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Licensed Nutritionist vs. Registered Dietitian: Evaluating Roles

Editor’s Observe: This submit was printed in November 2019 and has not too long ago been up to date and revised for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

Though nutrition-related profession titles might sound related, they are often very completely different on the subject of instructional necessities, job duties, and typical workplaces. 

The 2 commonest designations within the subject are licensed nutritionist and registered dietician. There are some apparent factors of overlap, comparable 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 similar as a more moderen designation known as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). The Academy of Vitamin and Dietetics’ Board of Administrators created the newer title as a strategy to additional improve alternatives for RDNs. 

Both method, the position requires a bachelor’s diploma from a school or college, with coursework that usually contains meals and vitamin sciences, foodservice methods administration, enterprise, economics, laptop science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, and chemistry. RDs and RDNs should additionally full an accredited, supervised apply program at a well being care facility, foodservice company, or group company. 

In any case necessities are met for licensure, a variety of job alternatives turn into accessible. These might embrace explaining vitamin to particular person purchasers 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 into researchers or professors. 

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

Regardless of which path they comply with, 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 wish to present dietary counseling might wish to take into account the choice of changing into a Licensed Nutritionist, also called a Licensed Vitamin Marketing consultant. 

This position requires completion of a vitamin certification program or sequence of certification packages, often with the prerequisite of getting a highschool diploma, GED, or worldwide equal. This could usually be completed in six months or much less. In the sort of program, you’ll research matters just like the rules of vitality stability, macro and micro vitamins, the connection between vitamin and bodily health, the usage of analysis in creating dietary plans, and the identification of behaviors which will have an effect on particular person purchasers. 

After the coursework is full, a variety of job alternatives turn into 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 permits you to give educated dietary steerage that may embrace creating dietary plans for particular person purchasers, creating workshops that may be offered at colleges or corporations, and offering help to teams with particular targets like weight reduction or illness administration.  

On the whole, each the licensed nutritionist and the registered dietician help individuals with their vitamin and wellness wants. However the paths to get to these roles differ, and which one to take is a matter of private alternative. 

How you can Turn into a Dietitian: Are There Programs On-line?  

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

  • Full a bachelor’s diploma in vitamin or a associated subject from an accredited school or college. 
  • Full an accredited dietetics program, which incorporates coursework in meals and vitamin sciences, medical vitamin remedy, foodservice methods administration, and group vitamin. 
  • Full a supervised apply program, which features a minimal of 1200 hours of supervised apply in areas comparable to scientific vitamin, group vitamin, and foodservice administration. 
  • Go the nationwide registration examination for dietitians administered by the Fee on Dietetic Registration (CDR). 
  • Get hold of any state-specific licenses or certifications required to apply as a dietitian within the state the place you intend to work. 

It is essential to notice that the particular necessities for changing into a dietitian might differ relying on the state the place you intend to apply, so it is a good suggestion to analysis the necessities earlier than starting your schooling and coaching. Moreover, it could be useful to hunt steerage from knowledgeable group for dietitians, such because the Academy of Vitamin and Dietetics, to make sure that you’re following the suitable steps to turn into a registered dietitian. 

Licensed Vitamin Specialist: On-line Vitamin Programs 

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

One in every of our hottest programs is the Holistic Nutritionist Certification. This course accommodates details about every part from meals and vitamin science to teaching methodologies. AFPA additionally gives the next certifications:  

You’ll be able to take a look at all of AFPA’s programs right here. 


Dietitian vs. Licensed Nutritionist: Diploma and Careers Comparability 

Dietitians and authorized nutritionists are each professionals who work within the subject 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 authorized nutritionists: 

Training and Coaching: 

  • Dietitians usually maintain a bachelor’s diploma in dietetics, vitamin, or a associated subject, and should full an accredited dietetics program, a supervised apply program, and cross a nationwide registration examination so as to turn into a registered dietitian. 
  • Licensed nutritionists would possibly maintain a bachelor’s diploma in vitamin, dietetics, or a associated subject, however certification necessities differ by state. Some states might require certification via a state licensing board or different group, whereas others might not require certification in any respect. 

Scope of Apply: 

  • Dietitians are skilled 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 advanced medical situations. 
  • Licensed nutritionists might present vitamin counseling and schooling to purchasers, however their scope of apply is extra restricted than that of a registered dietitian. 

Profession Alternatives: 

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

In abstract, whereas each dietitians and authorized nutritionists work within the subject of vitamin and wellness, dietitians usually have extra in depth schooling and coaching and a broader scope of apply. 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? 

An authorized nutritionist is a healthcare skilled who specializes within the research of vitamin, eating regimen, and the connection between meals and well being. Some packages embrace utilized well being conduct change principle 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 below are a number of the particular duties {that a} nutritionist would possibly carry out: 

  • Assessing dietary wants: A nutritionist would possibly conduct an in depth evaluation of a person’s eating regimen and way of life to find out their dietary wants and determine any areas the place they might be missing essential vitamins. Observe that vitamin coaches and authorized nutritionists can’t diagnose or deal with situations, and in lots of states, they can’t suggest dietary supplements or medical dietary remedy of situations.  
  • Offering vitamin schooling and training: Nutritionists educate people concerning the position of varied vitamins within the physique, how you can learn meals labels, and how you can make wholesome selections when eating out. They will additionally use conduct change strategies to help purchasers in adopting a wholesome relationship with meals.  
  • Analysis: Nutritionists might also conduct analysis to higher perceive the connection between eating regimen and well being, and to develop new approaches to enhancing vitamin and well being outcomes. 
  • Collaborating with different healthcare professionals: Nutritionists usually work as a part of a healthcare crew, collaborating with physicians, nurses, and different healthcare professionals to offer complete care to sufferers. 

The precise duties {that a} nutritionist performs might differ relying on their space of specialization and the kind of purchasers they work with. Some nutritionists work with people with particular well being situations, comparable to diabetes or coronary heart illness, whereas others might deal with 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 differ in which means relying on the state or nation through which the person is working towards. Nonetheless, typically, listed here are the important thing variations between the 2: 


In some states, the time period “licensed nutritionist” is used to discuss with a person who has met particular instructional and coaching necessities and is licensed to apply vitamin. Licensing necessities differ by state however usually contain finishing a level in vitamin or a associated subject, finishing a sure variety of supervised apply 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 discuss with people who’ve accomplished a certification program in vitamin. Certification packages differ of their necessities however usually contain finishing a sure variety of nutrition-related programs and passing an examination. Certification is usually not required so as to apply as a nutritionist however generally is a method for people to show their data and experience within the subject. 


It is essential to notice that the phrases “licensed nutritionist” and “licensed nutritionist” should not standardized and could also be used otherwise relying on the particular state or nation through which the person is working towards. It is all the time a good suggestion to analysis the particular {qualifications} and credentials of a nutritionist earlier than looking for their providers. 

What Can a Dietitian Do {That a} Nutritionist Can not? 

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

  • Present medical vitamin remedy: Dietitians are skilled to offer medical vitamin remedy, which includes creating and implementing customized vitamin plans for people with particular medical situations. This will embrace creating specialised diets for people with situations comparable to diabetes, coronary heart illness, or kidney illness, in addition to offering vitamin help for people receiving medical remedies comparable to chemotherapy. 
  • Work in scientific settings: Dietitians are sometimes employed in scientific settings comparable to hospitals, nursing houses, and long-term care services, the place they work as a part of a healthcare crew to offer vitamin take care of sufferers. 
  • Supervise meals service operations: Dietitians may match in foodservice settings comparable to colleges, hospitals, and eating places, the place they might be chargeable for creating menus, overseeing meals preparation, and guaranteeing that meals is ready in accordance with vitamin and security requirements. 
  • Might require licensure: In lots of states, dietitians are required to be licensed so as to apply. This usually includes finishing particular instructional and coaching necessities, passing an examination, and assembly ongoing persevering with schooling necessities. 

It is value noting that the overall time period “nutritionist” isn’t a legally protected time period in lots of states, which signifies that there aren’t any particular instructional or coaching necessities for people who use this title. In consequence, the {qualifications} and scope of apply of nutritionists might differ broadly, and it is essential 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 subject 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 businesses, and personal practices. They supply medical vitamin remedy to handle and forestall situations comparable to diabetes, coronary heart illness, and different continual ailments. The job outlook for dietitians is constructive, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting an 8% job development charge for the occupation from 2020 to 2030. The median annual wage for dietitians within the US was $63,090 as of Might 2020. 

Licensed nutritionists may work in a wide range of settings, together with hospitals, colleges, and personal practices, they usually might present vitamin recommendation and counseling to purchasers. Sadly, the BLS doesn’t differentiate the wage of licensed nutritionists from that of licensed nutritionists or dietitians. It’s protected to say, nonetheless, that the wage for licensed nutritionists or coaches can differ considerably inside the subject. It is because many licensed nutritionists work in a personal apply which supplies excessive potential for development.  

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

The kinds of jobs you could be eligible for after finishing a web-based vitamin certification can differ relying on the particular certification and your earlier schooling and expertise. 

Finishing a web-based vitamin certification might assist you to acquire data and abilities associated to vitamin and wellness, nevertheless it might not be enough to qualify you for sure jobs within the vitamin subject.  

That being mentioned, some jobs you could be eligible for after finishing a web-based vitamin certification embrace: 

  • Well being coach: As a well being coach, you could present steerage and help to purchasers to assist them obtain their well being targets. This will embrace providing recommendation on vitamin, train, and way of life habits. 
  • Vitamin educator: On this position, you could train others concerning the significance of vitamin and how you can make wholesome meals selections. It’s possible 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 you can enhance their general well being and wellbeing. This will embrace providing steerage on vitamin, stress administration, and train. 

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

Predominant Takeaways 

On this article, we mentioned the schooling and coaching required to turn into a dietitian and authorized 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 kinds of jobs which may be accessible after finishing a web-based vitamin certification. 

We encourage you to discover the potential 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.  


  1. https://www.cdrnet.org/  
  1. https://www.eatright.org/become-an-rdn-or-ndtr  
  1. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/  

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