Becoming a dietitian requires the completion of a four-year bachelor's degree program and participation in a six to 12-month supervised practice program, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In addition to these educational requirements, dietitians must pass a board exam once their schooling is complete to become certified as a dietitian. Continuing professional education is also a requirement to maintain certification throughout a dietitian's career.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, dietitians hold various degrees, including food and nutrition sciences, food service systems management, culinary arts, computer science, sociology and communication. A bachelor's degree must be completed at a U.S.-accredited college or university, and coursework must be approved by the licensing agency. The practice program can be completed in a healthcare facility, food service company or community agency, and be undertaken after the bachelor's degree is complete or concurrently. Once the education and certification requirements are met, dietitians have a variety of career options, such as working in a hospital or other healthcare facility, private practice, public health facility, university, medical center, food research company or sports nutrition program. Dietitians also specialize in areas of expertise for added value, such as renal or pediatric nutrition or diabetes education.