Who are Community Dietitians?

Community RDs

What is a Community Registered Dietitian?

A Community Dietitian counsels individuals and groups on nutritional practices designed to prevent disease and promote health. They work in places such as public health clinics, home health agencies, and health maintenance organizations, community dietitians evaluate individual needs, develop nutritional care plans, and instruct individuals and their families. Dietitians working in home health agencies provide instruction on grocery shopping and food preparation to the elderly, individuals with special needs, and children.

Community RDs educate the public on topics related to food and nutrition. They often work with specific groups of people, such as pregnant women. They work in public health clinics, government and non-profit agencies, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and other settings.

Community RDs work with wellness programs, public health agencies, home care agencies, and health maintenance organizations. These dietitians apply and distribute knowledge about food and nutrition to individuals and groups of specific categories, life-styles and geographic areas in order to promote health. They often focus on the needs of the elderly, children, or other individuals with special needs or limited access to healthy food. Some community dietitians conduct home visits for patients who are too physically ill to attend consultations in health facilities in order to provide care and instruction on grocery shopping and food preparation

College students interested in this field should consider courses in foods, nutrition, institution management, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, microbiology, and physiology. Other courses include business, mathematics, statistics, computer science, psychology, sociology, and economics, and communications. WVU’s own DPD program awards degrees in a (1) Bachelors of Science in Human Nutrition and Foods or a (2) Bachelors in Agriculture with an Emphasis in Nutrition.

Dietitians need at least a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, foods and nutrition, food service systems management, or a related area. Those who have a master’s degree or have specialized training in renal or diabetic diets should experience good employment opportunities. Students interested in research, advanced clinical positions, or public health may also need an advanced degree. Requirements vary by State. As a result, interested candidates should determine the requirements of the State in which they want to work before sitting for any exam. Although not required, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) awards the RD credential to those who pass an exam after completing their academic coursework and supervised experience.

Greg Silverman hosted the annual Supermarket Dietitians Symposium in Savannah, GA

 

How much does a RD actually earn every year?

Entry level: $ 35,940

Median RD pay: $55,800

Community Dietitian:

–          Median salary working education and research: $60,200 and up

–          Median salary working in food and nutrition management: $60,000 and up

Top pay: $76,000

Total jobs, as of 2010: 64,400

Employment of RDs is expected to grow 18-26% for all occupations through 2014 as a result of increasing emphasis on disease prevention through improved dietary habits. A growing and aging population will boost the demand for meals and nutritional counseling in hospitals, residential care facilities, schools, prisons, community health programs, and home health care agencies. Public interest in nutrition and increased emphasis on health education and prudent lifestyles also will spur demand, especially in management. In addition to employment growth, job openings will result from the need to replace experienced workers who leave the occupation.

Betty Forbes, the previous Community Dietitian at WVU, retired last year. This is her teaching a HNF 472: Community Nutrition class.

 

Geography of a RD

The top five best-paying states for dietitians, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics are:

–          Connecticut

–          Maryland

–          New Jersey

–          California

–           Hawaii

–          Dietitians in these states earned median wages of between $59,390 and $62,260 annually.

 

High-paying metropolitan areas that the BLS identified include:

–           the Bethesda, Maryland area

–          the San Jose/Sunnyvale, California area

–          the Oakland/Fremont, California area

–          Waterbury, Connecticut

–          Leominster/Fitchburg/Gardner, Massachusetts

–          These city areas pay dietitians median wages between $69,380 and $83,320 annually

 

For more info go to: www.eatright.org

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