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Can you become a dietitian by going to a liberal arts college? What are the most important majors to study?

#liberalartscollege #dietitian #nutritionist

I want to attend a 4-year liberal arts college and they typically include majors such as biology, biochemistry, and psychology. If I want to become a dietitian, would this be the right route to take?


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Cynthia’s Answer

to become a registered dietician requires very very specific courses and internships. if you know this is a path you want, i would seek out a university that has a major in nutrition AND specifically says it has advising/ preparation/internships for the RD path...call and ask if you do not see this mentioned on the nutrition/food science major webpages. you can always change OUT of a major...but it's not possible to get into a career specific major that is not even offered by a university. (accounting, teaching, speech therapy, are all simliar....very detailed and specific requirements at the bachelor's degree level)...go to the national association for registered dieticians and see what schools offer accredited majors and what advice they give for preparing for this field....coursework from a non-accreditated school might not be acceptable when you go to test and apply for this credential.

Thank you for the helpful advice! Rachel C.

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Ashley’s Answer

Hello Rachel,

Although, I have yet to become a registered dietitian (RD), I have to complete my internship in step 2 below, I highly recommend the field!! I completed my BS in Dietetics at a large university, at the time not many smaller universities or colleges were offering programs. You will, as Cynthia stated, need to find a University or College that offers a BS in Dietetics. This is a very specific requirement, because without it, you will not be able to complete the required internship to sit for the exam. Here are the step to becoming a RD.

1. Graduate with BS in Dietetics, usually referred to a Didactic Program (Things to consider: High GPA is favored, but varied work and volunteer experience is a big plus)
2. Complete a Master Degree and Internship
3. Take RD Exam

Additional advice I would share is that when it comes time for your internship/master degree, it can be very competitive. Make sure you do your best to put yourself out there, apply to be the TA for the class or the research assistant on a Doctoral Student's program. Those things will go far and help you to stand out among your fellow nutrition students!


See the below links for more information:

https://www.nutritioned.org/registered-dietitian-new-york.html

https://www.cdrnet.org/graduatedegree

Thank you so much for the information! Rachel C.

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Lisa’s Answer

An additional note - If you are able, you want to complete an internship that is approved by AND (Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics). When you complete this internship you qualify to take the Registered Dietitian (RD) exam. Passing this exam will enlarge your opportunities in the field greatly. It will enable you to work anywhere as an RD vs. limited options without it. It is worth the extra 6mos-1 year to do this. Many times RDs are hired from those internships. The only exception that I know of would be Renal (dialysis) RD which requires 1 year of clinical experience before you can work in that specialized field.

Thank you, this is very helpful information! Rachel C.

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Lisa’s Answer

It's important that you plan ahead. If you know the college/s you want to go to then you would need to get their book of courses and see what their requirements are. You could waste time taking classes that won't translate to their programs. I went to several colleges before deciding to become an RD. When I made that decision, to save money, I went to City college first and took every class I knew would be accepted by the colleges I was applying to. This saved me a great deal of money. If you can get into a city college with an RD program that would be ideal especially if it is your first degree and they offer free tuition. I hope this helps.

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