How to Become a Dietitian?

Are you thinking of becoming a Dietitian or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Dietitian, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Dietitian job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Dietitian

If you want to help others improve their health and you're interested in nutrition, consider a career as a dietitian. You can make sure that patients get the nutrition they need to live long, healthy, and fulfilling lives. To become a dietitian, follow these steps:

Get a degree in a health related field.

To become a dietitian, also called a registered dietitian, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree in clinical nutrition, public health nutrition, foods and nutrition, or dietetics. For people who will graduate after 2024, a master's degree is also needed. Even before this requirement started, most dietitians studied for graduate degrees to increase their abilities to find lucrative positions.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Dietitian?

56% of people working as a Dietitian earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be a Dietitian?

  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Interpersonal and Communication
  • Parenteral Nutrition
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Responses
  • Positive Attitude
  • Leadership
  • Filing
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Dietitian in the United States.

Finish a clinical internship program.

Dietetic internship programs help you gain valuable hands-on clinical experience. These programs usually last for 1,200 hours, and licensed professionals supervise them. Most universities help people studying to become dietitians apply for and participate in internships. Dietitians can work in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, medical offices, clients' homes, universities, or many other settings. If you aren't sure how you want to specialize, you can take on different internships with varying time frames. Just make sure you hit that 1,200-hour mark to qualify for licensing.


Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration's exam.

Dietitians must pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration's exam to obtain official credentials as registered dietitians. The exam is extremely detailed, and you'll need a firm understanding of your profession to pass it. Many people take preparatory classes before the exam. After you pass, you'll need to go to your state's board of examiners and pay the required fee to obtain your license. In most states, this fee is around one to two hundred dollars. You'll need to show two forms of valid identification, your test results, and your CDR or Commission on Dietetic Registration card.


Apply for jobs as a dietitian.

When you write your resume and cover letter, highlight your clinical experience and any awards you received while attending college. It's also a good idea to discuss your specialties and any other coursework that could be relevant. Include the same keywords in the job description to get the attention of hiring managers and make receiving an interview more likely. Customizing your resume and cover letter for each potential employer can increase your success as well. Many entry-level positions are available for dietitians, and some dietitians create content about nutrition on social media along with seeing patients.


Maintain your status as a licensed and registered dietitian.

To keep your status as a registered dietitian in order, you'll have to complete at least 75 hours of continuing education every five years. You'll also need to submit your activity log and learning plan to the CDR once every five years. An annual registration and maintenance fee is required. Dietitians also need to maintain an official CDR webpage.

Dietitian Career Path


0 - 1Years of Experience
$58K - $89K /yrMost Likely Range
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Senior Dietitian

2 - 4Years of Experience
$76K - $116K /yrMost Likely Range
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Lead Dietitian

5 - 7Years of Experience
$66K - $98K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Dietitian Career Path

Dietitian I
Senior Dietitian
Nutrition Manager
Lead Dietitian
Assistant Chief Dietitian
Director of Nutrition
Senior Director of Nutrition Science
Vice President of Nutrition Science
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Related Careers in the Healthcare Industry

Interested in other Healthcare careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Dietitian skills. Discover some of the most common Dietitian career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Emergency Medical Technician
No skills overlap
12% transitioned to Emergency Medical Technician