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How to get a head start in becoming a dietitian?

Hello, my name is Caitlin and I am going to be a sophomore in college. I just went and enrolled at Kansas state University and when I talked to my advisor she told me that this is a very competitive field. I have gone and job shadowed and I know this is exactly what I want to do. I just need some advice on how to get a head start. I want to be the best at my job. I'm just not sure what kind of things I could be doing now to help me in the future.
Thank you! #nutrition #dietitian #nutritionist #dietetics #diet

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Madeline’s Answer

I noticed during undergrad that many people put such an emphasis on volunteering or trying to get involved any way possible. While this is potentially helpful, I don’t think it is necessary to get matched to a DI program. I had to work all through undergrad (and grad school) to support myself, so I didn’t have time for all the volunteering and bending over backwards to stand out. I made sure to prioritize GPA but still I had no other option but to prioritize paying my bills. I made sure to talk about this on my personal statement when applying for my MS/DI program, and I matched on my first try. Of course I’m sure my GPA (3.7) and reference letters helped, but I truly think my program director was relieved to see that I had YEARS of work experience prior to grad school. Dietetics is an incredibly privileged career path where the students have more time for volunteering and studying HARD to keep their GPA competitive. I was worried that my lack of unpaid labor (volunteering) would prevent me from having the edge I needed when applying for MS/DI. I was proven wrong when I got to my internship. I felt like I was leaps ahead of my peers thanks to my years of balancing work/school. I also received glowing reviews from preceptors, which was further affirmation that my unconventional path had led me to the right place. Truth being told, take it at your own pace and have faith in whatever approach you take. Another word of advice is don’t listen to all the stuff people will try to scare you with. I also noticed a lot of negativity prior to applying for DI like “oh my friend didn’t get matched” or “you need to have X GPA to or you’ll get auto rejected”. People just want to discourage you. Work hard and don’t compare your dietetics path to others, there’s a lot of comparison that goes on.
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Jana’s Answer

Hi Caitlin,

I started late in the nutrition game and ended up becoming a nutritional consultant because I couldn't dedicate the time to becoming a dietician. I think it is amazing that you are on this path! Congrats! I would recommend exploring all of the different fields in nutrition. Most people don't look into plant based nutrition, which is actually a very important part of this industry and can give clients results that other doctors cannot achieve. I have worked with clients who are now cured from heart disease, fatty liver, and leaky gut from taking a plant based approach.

If you can intern with not only dietitians, but also health coaches I think you will get a very good understanding of what is really going on in this industry.

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Stephanie’s Answer

I would suggest that you reach out to those facilities where you interned and stay connected with the individuals that you shadowed: they can provide you with information on upcoming job openings and really give you a realistic idea about the job. As with any career, your goal should be to hone your skills as much as possible, so never stop learning about new advances/philosophies/ trends in the field.
I would also suggest becoming an active member of a few professional organizations within the dietetic field: this is a great way to connect/network with like minded individuals, share best practices, and explore career opportunities. Best of luck to you!
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Marcela’s Answer

Hi, Caitlin.

You already have one of the most important qualities to become a nutritionist, that is being passionate about it, when you want to be the best in what you do, you will not give up regardless of all the obstacles that you may encounter on your path.

There is always a high level of competition in every single profession, not just in nutrition. I strongly believe passion for what you do in life, guarantees success. I encourage you to keep up your attitude towards your career.

Since nutrition has several scopes of knowledge, it would be beneficial for you to attain information about each one so that you can make your decision about which one to pursue and get prepared with additional academic courses. I remember I wanted to work with the community since I began to study, that is why I improved my language skills, learned English, became familiar with technology and took advantage of every communication resource I was able to get.

Keep studying hard, learn as much as you can and do not lose the focus.

Best regards,


Marcela M.
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Melvin’s Answer

Hi Caitlin,
It is great that you want to become a professional in the field of dietetics.
For one to be successful in any field, dedication and constant self improvement is a key factor.
Paid/unpaid internships &/or volunteer work could be a great start.
However in choosing a specialty in the same field I would suggest doing a background check on the most marketable branch of dietetics i.e Epidemiology (If research oriented), public health nutrition, sports nutrition etc.
I hope my answer brings you closer to clarity.

All the best in your future endeavors 🙏.
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Ujunwa Princess’s Answer

Thank you for your question.

I am Glady you want to choose a career path that you desire mostly in life.
Great kudo for you for such a bold step.

I want you to understand, that no matter, how competitive any path of career is ,in life ,that as far as you have determined to be there, you will surely make it in that path of career.

You are one step ahead of failure with the determined heart you have now.

You have to believe in yourself the more. That's building self confidence.

Remember to be a Registered Dietitian, you have to take some Academic steps which are listened below;


 Step 1: Earn an accredited bachelor’s or master’s degree

 Step 2: Complete a dietetic internship

 Step 3: Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam

 Step 4: Obtain a state license

 Step 5: Maintain state license and registration
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hi Caitlin!

CELEBRATING 35 YEARS OF NUTRITION AND DIETETICS IN AUSTRALIA

Embarking on a dietitian's journey is indeed a thrilling challenge, and it's fantastic that you've already taken the bold step to job shadow and affirm your enthusiasm for this rewarding career. To gain an edge in your journey to becoming a dietitian, there are numerous steps you can undertake to enrich your knowledge, skills, and experience. Here are some empowering suggestions:

1. Pursue a Fitting Degree: Given that you're already enrolled at Kansas State University, it's crucial to select a degree program that resonates with your career aspirations. Many successful dietitians possess a Bachelor's degree in nutrition, dietetics, or a similar field. Make sure that your chosen program is endorsed by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

2. Uphold a Stellar Academic Record: As a college sophomore, strive to achieve outstanding grades throughout your academic voyage. A robust academic record will not only showcase your dedication and commitment but also boost your prospects of securing competitive internships or advanced programs down the line.

3. Accumulate Hands-On Experience: Besides your coursework, seize opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the realm of dietetics. This could involve volunteering at local hospitals, clinics, or community centers that provide nutrition services. You might also contemplate part-time work at health food stores or fitness centers where you can engage with individuals passionate about nutrition.

4. Engage with Professional Bodies: Participating in professional bodies such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) can offer valuable networking opportunities and access to resources that will keep you abreast of the latest research and trends in the field. These organizations often provide student memberships and scholarships.

5. Pursue Mentorship: Forge connections with seasoned dietitians who can mentor you throughout your journey. They can offer guidance, advice, and support as you navigate your education and career progression. Consider reaching out to professionals at networking events or by contacting local dietetic associations.

6. Attend Conferences and Workshops: Keep abreast of industry advancements by attending conferences, workshops, and seminars related to nutrition and dietetics. These events offer opportunities to learn from experts, gain fresh insights, and network with professionals in the field.

7. Hone Your Communication Skills: Effective communication is a vital skill for dietitians. Enroll in courses or workshops that focus on communication skills, public speaking, and writing. These skills will be indispensable when working with clients, delivering presentations, or authoring research papers.

8. Keep Abreast with Research: Nutrition science is a dynamic field, so it's crucial to stay informed with the latest research and evidence-based practices. Follow esteemed nutrition journals, peruse scientific articles, and delve into online databases to augment your knowledge base.

9. Explore Specializations: As you advance in your education, consider specializing in a specific area of dietetics that piques your interest. This could encompass sports nutrition, pediatric nutrition, clinical nutrition, or public health nutrition. Specializing can help you distinguish yourself in the job market and offer expertise in a particular field.

10. Prepare for the Registered Dietitian Exam: After completing your degree program and an accredited internship, you'll need to pass the Registered Dietitian Exam to become a licensed dietitian. Get acquainted with the exam requirements early on so you can tailor your coursework and internship accordingly.

Remember, becoming a successful dietitian demands dedication, continuous learning, and practical experience. By adhering to these steps and staying proactive in your education and career development, you'll be well on your path to realizing your dream.

Top 3 Authoritative Reference Publications/Domain Names:

1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.eatright.org)
2. Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (www.eatrightpro.org/acend)
3. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.jandonline.org)
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