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Difference Between a Dietitian and Nutritionist

Difference Between a Dietitian and Nutritionist

A hospital stay can mean many things, but one thing that’s certain is that it’s going to involve feeding the patient in the most appropriate, safe, and healthy manner. That’s why dietitians and those in the nutritional field are so vital to the healthcare industry — everyone has to eat! If you’re looking for dietitian jobs in the healthcare field, stay tuned!

We’ve got plenty of open dietitian jobs for you to browse. But first, let’s take a look at some of the details surrounding this food-centric profession.

Before we get started, did you know that both dietitians and nutritionists are healthcare experts who work with diet, food, and nutrition, but that they aren’t quite the same? The most basic difference is that all “dietitians are considered to be nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are dietitians.”

Registered Dietitian vs. Certified Nutrition Specialist

The healthcare profession as a dietitian is considered more regulated than that of a nutritionist, but other major differences lie in the depth, scope, length, and type of education and training that each receive, which translates to the different types of care and services they can provide.

In fact, while anyone can study health and nutrition — including medical doctors, osteopaths, physician assistants, chiropractors, naturopaths, and more — dietitians have to earn certain licenses and certifications, and usually complete an internship or practice program, to find work. After a dietitian passes their national exam, they become a registered dietitian (R.D) and can then begin their practice at a hospital, university, health facility, or in private practice.

A dietitian's extra qualifications help them organize and create a nutrition plan to promote healthy eating habits, but it also means they have the qualifications to help diagnose, prevent, and treat illnesses and health problems.

Nutritionists, on the other hand, may have a graduate degree or even a PhD in nutrition or nutrition science, but they do not have the extra professional training that a dietitian does and should, therefore, not be involved in diagnosing or treating diseases.

While they do offer great support with many issues, their primary focus is on offering general nutrition education, supervision, and support, as well as helping clients adjust eating behaviors. As far as certifications go, nutritionists do have their own certification exam, which if passed, allows a nutritionist to hold the title of C.N.S (certified nutrition specialist).

Clinical Dietitian Job Description  

Dietitian jobs are extremely necessary in clinical places like hospitals and nursing care facilities. As a registered dietitian, a clinical dietitian’s job, first and foremost, is to help patients — both inpatient and outpatient — by planning their nutritional care based on their medical needs and any dietary restrictions they are under while in a clinical setting — like a hospital.

They also help create medical nutrition therapy standards that guide all other members of the hospital’s nutritional team, and along with helping the patient get better, their goals also include adhering to medical nutritional therapy protocols and educating the patient and family members about further nutritional care.

Dietitian Job Outlook

According the Bureau of Labor and Statistic’s 2015 data, the occupations of dietitian and nutritionist are predicted to grow 16% (much faster than average) in the years spanning 2014-2024. This is mainly due to the increased awareness of how food can affect a person’s well-being, as well as food’s role in treating and preventing illness, such as diabetes.

Clinical dietitian jobs can be found all over the United States, but there are some states that attract more jobs than others. If you’re looking to work as a dietitian or nutritionist in a certain state, be sure to check out the data on employment of dietitians and nutritionists, by state and area.

Clinical Dietitian Job Openings 

Looking for a rewarding career that not only helps improve an individual life, but possibly an entire family’s? Look into becoming a registered dietitian or a certified nutritional specialist. Already have the degree and the required certifications and are simply looking for open dietitian jobs?

Head on over to — we can help you find open hospital jobs, including dietitian jobs, dietitian nutritionist jobs, diet tech jobs, food service jobs, dietary service jobs, and so much more!

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