What is a Dietitian?
A registered dietitian (RD) is the most credible source of nutrition information and is known as the "nutrition expert." RDs must meet professional and educational requirements including the following:
- Bachelor's degree with coursework approved by the American Dietetic Association
- Complete an accredited supervised practice program
- Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration
- Complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration
How is a registered dietitian (RD) different than a nutritionist?
The "RD" credential is a legally protected title that can only be used by practitioners who are authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association.
Some RDs may call themselves "nutritionists," but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The definition and requirements for the term "nutritionist" vary. Some states have licensure laws that define the range of practice for someone using the designation "nutritionist," but in other states, virtually anyone can call him- or herself a "nutritionist" regardless of education or training.
Individuals with the RD credential have fulfilled specific requirements, including having earned at least a bachelor's degree (about half of RDs hold advanced degrees), completed a supervised practice program and passed a registration examination - in addition to maintaining continuing education requirements for recertification.
Source: American Dietetic Association