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Registered Dietitians are food and nutrition experts who apply the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living, using their clinical expertise to help individuals make personal, positive lifestyle changes. They are licensed medical professionals who offer medical nutrition therapy.
The “RD” credential may only be used by practitioners who are authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Individuals with the RD or RDN credential are leaders in the field of dietetics who have fulfilled specific requirements, having earned a least a bachelor’s degree (about half of all RDs, like myself, hold advanced degrees) in nutrition and food science, completed an accredited, supervised practice program, passed a rigorous national examination and maintain their skills by meeting the profession’s continuing education requirements for re-certification. While RDs are sometimes referred to as “nutritionists,” not everyone who uses this title is a “registered dietitian.” In many states, anyone may designate themselves a “nutritionist,” regardless of education or training.
Registered Dietitians complete continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration, which entails a minimum of 75 continuing education credits every five years. This way they can always provide the most up-to-date recommendations.
Many registered dietitians hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition, sports nutrition, nutrition support, and diabetes management.