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 Post subject: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as one?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:40 pm 
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I would like to become a community health worker advising people how to eat better and address health issues. There will be some conflict with doing this since most people will be ominvores but I do hope to suggest ways to eat that involve less meating eating.

Aside from that I want to have my own business on the advising people wishing to switch to a plant based diet. I have some hopes that one day the independent business will be my main source of income.

Does anyone work as a dietician or nutritionist? Any advice. I just signed up to take some classes right now they are very general and could apply to any health care program.

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 Post subject: Re: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as on
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:53 pm 
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I just died inside is a dietitian and I have a degree in dietetics but have never worked as a dietitian.

I wanted to be a dietitian and after going to school, volunteering at a hospital with the head dietitian and working at a farmers market, I decided I was more interested in community nutrition and nt working as a dietitian. I am now far more interested in agriculture - so you never know where it may lead you!

To be a dietitian you have to get a degree in dietetics, do a (usually) year long (not only unpaid, but you have to pay for the program) internship at a hospital. Then you take a test to be an RD. it is a great profession, it just wasn't for me. I think taking some classes that can be applied to anything is a great place to start! This way you can learn about different professions, the requirements and decide what fits your needs best. Where I live, Bay Area, CA, there are tons if holistic nutritionists that do really well, they focus a lot of veg diets, but also the whole Weston Price thing is huge here.


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 Post subject: Re: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as on
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:02 pm 
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And to add to that, dietician is a protected term and as littlebear stated, there are specific requirements.

Anyone can be a nutritionist as it isn't a protected term. This would mean you'd either need to work for yourself or work for an organization that has their own nutritional programs. There may be other directions you could go and testing out a few classes is a great way to go. Public health is also a great direction and there are plenty of programs out there but you'd probably want a MPH (Masters in Public Health).

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 Post subject: Re: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as on
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:18 pm 
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Littlebear is right on except for one small thing. Not all dietetic internships are in hospitals. You will have to do some of your internship in a clinical setting, but it wouldn't necessarily be a hospital. the internship I did was more community nutrition focused, so I got to work at a variety of different places. i did end up doing part of my rotation in a hospital (which i hated), but the other clinical rotation I had was in a nursing home, which I loved.

It's a little hard to just break into nutrition counseling without having some serious experience or some sort of degree to back it up.

Lemme know if you want to hear my personal path to becoming an RD and I'd be happy to let you know and answer any questions you have.

Oh, and based on wanting to be a community health worker of some sort, you might only need an MPH, but it really depends on exactly what you want to do. An MPH might give you broader job prospects as you could work on other types of health counseling besides just nutrition.

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 Post subject: Re: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as on
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:10 pm 
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I am passionate about diet and food and helping others. I've worked in health care before but I cannot go back to the job I had because of the physical requirements too much standing and lifting and manual dexterity (Surgical related).

I kind of need to be able to get up and move around a bit. I can work on the computer but I could not do constant computer entry all day long. A listening period then entering period works fine for me. I think I will probably be able to do this and have a satifying job doing dietetics. Do you think this is true?

I've observed people doing community health dietetics by taking my disabled brother to appointments when he needed to lose weight. It really was helpful to him at the time. I've always thought about doing it since then.

The program I am pursuing gives you an associate in dietetics it's described as
Dietetic Technology Degree

Graduates are prepared to:
Counsel clients and families on specific diets and design specialized meal plans
Document client care
Develop, implement, and review nutrition care plans
Develop recipes and design menus
Ensure quality and safety of food service
Monitor budget and inventory
Monitor food quality and meal acceptance
Participate in assessing client’s nutritional status
Supervise food production
Teach nutrition classes
Representative Job Titles for Graduates
Dietetic Technician
Registered Dietetic Technician (on successful completion of registration exam)

You can also get a Dietary manager certificate to go along with it. I may do just to have it but I am really interested in working with people making dietary plans, and doing lectures or classes rather than supervising employees in a hospital or nursing home setting. I would still consider making those dietary plans via computer in care setting. I am just not excited about managing employees. The exception might be working for a grade school. I think school lunch programs need help. I want to focus on helping people.

I am attending a community college (you do coop while there) the credits do tranfer to a local 4 year university where you can get a bachelor's (or beyond)to become a nutritionist. I am willing to continue to a bachelors at slow pace or taking online classes until I finish. However, I am already in my 40's and I would want to get to work after I graduate with the associates. I am looking getting a job with some place like Weight Watchers or the like to get related experience while I am in school so it would be easier to get a community health position. We have public health clinics that I would be aiming for.

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 Post subject: Re: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as on
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:19 pm 
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That's great that the program prepares you for all that, but will you actually be able to get a job doing it? Those are essentially the same things that my master's degree has prepared me for. Find out what sort of jobs their graduates have gone on to with only the associates. Even with a masters in nutrition and a registered dietitian license, I'm having a hard time finding an entry level position after graduation. You should look into WIC nutritionist positions. WIC hires RDs, but also nutritionists without RDs.

I think one of the first things you should do it look around for jobs you think you'd like and try to find out what sort of qualifications/experience you'd need to get those jobs. I don't want to be discouraging, but I feel like your associate's program might be offering more than is really feasible with an AA/AS degree. In the jobs I've been applying for degrees and licenses are important, but so is experience. If you can volunteer somewhere that you'd love to work while you're in school, you'd probably have a good shot of getting a job there. A lot of getting your first position in the field is about who you know.

(ps you can take what i say with a grain of salt if you want. i'm just a little discouraged because i don't have a job..)

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 Post subject: Re: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as on
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:26 pm 
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It appears a dietary technician is someone who works under the direction of a dietician. I'm not familiar with that job or how much in demand it is, it can vary by your location.

I decided to look up the jobs in Monster.com to gauge how in demand the jobs are and honestly, it doesn't look good.

For the dietary technician job and there are 2 listings for the entire US.

Another job listed was a dietary aide (and there were 57 positions in the US) which looks to be more of a cook type person and requires a high school diploma. I also looked at dietary manager which looks to have 34 positions in the US. Those seem to require experience along with the dietary manager certification.

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 Post subject: Re: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as on
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:31 pm 
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On a more positive note, I should add that getting an AA in dietetics is a good place to start because if you find that you can't get the job you want with that degree, you'll be all set to get a bachelors degree without having to start all over.

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 Post subject: Re: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as on
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:38 pm 
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I hear you on that. That is a concern of mine I've been reading government info that seem to imply a higher degree is definitely desirable. The other program my prerequisite classes will prepare me for is Respiratory Therapy. Probably guaranteed employment but not so exciting to me. So I am weighing this over the next few months. The advisor for the dietary program has all sorts of titles behind her name so I'd like to hope she can tell me what is realistic these days for my local area.

BTW I live in the Midwest someone I know gets listings for Community Dietician oriented jobs fairly often if you are willing to relocate I will forward them to you. Hopefully one day I will need the listings but for now I don't.

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 Post subject: Re: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as on
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:02 pm 
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One thing I had also considered was a Masters in Public Health. Not exactly the same, but I've heard about some cool things being done at the community level. I didn't wind up going that route, so I don't have anything else to offer.


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 Post subject: Re: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as on
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:05 pm 
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Hi Sophiagrt- here is a suggestion that is not about dietetics/nutrition at all, but if you are looking for something in healthcare with an associates, you might want to consider becoming a PT Assistant.

I graduated and took my national test this past summer, & am now a new grad in the field. I really love it! Some patient populations do require a lot of heavy lifting (acute care, skilled nursing) but others don't at all (ortho/outpatient, pediatrics). I am really enjoying my new profession. The job outlook is great, even in this economy. (I think most job lists back this up, & literally 1/2 my class had jobs before we graduated. I had a few to choose from in my area). You can earn a decent living, as well. However, I will also add that my program was the most stressful thing I've done, & was also very competitive to get into.

Anyway, it's another option you might consider if you want to help folks for a living. Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as on
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:12 pm 
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I was just going to post that I think a PTA is a good option. When I initially thought about doing a career change, PT was the first thing I thought of but then changed my mind (that happens a lot).

I'm a drop out but for 2 years, I took some prereq classes for a career change (nursing). I stopped short of my last prereq class because I lost the desire. It was a hard thing for me to stop but I just wanted to think about things before I made the next step. Also, the job market is especially tough for where we might be moving within the next 2 years.

I looked into a variety of health related careers, and occupational therapist (MS degree) was another one that caught my interest but there are also OTA (Occupational therapist Assistant - AA/AS degree). I'm pretty sure I found the school you are going to and it looks like they have an OTA program as well.

I'm in a bit of a paralysis right now but that is partly because the job market sucks, my job started to improve and I realized there are other things I might want to do first.

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 Post subject: Re: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as on
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:19 pm 
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On the subject of PTA, it may depend on where you live but where I am it is even harder to get into a PTA program than it is to get into Nursing. It is a growing, awesome field, helping others, and I do plan to pursue it, but it can take years to get admitted.
To the OP, I think it's great that you're exploring some options, taking some classes, and figuring out what you want to be when you grow up! You might have some fun starting a blog if you haven't yet, and you could post vegan nutrition and meal information to help people interested in transitioning to veganism.

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 Post subject: Re: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as on
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:27 am 
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I would also recommend seeing if you can volunteer or shadow people who you think do what you want to do. I really thought I would want to work in a hospital setting after my brother had to see dietitians during his three month stay. Then I volunteered at a hospital and realized the actual job was not for me. Working at the farmers market was a lot more aligned with what I was interested in. When I moved to California I was able to work with farmers, distribute recipes, talk to customers about diet and I taught nutrition classes. I could have done all that without my degree, although it definitely helped. I will be honest here though. I live in the Bay Area and it is extremely expensive to Live here and I did it make much money at all. I also don't know if this kind of position is really available elsewhere. I worked for a farmers market in flint, mi one day a week and same in Washington, D.C. Being a bit older now I think I would have spent a little more time doing some research before jumping into a deree and now having a bunch of student debt. I'm not trying to be pessimistic, just honest. Before investing the time make sure you would be able to do what you like. The hospital I volunteered at was in a poor inner city. The patients we saw were pretty critical and really were to concerned about their diet at that point.


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 Post subject: Re: Would like to become a dietician- does anyone work as on
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:33 am 
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lb, that so similar to the experience i had in the hospital! people who are critically ill are not at a stage where they are concerned about changing their diet. they need to get well enough to go home first! in my opinion the only place in the hospital where dietitians make a difference is for tube feedings, which I actually find really interesting, but VERY depressing! I like working with people. I like talking about food and cooking and helping people enjoy healthy food. None of those things are relevant in the hospital.

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