Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are food and nutrition experts who have met the following criteria to earn the RDN credential:
- Completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited or approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Completed an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency, or a food service corporation or combined with undergraduate or graduate studies. Typically, a practice program will run six to 12 months in length.
- Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
- Completed continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
- Several states, including Texas, offer a dietitians license.
The UTMB MS/DI program provides an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program, and graduates are eligible to take the national examination upon completion.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dietitians and nutritionists is projected to increase 14 percent from 2016 to 2026. Demand for dietitians and nutritionists come in part from the large number of aging baby boomers, who are looking to stay healthy, and the increasing obese population, who is seeking help in changing diets and lifestyles. U.S. News & World Report reports that in 2017, the median salary for dietitians is $57,910.