Certificate in medical dietetics
A dietitian (or dietician) is an expert in dietetics; that is, human nutrition and the regulation of diet. A dietitian alters their patient's nutrition based upon their medical condition and individual needs. Dietitians are the only healthcare professionals licensed to assess, diagnose, and treat nutritional problems. For example, safely regulating the diet of a patient with Crohn's disease is out of medical doctors' scope of expertise, thus a dietitian must be called to permit any changes based upon their knowledge of nutritional biochemistry. Dietitians work in a variety of settings from clinical to community and public policy to media communications.
A registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), is a dietitian who meets all of a set of special academic and professional requirements, including:
the completion of a bachelor's degree with an accredited nutrition curriculum
satisfactory performance on the registration exam
an internship at an approved health-care facility, foodservice organization, or community agency
Roughly half of all RDNs hold graduate degrees and many have certifications in specialized fields such as sports, pediatrics, renal, oncological, food-allergy, or gerontological nutrition. After learning about a patient's health history, favorite foods, eating and exercise habits, the RD helps the person to set goals and to prioritize. Follow-up visits often focus on maintenance and monitoring progress.
Most RDs work in the treatment and prevention of disease (administering medical nutrition therapy, as part of medical teams), often in hospitals, health-maintenance organizations, private practices, or other health-care facilities. In addition, a large number of registered dietitians work in community and public-health settings, and/or in academia and research. A growing number of dietitians work in the food industry, journalism, sports nutrition, corporate wellness programs, and other non-traditional dietetics settings.