Have you ever wondered… what dietitians do?! Well, let me tell you, despite popular belief, dietitians do A LOT of different things… I consider my career in research a ‘non-traditional’ dietetics career. My days often include counseling research participants on how to gain weight (for the purpose of studying new fat cells), analyzing diet records, managing sets of data, performing metabolic and body composition testing, calculating nutrient needs, precepting dietetic interns, aiding researchers in design & implementation of research studies, developing education materials, and encouraging coworkers to engage in a healthy lifestyle (anyone up for a wellness walk this afternoon?). If that’s not variety, I don’t know what is! This is one of the reasons why I LOVE my job. I truly enjoy being able to work in many different aspects of dietetics practice. What I do in my job does not even encompass the entirety of the dietetics field! I have friends who work for the government in school nutrition, planning meals that abide by USDA guidelines. Yet others are sports RDNs working with collegiate or professional teams to enhance athletic performance (shout out to CINNAMON).
Traditionally, dietitians work in one of three fields: clinical, community, or foodservice. To become a dietitian, you must complete an internship that provides experience in each of these areas of practice. Many dietitians start out working in one of these areas, but more and more we are seeing RDNs branch out into different sectors. Dietitians now work for large food corporations (shout out to SALT), own their own consulting firms, work in marketing, public relations, and regulate quality of food. You might also find them at your local grocery store, hosting tours and meeting with customers one-on-one to discuss healthful shopping strategy! Where else have you seen RDNs around? Where would you like to see them?