What's the difference between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?

Question

Hi Rick, I'm inspecting a career in nutrition. There seems to be a war going on between "nutritionists" and "dietitians". What's the difference?

Answer

Dietitians can also be called nutritionists, and some do call themselves that. The biggest difference between them is that you know (for sure) that a Registered Dietitian in the United States has a minimum of a 4 year degree in nutrition, has completed a supervised internship, has passed a national registry exam, must meet a code of standards and ethics, and has to complete continuing education to maintain the credential. Most states (not all - but most) have absolutely no regulation on who can call themselves a nutritionist. For that reason - you are on your own to find out the background of a nutritionist. Some are certainly good. Many are not. There a few other trademarked alternative credentials that seem to be better than others. The three that seem to be the most credible are: CNS (Certified Nutrition Specialist - requires a Masters Degree), CCN (Certified Clinical Nutritionists - many MDs, MS, and Nutrition BS), and CN (Certified Nutritionists - from an online college called NINES, which doesn't seem to be as difficult to obtain, but some CNs I've seen are very good). For more career information on Nutrition look here: Nutrition Employment / Careers.