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What type of degrees and work experience do you need to become a nutritionist for a D1 college or Pro sports team ?

My dream is to be a sports nutritionist and I was wondering what kind of degrees and work experiences do you need to become that. Also internships? What colleges are the best for to be a sports nutritionist?

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Danielle’s Answer

You need to go through a program to become a Registered Dietitian. Find an accredited program in dietetics (most state schools, especially land grant universities will have a program). Now a master’s degree is required and just like always, a dietetic internship must be completed in order to sit for your credentials (RD or RDN, they are the same). Many schools now integrate the bachelors and masters degrees for dietetics. The degree itself is a general dietetics degree and once you obtain your credentials to practice, RDs then specialize in an area such as sports nutrition. Many might take jobs during college to help the team RD and gain experience. I went to Purdue and there were opportunities to work with the various sports teams.
Additionally on of my professors was the sports RD for athletes. This is one of my colleagues at Purdue: https://youtu.be/KiucWDIfhQk
Thank you comment icon Hey Danielle, it looks like you accidentally linked to a Chewy ad. I love doggos but I think you meant to post a link to your colleague. Gurpreet Lally, Admin
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DAVID’s Answer

to become a nutritionist for a sport team one need to read dietetic at the university level .
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Danielle’s Answer

The journey to becoming a sports dietitian is indeed an exciting one, filled with learning and discovery. Let's delve into the basics.

Firstly, it's important to differentiate between a nutritionist and a dietitian. While anyone can claim to be a nutritionist, a dietitian is a title that comes with rigorous education and training. As a registered dietitian myself, I can assure you that the field of sports nutrition is a fascinating one to explore.

Starting off, you'll need a bachelor's degree, preferably in dietetics. This will involve a variety of subjects, from chemistry and anatomy to psychology and statistics, along with a range of nutrition classes, some even focusing on sports.

Programs appreciate students who bring more to the table than just academics. Volunteer work, experience in nutrition, and other relevant experiences are highly valued. Different programs prioritize different criteria, so while some might emphasize grades, others might focus on the interview process.

The journey may seem a bit daunting as it involves obtaining a master's degree and completing an unpaid internship. But remember, the path to success is often paved with challenges. Different programs offer different specializations; mine was corporate wellness, but others include clinical or sports nutrition.

During your program, you'll have the opportunity to learn from dietitians in various rotations. Some of my peers had the chance to work with renowned sports teams like the Denver Broncos or the Minnesota Vikings. They engaged with players, understanding their food preferences and educating them to enhance their performance. They also prepared meals and snacks, taking into account individual preferences and medical conditions.

To help you navigate through this journey, I'm sharing a guide that lists different internships, their costs, and various concentrations like sports nutrition. Here's the link: https://college.agrilife.org/nfs/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2018/10/Applicant-Guide-to-Supervised-Practice-2018-2019-final.pdf

I personally opted for a distance program, which required me to secure my own rotations. This, however, allowed me to explore areas that truly interested me.

After graduating from the internship, you'll need to pass an exam to officially become a dietitian. It's a process that requires dedication and hard work, but the rewards are well worth it. If you have more questions or need further clarification, feel free to ask. Remember, every step you take brings you closer to your dream of becoming a sports dietitian.
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