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Dietitians and Nutritionists Career

Career Description

Plan and conduct food service or nutritional programs to assist in the promotion of health and control of disease. May supervise activities of a department providing quantity food services, counsel individuals, or conduct nutritional research.

What Job Titles Dietitians and Nutritionists Might Have

  • Clinical Dietitian
  • Dietitian
  • Nutritionist
  • Registered Dietitian

What Dietitians and Nutritionists Do

  • Monitor food service operations to ensure conformance to nutritional, safety, sanitation and quality standards.
  • Assess nutritional needs, diet restrictions and current health plans to develop and implement dietary-care plans and provide nutritional counseling.
  • Advise patients and their families on nutritional principles, dietary plans and diet modifications, and food selection and preparation.
  • Counsel individuals and groups on basic rules of good nutrition, healthy eating habits, and nutrition monitoring to improve their quality of life.
  • Consult with physicians and health care personnel to determine nutritional needs and diet restrictions of patient or client.
  • Plan, conduct, and evaluate dietary, nutritional, and epidemiological research.
  • Write research reports and other publications to document and communicate research findings.
  • Purchase food in accordance with health and safety codes.
  • Manage quantity food service departments or clinical and community nutrition services.
  • Coordinate diet counseling services.
  • Make recommendations regarding public policy, such as nutrition labeling, food fortification, and nutrition standards for school programs.
  • Inspect meals served for conformance to prescribed diets and standards of palatability and appearance.
  • Select, train and supervise workers who plan, prepare and serve meals.
  • Organize, develop, analyze, test, and prepare special meals such as low-fat, low-cholesterol and chemical-free meals.
  • Prepare and administer budgets for food, equipment and supplies.
  • Plan and prepare grant proposals to request program funding.
  • Develop curriculum and prepare manuals, visual aids, course outlines, and other materials used in teaching.
  • Advise food service managers and organizations on sanitation, safety procedures, menu development, budgeting, and planning to assist with the establishment, operation, and evaluation of food service facilities and nutrition programs.
  • Plan and conduct training programs in dietetics, nutrition, and institutional management and administration for medical students, health-care personnel and the general public.
  • Develop policies for food service or nutritional programs to assist in health promotion and disease control.
  • Coordinate recipe development and standardization and develop new menus for independent food service operations.
  • Confer with design, building, and equipment personnel to plan for construction and remodeling of food service units.

What Dietitians and Nutritionists Should Be Good At

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

What Dietitians and Nutritionists Should Be Interested In

  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

What Dietitians and Nutritionists Need to Learn

  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Sun iconThis career has a bright outlook.
Diploma iconThis career requires a graduate degree.
Median Salary: $58,920

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.