Moving to San Diego over two years ago changed everything for me, I realized how passionate I was about nourishing my body with real food and exercising. Living here opened up a different side of me and I can honestly say I have found my calling, which was something I never knew existed.
I am meant to help others by giving them the knowledge, tools, and encouragement they need to live healthier and happier lives. That is why I am pursing a career in nutrition.
Dietitian vs Nutritionist
Most people use dietitian and nutritionist interchangeably and it drives me loca. Although both work toward the same goal (you know…helping people get healthy), there’s a big difference between the two. A registered dietitian has a Bachelors and/or Masters degree related to nutrition from an accredited institution. The next step is to apply and complete 6-12 months (most of the time unpaid and full-time) of supervised practice at an accredited Dietetic Internship Program. Once the internship is completed, you will be eligible to take the national exam to become credentialed as a RD. It is required to complete continuing education to remain a RD.
The route to become a nutritionist is much broader and the requirements vary. The major difference is that a RD has specific requirements and is nationally recognized. Dietitian’s can refer to themselves as nutritiontist, but not vice versa.
I want to become a Registered Dietitian because I want to help people in the best way that I can. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s the most highly recognized credential in the nutrition field!
My road to becoming a Registered Dietitian
Since I have a bachelors in Business Administration and never taken any science classes (besides geology – ha!), I have to complete the undergrad prereqs below. I have also decided to get my Masters in Nutrition Sciences since I need a degree related to nutrition in order to enroll in the Dietetics Program at SDSU. I am working hard to finish these prereqs at a community college, maintain a high GPA, and stay involved at school/community.
Step 1: Undergrad Prerequisite Coursework – General chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, general biology, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, basic nutrition, and stats. I plan to take one more year at a community college, anatomy & microbiology during the Fall and physiology and biochemistry in the Spring .
Step 2: Apply to the Nutritional Sciences Masters program at SDSU in December 2015. This includes taking the GRE, 2 letter of recommendations, and Statement of Purpose. When I am accepted I will then apply for the Dietetics program. **UPDATE: I got accepted into the Master Program at State!!! I will be starting classes in Fall 2016!**
Step 3: Masters Program Take graduate classes while fulfilling Dietetic requirements. Once all required courses are taken I will then apply for an internship that is 6-12 months of supervised practice.
Step 4: Take the RD test
Step 5: Andrea Arnold, MS RD
Never settle. Always fight for what you want. Dream big.