Dietetics and Nutrition

Salary
The mean salary for Dietitians and Nutritionists in Florida in 2009 was $25.77/hour.

Educational Programs
Bachelor's Degree
Florida International University
Florida State University
University of Florida

Master's Degree
Florida International University
Florida State University
University of Florida
University of North Florida

Doctor of Philosophy
Florida International University
Florida State University
University of Florida

Professional Associations
American Dietetic Association
Florida Dietetic Association

A registered dietitian (RD) is a health care professional with expertise in food and nutrition. The term “registered dietitian” is a legally protected title and may be used only by those who have completed an accredited baccalaureate program, clinical experience, and national exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Some registered dietitians call themselves “nutritionists,” but the definition of this term is variable and it is influenced by licensure laws that differ from state to state.

Dietitian

Registered dietitians assess the nutritional needs of both sick and healthy people and then develop individualized plans of care to improve or maintain health. They apply principles from basic, social, and behavioral sciences to persons of all ages, and a dietetics curriculum includes courses in chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, food science, management, economics, sociology, psychology, and microbiology.

Registered dietitians work in hospitals or other health care organizations, sports nutrition and corporate wellness, public health, universities, schools, private practice, research, and the food industry. Persons seeking careers in dietetics need to have an interest in science, organizational and administrative skills, and a genuine interest in working with people of all ages as individuals or groups.

Areas of Specialization
Currently, there are four areas in which registered dietitians may obtain certification as specialists: renal nutrition, pediatrics, nutrition support, and diabetes. Certification requires completion of an examination by the CDR or other medical/nutrition organizations. Registered dietitians may also practice in specialized areas such as eating disorders and weight management, cardiac rehabilitation, or geriatrics without specialized certification.

Work Environment
Registered dietitians are employed by hospitals, government agencies, public schools, day care centers, nursing homes, pharmaceutical companies, food service companies, health maintenance organizations, health clubs, the food industry, research laboratories, public health clinics, correctional facilities, and private practice. Registered dietitians may choose to work part- or full-time (40 hours/ week).

Job Outlook
The number of Dietitians and Nutritionists employed in Florida in 2006 was 2,371. It is projected that in 2014 there will be 2,718, an annual average growth rate of 1.8 percent.

Length of Training/Requirements
Entry-level dietitians must complete an American Dietetic Association accredited bachelor's degree with a major in human nutrition, food science and nutrition, dietetics, or food management. This is followed by a supervised practice/internship program with a minimum of 900 hours. The next step is successful completion of the national registration examination for dietitians offered by CDR and registration is maintained by a program of continuing education.

Advancement
Graduate programs are available leading to master's and doctoral degrees. Those with advanced degrees may become teachers, researchers, and managers. However, not all advancement requires additional education. With experience, advanced knowledge, and management skills, dietitians may advance from assistant to associate and then director of a dietetic department.

Licensure/Certification
In the state of Florida, licensure is regulated by the Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Council. All registered dietitians are eligible for state licensure and there is no requirement for additional education or supervised practice. Licensed dietitians/nutritionists designate their status using the credentials LD or LD/N. A complete description of the licensure requirements for dietetics and nutrition practice may be found in the Florida Statutes Title XXXII, Chapter 468, Part X (ss. 468.501 - 468.518).

Dietetic registration (RD) is maintained by completion of 75 hours of continuing education every five years. State licensure (LD or LD/N) requires 30 hours of continuing education every two years including:

Medical Errors: 2 hours for initial licensure and each renewal;

Management, risk management, personal growth, and educational techniques: a maximum of 10 hours;

Approved home study courses: a maximum of 15 hours.



Updated: 2009