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What exactly is an RD?

In the health and wellness world, titles can get confusing. There's nutritionists, health coaches, life coaches, personal trainers, dietitians...the list goes on. So what exactly is an RD?


An RD, or Registered Dietitian, is a professional with training in food and nutrition. In order to obtain this credential, an RD needs a Master of Nutrition, 1,200 hours of supervised practice (internships), and to pass the RD exam. Once an RD, they also need to receive continuing education to maintain the credential.


A Registered Dietitian will have the credential RD or RDN, both of which can be used interchangeably. You may also find that RDs tend to have other credentials to their name. These credentials are from certifications that further a dietitians expertise in a specific topic within nutrition and dietetics. A few common ones you may see include Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD), Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian (CEDRD), or Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES), to name a few.


So what can an RD do?


The list of things an RD is certified to do is quite extensive. We are trained in community nutrition, nutrition counseling, food service management and clinical nutrition. Below is a list of some of the jobs an RD may have:

  • nutrition counseling

  • research

  • treat disordered eating and eating disorders

  • work in a hospital (tube feeding, diet orders for specific diseases, prevent and treat malnutrition, nutrition education)

  • community outreach and education

  • sports nutrition

  • corporate wellness

  • managing and treating GI conditions

  • navigate picky eating

  • prevent or manage diseases (diabetes, hypertension, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease, autoimmune disease, etc.)

  • manage food service programs

All this to say, the field of dietetics is vast. Registered Dietitians tend to specialize in a certain topic, based on their interests and experience. At the end of they day, they are highly qualified professionals who love helping people and talking about food :)


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