Most people do not know the nutritionist dietitian difference. Many people believe they are synonyms. However, although they are both in the health profession and advise patients/clients on the principles of good eating and weight management, there are considerable differences in their education, occupation and pay.
Differences in Education
There is difference in the training, regulation and scope of practice between nutritionists and dietitians. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) is the accrediting institution for registered dietitians, who first have to complete a four-year degree, which is normally in dietetics, nutrition or food service management.
Dietitians then go through a training program that can take six months to two years, which is offered by the ADA, and complete an internship generally through a hospital or medical facility. Finally they take a test to be registered with the ADA and need to complete 75 hours of continuing education every five years. Registered dietitians are given the title “Dietetic Technician, Registered” or DTR. The term “nutritionist” is more broadly used. However, licensing is usually also required.
Nutritionist Dietitian Difference in Occupation
A dietician is qualified to work in a hospital setting to oversee nutritional guidelines for patients in hospitals, children in schools, the elderly in nursing homes, military personnel on military bases, and other institutions to ensure nutritional meals on particular budgets while keeping the food appealing. They can also work one-on-one with individuals and patients, for example, creating a meal plan for a person with a specific illness.
A nutritionist works with individuals who want to learn to eat right. They work with overweight or obese persons to lose weight safely through healthy eating, or underweight persons to gain weight safely also through healthy eating. They can also work with athletes who want to increase their fitness and performance in their respective sports by eating a diet that meets their specific needs.
A nutritionist also has the know how to use nutrition to prevent disease, or alleviate/treat diseases related to nutrition deficiency. Nutritionists can work in schools, public health organizations or community agencies, but unlike registered dieticians, they are not specifically responsible for feeding people.
Difference in Earnings
As with most careers, the salary of a nutritionist or a dietician will vary depending on their geographic location, their specific area of specialization, the number of years of experience they have, and their level of formal education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 10, 2000, the median annual salary of dietitians and nutritionist was $53,250. The bureau lumped the two occupations together in their data. However, typically dietitians are paid slightly more.
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