Student Center

Dietitians of Many Kinds: Descriptions of What They Each Do

January 11, 2018   /
Author: 
Elaine M. Hinzey, RD, LDN
Nutrition411 Staff

Type of Job

Job Details

Requirements

Inpatient clinical dietitian

  • Completes initial assessments and follow-ups on patients
  • Teaches patients about nutrition and food preparation
  • Discusses care plan with other health care professionals
  • Works with the food service manager to ensure that patients receive appropriate food, conducting meal rounds as requested, etc.
  • Approves menus before use
  • Interacts with the community through outreach activities, as requested
  • Has responsibility to ensure that department is prepared for surveys and inspections
  • Often teaches other health care professionals
  • Is a registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist (required)
  • May need a master’s degree or specialized certifications for certain fields
  • May need licensure in certain states
  • Needs experience completing assessments as dictated by the facility (eg, MDS for long-term care)
  • Often requires ability to use electronic charting programs
  • Generally requires some public speaking skills
  • Is willing to stay current in changes in the fields of nutrition and medicine (required)

Outpatient clinical dietitian

  • Counsels patients and their family members regarding food and nutrition
  • Often holds group classes
  • Ensures appropriate insurance billing for medical nutrition therapy (MNT)
  • Prepares visual aids, handouts, etc to use during teaching sessions
  • Is a registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist (required)
  • Often has a master’s degree in public health, education, or nutrition
  • May need specialized certifications for some fields
  • May need licensure in some states
  • Must have good presentation and public speaking skills
  • Has a good understanding about learning theories, curriculum design, and age-specific teaching skills
  • Must know about MNT billing procedures

Food and nutrition management dietitian

  • Plans menus for patients, catered events, and retail cafeteria
  • Works within a budget set by the institution and completes financial reports
  • Interviews, hires, and disciplines employees
  • Prepares orientation and ongoing training materials for employees
  • Ensures that department is ready for survey/inspection
  • Completes chart audits
  • Sometimes requires a business degree
  • Often is a registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist (sometimes required)
  • Must have a understanding about food safety, sanitation principles, and inspection preparation
  • Often requires ability to use numerous computer programs, such as Microsoft Excel
  • Is usually “on call”
  • Often requires previous management experience

Grocery store dietitian

  • Educates customers about food preparation and nutrition
  • Conducts grocery store tours
  • Plans in-store events and attends external wellness events to advertise services
  • Educates store employees
  • Works with the marketing department to develop advertisements
  • Teaches nutrition-based classes to interested customers and sometimes provides one-on-one counseling sessions
  • Sometimes ensures appropriate insurance billing for MNT services
  • Often has a master’s degree in public health, education, or nutrition
  • Is a registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist (required)
  • Has the ability to communicate with a variety of people
  • Is willing to remain current about consumer buying trends (required)
  • Has good writing skills (usually necessary)
  • Conducts constant research into pertinent topics, such as dietary supplements (required)
  • Is willing to act as a salesperson at times
  • Must have good presentation and public speaking skills
  • Must have a good understanding about learning theories, curriculum design, and age-specific teaching skills
  • Often must know about MNT billing procedures

Food company dietitian

  • Answers consumers’ questions about specific company food products and nutrition in general
  • Acts as the face of the company at expos, in advertising, etc
  • Develops recipes incorporating the company’s food products
  • Answers questions from the research and development and marketing teams regarding food legislation, labeling laws, etc
  • Develops marketing materials highlighting the nutritional composition of food products
  • Is usually a registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist (sometimes required); sometimes is a food scientist (sometimes required)
  • Often required a graduate degree
  • Must have a good knowledge of food science principles
  • Must have cooking and baking skills/knowledge
  • Must have the ability to answer consumers’ questions regarding a wide range of nutritional topics
  • Has good writing skills (usually necessary)
  • Must have good presentation and public speaking skills
  • Is willing to represent the company at numerous events, such as wellness fairs, expos, etc

College professor

  • Initiates, moderates, and fosters classroom discussions
  • Remains current in the field, often required to complete research projects and/or publish articles in professional journals
  • Evaluates students’ work
  • Prepares syllabi, curriculum, handouts, tests, etc
  • Often markets the program to prospective students
  • Is a registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist (required)
  • Requires, at minimum, a master’s degree for some community colleges; usually requires a PhD and postdoctoral work for large colleges and universities
  • Is willing to remain current in all aspects of the field and to attend professional conferences on a regular basis (required)
  • Has excellent writing skills
  • Has good knowledge of learning theories and teaching trends (requirement)
  • Is willing to work within a budget and to defend budgetary requests (required)

Research dietitian

  • Collects, synthesizes, analyzes, manages, and reports data
  • Analyzes data to determine validity and significance
  • Communicates information about findings to the public or internal audiences
  • Prepares project proposals and/or grants as necessary
  • Performs administrative duties
  • Supervises assigned staff
  • Works within a budget; purchases supplies and equipment as needed
  • Counsels participants
  • Is a registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist (required)
  • Usually must have a graduate degree
  • Has experience in research and implementing clinical study protocols (preferred or required)
  • Often must have ability to work with specialized computer programs
  • Is willing to learn how to use specialized research equipment (required)
  • Is able to talk to a wide range of people, including other researchers, the public, and participants
  • Sometimes requires previous supervisory experience
  • Has strong written skills (required)

Public health dietitian

  • Develops and presents health education and promotional events
  • Networks with other organizations to encourage involvement in provision of health care to the public
  • Prepares and distributes a wide range of health education materials
  • Reports outcomes to funding agencies, as necessary
  • Maintains mailing lists, phone number databases, etc
  • Prepares press releases and other marketing materials
  • Is a registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist (required)
  • Often must have a graduate degree in public health
  • Has good writing skills (required); grant writing skills often are necessary
  • Has ability to educate a wide range of people about proper nutrition and other health-related skills (required)
  • Often must know advanced nutrition assessment techniques
  • Has an understanding of research methodology (required)
  • Has powerful presentation and public speaking skills
  • Often required to travel
  • Has knowledge of sociological and cultural principles

 

 

Review Date :3/6/15