Dietician Advancement Opportunities

Jul 11, 2018

Registered dieticians help those suffering from ailments to achieve the correct nutrition to improve their health. They may wish to advance their careers by focusing on specific diseases such as renal failure or diabetes, or take administrative roles in nutrition management or hospital food services.

Career Growth Opportunities for Dieticians

Registered dieticians play an important health-care role helping patients use correct nutrition to promote good health. After working in this position, some dieticians may wish to pursue career advancement. Some options include focusing on specific health issues and considering jobs such as a renal dietician or certified diabetes educator. Others may wish to consider more administrative and supervisory roles such as a clinical nutrition manager or hospital director of food services. Some detail about these careers is provided below.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-2026)** Education or Experience
Renal Dietician $58,817 15% (dieticians) Certification in renal nutrition
Certified Diabetes Educator $63,170 14% (health educators) Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)
Clinical Nutrition Manager $62,955 20% (medical and health services managers) Related work experience
Hospital Director Food Services $75,000 20% (medical and health services managers) Related work experience

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information

Renal Dietician

One option to advance as a dietician is to focus on patient groups with specific dietary needs. One popular choice is to specialize as a renal dietician. Renal dieticians work with patients undergoing dialysis for kidney failure or suffering from chronic kidney ailments, and they help create individual eating plans for these individuals. They evaluate the dietary needs and then counsel these patients as to appropriate nutrition while they are undergoing their treatment regimen. Typical requirements for becoming a renal dietician are to be certified as a registered dietician, have 2,000 hours of experience in renal dietetics, and to pass the examination offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

Certified Diabetes Educator

Another area of specialty to consider would be that of a certified diabetes educator. Certified diabetes educators fully understand diabetes management and prevention. These professionals work with patients who suffer from diabetes to help them understand the nutritional and other health requirements of their illness in order to support correct blood sugar levels. To become a certified diabetes educator, the candidate must be a registered dietician or other health care professional, possess two years of professional experience in diabetes education, meet professional development requirements, and sit for the exam offered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators.

Clinical Nutrition Manager

Registered dieticians work with patients to oversee proper nutrition plans. One way to advance this role would be to consider a position as a clinical nutrition manager. These professionals work in hospitals or other health-care settings to determine an appropriate diet for all patients and oversee that the correct nutrition is offered. They plan menus to ensure that the meals offered comply with all federal and facility regulations and meet a patient's health needs. The clinical nutrition manager also oversees other dietetic staff. Typically, a dietician advancing to this role would have several years of experience providing nutrition services in a health service facility. Some positions may require a master's degree in nutrition or public health.

Hospital Director Food Services

For registered dieticians who wish to advance to supervisory roles, one potential avenue could be to become a hospital director of food services. These professionals oversee all food service operations at a hospital and are responsible for ensuring compliance with all food safety and nutritional guidelines. Hospital directors of food services are also responsible for securing inventory and supervising other staff. These professionals typically have related work experience.

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