Dietitian vs. Nutritionist
I always suggest knowing the background of a professional before trusting them with your health. So I want to address a question I am asked regularly. What is the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist? This might get lengthy, but there is a BIG difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian. Dietitians usually go by Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and in some states have licensure or certifications, meaning they will have Certified Dietitian (CD), Certified Dietitian Nutritionist (CDN), Licensed Dietitian (LD) or Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist (LDN) following their other credentials. Nutritionist on it’s own is not a term that is regulated. That means anyone…ANY one….can call themselves a nutritionist. The only training they require to call themselves a nutritionist is how to spell nutritionist. In order to call yourself a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (this includes Registered Dietitian, RD, RDN) you must have a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics or similar field, complete a minimum of 1,200 hours of supervised practice in an ACEND-accredited dietetic internship, and pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration’s national exam.
After January 1, 2024, dietitians will also be required to have a master’s degree before they can sit for the national exam, so you’ll notice more dietitians will also have MS amongst their credentials.