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Qualifications

Every state has their own guidelines for dieticians. Typically, dietitians must get a license to receive a Registered Dietitian credential. To earn a license you need to complete a bachelor's degree, supervised practice, and exam. Dieticians generally earn their bachelor's degree in foods and nutrition, dietetics food service systems, or other related field. Basically, you'll need to be not only a food fan, but also a science and math person as well. Programs consist of chemistry, biology, nutrition, and physiology.

As soon as you put away your cap and gown, you need to apply for a program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). These programs take place in medical facilities, hospitals, community agencies or foodservice corporations. They can last anywhere from 6 to 12 months.

Once you finish your program, you can take a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. The exam may ask you this type of question:

Vegetables with thiols are considered to be the most protective against cancer.

Thiols are found in:

A. Flax seed, oats, and barley
B. Food with blue, blue-red, and violet pigments
C. Prunes and dried fruits
D. The cabbage family
E. Haystacks

The answer is D thank goodness, because you could spend all day looking for a thiol in a haystack.

When you obtain your license, you are ready to rock and roll on the nutritional circuit. Most employers require that you earn and maintain your RD license. To maintain the license, you have to take continuing education courses. It may seem like your days of homework and classes are never over when you become a dietitian. Part of the reason that dietitians must continually take classes is the fact that research is conducted everyday. New findings must get published and nutritionists must use new information when giving advice or creating meal plans for their clients. For example, is red meat in or out this week?

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