin and wellness, dietitians sometimes have extra intensive schooling and coaching and a broader scope of observe. Then again, licensed nutritionists have ample alternative to both begin a enterprise or work for a variety of well being and wellness organizations.  

What Does a Licensed Nutritionist Do? 

A licensed nutritionist is a healthcare skilled who specializes within the examine of vitamin, eating regimen, and the connection between meals and well being. Some packages embody utilized well being habits change idea so as to have the ability to present extra teaching providers. Coaches work with people or teams to assist them make higher meals selections, develop wholesome consuming habits, and obtain particular well being targets. 

Listed here are a few of the particular duties {that a} nutritionist may carry out: 

  • Assessing dietary wants: A nutritionist may conduct an in depth evaluation of a person’s eating regimen and life-style to find out their dietary wants and establish any areas the place they might be missing vital vitamins. Observe that vitamin coaches and licensed nutritionists can not diagnose or deal with situations, and in lots of states, they can not advocate dietary supplements or medical dietary remedy of situations.  
  • Offering vitamin schooling and training: Nutritionists educate people concerning the function of varied vitamins within the physique, how one can learn meals labels, and how one can make wholesome selections when eating out. They will additionally use habits change strategies to help shoppers in adopting a wholesome relationship with meals.  
  • Analysis: Nutritionists may additionally conduct analysis to raised perceive the connection between eating regimen and well being, and to develop new approaches to bettering vitamin and well being outcomes. 
  • Collaborating with different healthcare professionals: Nutritionists usually work as a part of a healthcare group, collaborating with physicians, nurses, and different healthcare professionals to offer complete care to sufferers. 
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The particular duties {that a} nutritionist performs could fluctuate relying on their space of specialization and the kind of shoppers they work with. Some nutritionists work with people with particular well being situations, corresponding to diabetes or coronary heart illness, whereas others could concentrate on working with athletes to optimize their efficiency via vitamin. 

What’s the Distinction Between a Licensed Nutritionist and a Licensed Nutritionist? 

The phrases “licensed nutritionist” and “licensed nutritionist” can fluctuate in which means relying on the state or nation through which the person is working towards. Nonetheless, generally, listed here are the important thing variations between the 2: 


In some states, the time period “licensed nutritionist” is used to confer with a person who has met particular instructional and coaching necessities and is licensed to observe vitamin. Licensing necessities fluctuate by state however sometimes contain finishing a level in vitamin or a associated discipline, finishing a sure variety of supervised observe hours, and passing an examination. In these states, solely licensed nutritionists are legally allowed to offer vitamin counseling providers. 


“Licensed nutritionist” is a time period that’s usually used to confer with people who’ve accomplished a certification program in vitamin. Certification packages fluctuate of their necessities however usually contain finishing a sure variety of nutrition-related programs and passing an examination. Certification is mostly not required so as to observe as a nutritionist however could be a method for people to show their information and experience within the discipline. 


It is vital to notice that the phrases “licensed nutritionist” and “licensed nutritionist” aren’t standardized and could also be used in another way relying on the precise state or nation through which the person is working towards. It is all the time a good suggestion to analysis the precise {qualifications} and credentials of a nutritionist earlier than looking for their providers. 

What Can a Dietitian Do {That a} Nutritionist Can’t? 

Dietitians and nutritionists share many similarities of their work, as each are educated within the examine of vitamin and may present vitamin counseling to people or teams. Nonetheless, there are just a few key variations between the 2 professions when it comes to their coaching, scope of observe, and authorized necessities. Right here are some things {that a} dietitian can do {that a} nutritionist can not: 

  • Present medical vitamin remedy: Dietitians are educated to offer medical vitamin remedy, which entails creating and implementing personalised vitamin plans for people with particular medical situations. This may increasingly embody creating specialised diets for people with situations corresponding to diabetes, coronary heart illness, or kidney illness, in addition to offering vitamin help for people receiving medical therapies corresponding to chemotherapy. 
  • Work in scientific settings: Dietitians are sometimes employed in scientific settings corresponding to hospitals, nursing properties, and long-term care services, the place they work as a part of a healthcare group to offer vitamin take care of sufferers. 
  • Supervise meals service operations: Dietitians may go in foodservice settings corresponding to colleges, hospitals, and eating places, the place they might be answerable for creating menus, overseeing meals preparation, and making certain that meals is ready in accordance with vitamin and security requirements. 
  • Could require licensure: In lots of states, dietitians are required to be licensed so as to observe. This sometimes entails finishing particular instructional and coaching necessities, passing an examination, and assembly ongoing persevering with schooling necessities. 
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It is value noting that the overall time period “nutritionist” just isn’t a legally protected time period in lots of states, which implies that there aren’t any particular instructional or coaching necessities for people who use this title. Consequently, the {qualifications} and scope of observe of nutritionists could fluctuate extensively, and it is vital for people looking for vitamin counseling to rigorously consider the credentials and {qualifications} of the person they’re working with. 

Dietitian vs. Licensed Nutritionist Profession and Wage Outlook 

Dietitians and nutritionists each work within the discipline of vitamin, however their job duties, instructional necessities, and salaries can differ. 

Dietitians work in a wide range of settings, together with hospitals, clinics, colleges, authorities companies, and personal practices. They supply medical vitamin remedy to handle and stop situations corresponding to diabetes, coronary heart illness, and different continual ailments. The job outlook for dietitians is optimistic, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting an 8% job progress price for the occupation from 2020 to 2030. The median annual wage for dietitians within the US was $63,090 as of Could 2020. 

Licensed nutritionists also can work in a wide range of settings, together with hospitals, colleges, and personal practices, they usually could present vitamin recommendation and counseling to shoppers. Sadly, the BLS doesn’t differentiate the wage of licensed nutritionists from that of licensed nutritionists or dietitians. It’s secure to say, nevertheless, that the wage for licensed nutritionists or coaches can fluctuate considerably inside the discipline. It is because many licensed nutritionists work in a personal observe which offers excessive potential for progress.  

What Jobs Am I Eligible for After Finishing an On-line Diet Certification?  

The forms of jobs you could be eligible for after finishing an internet vitamin certification can fluctuate relying on the precise certification and your earlier schooling and expertise. 

Finishing an internet vitamin certification could aid you achieve information and expertise associated to vitamin and wellness, but it surely might not be enough to qualify you for sure jobs within the vitamin discipline.  

That being stated, some jobs you could be eligible for after finishing an internet vitamin certification embody: 

  • Well being coach: As a well being coach, you could present steering and help to shoppers to assist them obtain their well being targets. This may increasingly embody providing recommendation on vitamin, train, and life-style habits. 
  • Diet educator: On this function, you could educate others concerning the significance of vitamin and how one can make wholesome meals selections. Chances are you’ll work in a wide range of settings, together with colleges, group facilities, and healthcare services. 
  • Wellness marketing consultant: As a wellness marketing consultant, you could present recommendation and suggestions to people or organizations on how one can enhance their total well being and wellbeing. This may increasingly embody providing steering on vitamin, stress administration, and train. 

It is vital to notice that the job alternatives accessible to you could rely in your particular certification, degree of schooling, and expertise.  

Fundamental Takeaways 

On this article, we mentioned the schooling and coaching required to turn out to be a dietitian and licensed nutritionist, in addition to the distinction between a registered dietitian, a licensed nutritionist, and a licensed nutritionist. 

We additionally mentioned the job outlook and median salaries for dietitians and nutritionists, in addition to the forms of jobs which may be accessible after finishing an internet vitamin certification. 

We encourage you to discover the opportunity of acquiring your vitamin certification with AFPA, the place you might have the potential to catapult your skilled profession ahead whereas supporting others’ well being.  



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