Licensed Nutritionist vs. Registered Dietitian: Evaluating Roles

Editor’s Notice: This publish was revealed in November 2019 and has just lately been up to date and revised for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

Though nutrition-related profession titles might sound comparable, they are often very totally different in the case of academic necessities, job duties, and typical workplaces. 

The 2 commonest designations within the area are licensed nutritionist and registered dietician. There are some apparent factors of overlap, similar to offering recommendation on meals and vitamin, however in different methods, every is a definite profession path. Let us take a look at licensed nutritionist vs. registered dietitian.

What’s a Registered Dietitian? 

A registered dietitian (RD) is identical as a more moderen designation known as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). The Academy of Diet and Dietetics’ Board of Administrators created the newer title as a solution to additional improve alternatives for RDNs. 

Both approach, the position requires a bachelor’s diploma from a university or college, with meals and vitamin sciences, foodservice programs administration, enterprise, economics, pc science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, and chemistry. RDs and RDNs should additionally full an accredited, supervised observe program at a well being care facility, foodservice company, or neighborhood company. 

In spite of everything necessities are met for licensure, a lot of job alternatives turn into accessible. These might embody explaining vitamin to particular person purchasers or teams, creating meal plans, selling vitamin by public talking, and placing collectively neighborhood outreach packages. Some RDs and RDNs select to pursue further training with a purpose to turn into researchers or professors. 

As they proceed within the career, some RDs and RDNs pursue certifications in specialised areas of observe, similar to pediatric vitamin, diabetes training, or senior vitamin. 

Regardless of which path they observe, RDs and RDNs should renew their credentials each 5 years and apply for certification based mostly 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, often known as a Licensed Diet Advisor. 

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

After the coursework is full, a lot of job alternatives turn into accessible— from being self-employed as a 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 neighborhood packages. 

This certification lets you give educated dietary steerage which may embody 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 or illness administration.  

Usually, each the licensed nutritionist and the registered dietician help folks 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 selection. 

The right way to Change 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 area from an accredited faculty or college. 
  • Full an accredited dietetics program, which incorporates coursework in meals and vitamin sciences, medical vitamin remedy, foodservice programs administration, and neighborhood vitamin. 
  • Full a supervised observe program, which features a minimal of 1200 hours of supervised observe in areas similar to medical vitamin, neighborhood vitamin, and foodservice administration. 
  • Cross the nationwide registration examination for dietitians administered by the  
  • Receive any state-specific licenses or certifications required to observe as a dietitian within the state the place you intend to work. 

It is necessary to notice that the precise necessities for changing into a dietitian might range relying on the state the place you intend to observe, so it is a good suggestion to analysis the necessities earlier than starting your training and coaching. Moreover, it could be useful to hunt steerage from an expert group for dietitians, such because the Academy of Diet and Dietetics, to make sure that you’re following the suitable steps to turn into a registered dietitian. 

Licensed Diet Specialist: On-line Diet Programs 

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

Certainly one of our hottest programs is the . This course accommodates details about every thing from meals and vitamin science to teaching methodologies. AFPA additionally gives the next certifications:  

You may take a look at all of AFPA’s programs  


Dietitian vs. Licensed Nutritionist: Diploma and Careers Comparability 

Dietitians and authorized nutritionists are each professionals who work within the area of vitamin and wellness, however there are some key variations between the 2 when it comes to training, coaching, and profession paths. Here’s a comparability of dietitians and authorized nutritionists: 

Schooling and Coaching: 

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

Scope of Observe: 

  • Dietitians are skilled to work in quite a lot of settings, together with hospitals, clinics, colleges, and long-term care amenities, and are certified to offer medical vitamin remedy to sufferers with complicated medical situations. 
  • Licensed nutritionists might present vitamin counseling and training to purchasers, however their scope of observe is extra restricted than that of a registered dietitian. 

Profession Alternatives: 

  • Dietitians may match in quite a lot of roles, together with working as medical dietitians, meals service managers, neighborhood 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 area of vitamin and wellness, dietitians usually have extra intensive training and coaching and a broader scope of observe. However, 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? 

A licensed nutritionist is a healthcare skilled who specializes within the research of vitamin, weight-reduction plan, and the connection between meals and well being. Some packages embody utilized well being habits change concept so as to have the ability to present further teaching companies. Coaches work with people or teams to assist them make higher meals decisions, develop wholesome consuming habits, and obtain particular well being targets. 

Listed here are a few 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 weight-reduction plan and way of life to find out their dietary wants and determine any areas the place they might be missing necessary vitamins. Notice that vitamin coaches and authorized nutritionists can not diagnose or deal with situations, and in lots of states, they can not advocate dietary supplements or medical dietary remedy of situations.  
  • Offering vitamin training and training: Nutritionists educate people concerning the position of varied vitamins within the physique, how one can learn meals labels, and how one can make wholesome decisions when eating out. They will additionally use habits change strategies to help purchasers in adopting a wholesome relationship with meals.  
  • Analysis: Nutritionists might also conduct analysis to raised perceive the connection between weight-reduction plan and well being, and to develop new approaches to bettering vitamin and well being outcomes. 
  • Collaborating with different healthcare professionals: Nutritionists typically work as a part of a healthcare workforce, collaborating with physicians, nurses, and different healthcare professionals to offer complete care to sufferers. 

The particular duties {that a} nutritionist performs might range relying on their space of specialization and the kind of purchasers they work with. Some nutritionists work with people with particular well being situations, similar to diabetes or coronary heart illness, whereas others might deal with working with athletes to optimize their efficiency by vitamin. 

What’s the Distinction Between a Licensed Nutritionist and a Licensed Nutritionist? 

The phrases “licensed nutritionist” and “licensed nutritionist” can range in that means relying on the state or nation by which the person is practising. Nevertheless, typically, listed here are the important thing variations between the 2: 


In some states, the time period “licensed nutritionist” is used to confer with a person who has met particular academic and coaching necessities and is licensed to observe vitamin. Licensing necessities range by state however usually contain finishing a level in vitamin or a associated area, finishing a sure variety of supervised observe hours, and passing an examination. In these states, solely licensed nutritionists are legally allowed to offer vitamin counseling companies. 


“Licensed nutritionist” is a time period that’s typically used to confer with people who’ve accomplished a certification program in vitamin. Certification packages range of their necessities however typically contain finishing a sure variety of nutrition-related programs and passing an examination. Certification is mostly not required with a purpose to observe as a nutritionist however could be a approach for people to exhibit their data and experience within the area. 


It is necessary to notice that the phrases “licensed nutritionist” and “licensed nutritionist” usually are not standardized and could also be used in a different way relying on the precise state or nation by which the person is practising. It is all the time a good suggestion to analysis the precise {qualifications} and credentials of a nutritionist earlier than searching for their companies. 

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 might present vitamin counseling to people or teams. Nevertheless, there are just a few key variations between the 2 professions when it comes to their coaching, scope of observe, and authorized necessities. Right here are some things {that a} dietitian can do {that a} nutritionist can not: 

  • 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 may occasionally embody creating specialised diets for people with situations similar to diabetes, coronary heart illness, or kidney illness, in addition to offering vitamin help for people receiving medical remedies similar to chemotherapy. 
  • Work in medical settings: Dietitians are sometimes employed in medical settings similar to hospitals, nursing houses, and long-term care amenities, the place they work as a part of a healthcare workforce to offer vitamin look after sufferers. 
  • Supervise meals service operations: Dietitians may match in foodservice settings similar to colleges, hospitals, and eating places, the place they might be liable for creating menus, overseeing meals preparation, and making certain that meals is ready in accordance with vitamin and security requirements. 
  • Might require licensure: In lots of states, dietitians are required to be licensed with a purpose to observe. This usually includes finishing particular academic and coaching necessities, passing an examination, and assembly ongoing persevering with training necessities. 

It is value noting that the overall time period “nutritionist” is just not a legally protected time period in lots of states, which implies that there aren’t any particular academic or coaching necessities for people who use this title. Consequently, the {qualifications} and scope of observe of nutritionists might range broadly, and it is necessary for people searching 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 area of vitamin, however their job duties, academic necessities, and salaries can differ. 

Dietitians work in quite a lot of settings, together with hospitals, clinics, colleges, authorities businesses, and personal practices. They supply medical vitamin remedy to handle and forestall situations similar to diabetes, coronary heart illness, and different persistent illnesses. The job outlook for dietitians is constructive, with the projecting an 8% job development charge for the career 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 quite a lot 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, nevertheless, that the wage for licensed nutritionists or coaches can range considerably inside the area. It is because many licensed nutritionists work in a personal observe which supplies excessive potential for development.  

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

The varieties of jobs you could be eligible for after finishing a web-based vitamin certification can range relying on the precise certification and your earlier training and expertise. 

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

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

  • 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 may occasionally embody providing recommendation on vitamin, train, and way of life habits. 
  • Diet educator: On this position, you could educate others concerning the significance of vitamin and how one can make wholesome meals decisions. It’s possible you’ll work in quite a lot of settings, together with colleges, neighborhood facilities, and healthcare amenities. 
  • Wellness marketing consultant: As a wellness marketing consultant, you could present recommendation and proposals to people or organizations on how one can enhance their total well being and wellbeing. This may occasionally embody providing steerage on vitamin, stress administration, and train. 

It is necessary to notice that the job alternatives accessible to you could rely in your particular certification, stage of training, and expertise.  

Important Takeaways 

On this article, we mentioned the training 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 varieties of jobs that could be accessible after finishing a web-based vitamin certification. 

We encourage you to discover the opportunity of acquiring your vitamin certification with AFPA, the place you’ve gotten the potential to catapult your skilled profession ahead whereas supporting others’ well being.  



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *