Often, the words dietitian and nutritionist are used interchangeably. These are two different careers that have some similarities and many differences.
To be a legal dietitian, a nutritionist must become registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration or the CDR. Dietitians and registered dietitians are expected to complete continuing education courses each year to maintain their certifications.
Nutritionists do not have the same governmental restrictions as dietitians. Some states do require nutritionists to obtain an occupational license to practice. Only nutritionists that become certified are required to complete formal training and continuing education courses to keep their certification.
Dietitians are required to complete at least a Bachelor’s degree. The program of study must be approved by the Dietetics’ Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics or ACEND. The program of study must also include a practical component that is performed at a career-related site.
Nutritionists do not need any educational background to practice in most states. Most nutritionists will have completed some coursework in nutrition-related subjects. Nutritionists that are certified are required to complete at least a Bachelor’s degree in a nutrition discipline.
Registered dietitians can earn their credentials through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. To maintain their credentials, they must complete a required number of continuing education hours each year.
Nutritionists are able to earn certification through the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists. To become a certified nutrition specialist, they must complete a Master’s or Doctoral degree in a nutrition-related discipline, compete for 1,000 hours of practical experience and pass the certification examination. Continuing education courses must also be completed each year to maintain certification.
Dietitians and nutritionists make an average of $57,910 annually or $27.84 per hour. Those just starting out can expect to earn an average of $35, 240 annually or $16.94 per hour.
Comparison Table – Dietitian And Nutritionist
How about we recap major differences between a dietitian and a nutritionist to make sure there’s no confusion here
At least a Bachelors degree plus certification
No formal schooling necessary unless certified, then a Master’s or Doctorate plus certification
Registered dietitian credentials
Certified nutrition specialist
Average $57,910 annually
Average $57, 910 annually