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Career profile Dietitian

Also known as Clinical Dietician, Clinical Dietitian, Dietitian, Nutritionist, Outpatient Dietitian, Pediatric Clinical Dietician, Registered Dietician, Registered Dietitian

Dietitian

Also known as Clinical Dietician, Clinical Dietitian, Dietitian

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Social
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$39,840 - $0 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Biology
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
Core tasks
  • Assess nutritional needs, diet restrictions, and current health plans to develop and implement dietary-care plans and provide nutritional counseling.
  • Evaluate laboratory tests in preparing nutrition recommendations.
  • Counsel individuals and groups on basic rules of good nutrition, healthy eating habits, and nutrition monitoring to improve their quality of life.
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What does a Dietitian do?

Dietitians plan and conduct food service or nutritional programs to assist in the promotion of health and control of disease.

In addition, Dietitians may supervise activities of a department providing quantity food services, counsel individuals, or conduct nutritional research.

What kind of tasks does a Dietitian perform regularly?

Dietitians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Assess nutritional needs, diet restrictions, and current health plans to develop and implement dietary-care plans and provide nutritional counseling.
  • Evaluate laboratory tests in preparing nutrition recommendations.
  • Counsel individuals and groups on basic rules of good nutrition, healthy eating habits, and nutrition monitoring to improve their quality of life.
  • Incorporate patient cultural, ethnic, or religious preferences and needs in the development of nutrition plans.
  • Advise patients and their families on nutritional principles, dietary plans, diet modifications, and food selection and preparation.
  • Consult with physicians and health care personnel to determine nutritional needs and diet restrictions of patient or client.
  • Record and evaluate patient and family health and food history, including symptoms, environmental toxic exposure, allergies, medication factors, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Develop recipes and menus to address special nutrition needs, such as low glycemic, low histamine, or gluten- or allergen-free.
  • Coordinate diet counseling services.
  • Develop curriculum and prepare manuals, visual aids, course outlines, and other materials used in teaching.
  • Plan and conduct training programs in dietetics, nutrition, and institutional management and administration for medical students, health-care personnel, and the general public.
  • Plan, conduct, and evaluate dietary, nutritional, and epidemiological research.
  • Write research reports and other publications to document and communicate research findings.

The above responsibilities are specific to Dietitians. More generally, Dietitians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

What is a Dietitian salary?

The median salary for a Dietitian is $63,090, and the average salary is $64,150. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Dietitian salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Dietitians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Dietitians earn less than $39,840 per year, 25% earn less than $51,700, 75% earn less than $77,180, and 90% earn less than $0.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Dietitians is expected to change by 10.7%, and there should be roughly 5,900 open positions for Dietitians every year.

Median annual salary
$63,090
Typical salary range
$39,840 - $0
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
10.7%

What personality traits are common among Dietitians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Dietitian are usually higher in their Investigative, Social, and Enterprising interests.

Dietitians typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Dietitians typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Lastly, Dietitians typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Dietitian tend to value Relationships, Independence, and Recognition.

Most importantly, Dietitians very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Dietitians strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Dietitians strongly value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Dietitians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, concern for others, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Dietitians, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Dietitians need?

Many Dietitians have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Dietitians may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Dietitians

  • 2.3% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 9.4% completed high school or secondary school
  • 6.4% completed some college coursework
  • 3.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 41.6% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 29.6% earned a Master's degree
  • 6.9% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Dietitians

Dietitians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as biology, medicine and dentistry, or therapy and counseling knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Dietitians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Biology
Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Medicine and Dentistry
Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Therapy and Counseling
Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Psychology
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Important Abilities needed by Dietitians

Dietitians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Dietitians need abilities such as speech clarity, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Dietitians, ranked by their relative importance.

Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Dietitians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Dietitians frequently use skills like judgment and decision making, reading comprehension, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Dietitians, ranked by their relative importance.

Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.