What is a Registered Dietitian?
The title "dietitian" is legally protected in each province so that only qualified practitioners who have met specific education and practice requirements can use this title. The term “registered” dietitian refers to a person who is registered with the provincial regulatory body in the province where he or she is working. The professional designation RD, RDN, PDt or RDt (or the French equivalent Dt.P.) indicates a Registered Dietitian.
Why Become a Registered Dietitian?
Dietitians are regulated health professionals who work within health promotion, disease prevention and treatment programs. Dietitians work in a variety of settings such as the community where prevention is key, hospitals or long term care facilities where treatment and/or prevention is the goal, or food service where providing safe, healthy food choices is the primary goal. Often these areas overlap, so it is important to gain experience in all areas. In order to work as a professional within these areas, one must be a Registered Dietitian. Nutritionists and food service supervisors also work in these areas, but report to a Registered Dietitian, Clinical Manager or a Director of Food and Nutrition Services.
Dietitians also work in other areas. The food industry, pharmaceutical companies, and government hire dietitians to assist with nutrition promotion, assessment or consultation. Some dietitians continue their education at the graduate level in universities to obtain a Masters or Doctorate degree. The graduate degree enables the dietitian to become a director of an internship program, teach at universities or engage in research related to food, nutrition and/or education.
The yearly income for a dietitian varies. Recently advertised positions range from $40,000 to $75,000 yearly.
How Do I Become a Registered Dietitian?
To become a dietitian, you must graduate from an undergraduate program accredited by the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice (PDEP), and then complete one of the approved Dietetic Practicum Programs or combined Masters/Practicum programs across the country. This dietetic education program in the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba is an accredited program recognized by the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice (PDEP) that allows eligible students to apply for Post-Degree Dietetic Practicum programs. After successful completion of an accredited Practicum program, the final steps are to pass the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination (CDRE) and apply to the provincial regulatory body for registered dietitian status. For more information, check out: www.dieticians.ca/Become-a-Dietitian.aspx
Purpose of Dietetic Practicum Programs
“A practicum program provides supervised practical learning experiences which enables students to apply their academic knowledge gained in university in practice based settings required to be a competent entry-level dietician.
A dietetic practicum internship provides practical experience that is necessary for you to qualify as a Registered Dietitian. Programs vary in length. The rotations within a program will typically include various client populations and learning experiences (e.g., general medicine, diabetes education, pediatric and geriatric care, community nutrition, menu planning, budgeting, quality improvement, and human resource management). In each clinical area you will learn to provide nutritional care (assess, plan and evaluate) to specific groups of patients/clients.
For more information visit the DC (www.dietitians.ca) and PDEP (www.pdep.ca) websites.
Applying for Dietetic Practicum Programs
Apply to an undergraduate nutrition program accredited by PDEP. Program options can be found by visiting the list of accredited programs in Canada on the PDEP website. Each program differs in the requirements to apply. It is recommended to visit each program website to determine your eligibility.
Learn more about dietetics by joining Dietitians of Canada as a student member. Gain experience related to dietetics, paid and volunteer positions can both provide relevant experience. Focus on the skills you develop and your knowledge of the dietetics profession. Opportunities exist in hospitals, long-term care facilities, food service, industry or the community. Experience in delivering nutrition education is often gained through organizations such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba, Canadian Diabetes Association, Osteoporosis Society of Manitoba, Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month Programming and others. Remember the importance of quality experiences versus quantity.
Build good working relationships with employers, volunteer supervisors, dietitians and professors. These people are helpful when you require confidential reference reports for application to dietetic practicum programs.
- Click here for information from Dietitians of Canada
Why should you join Dietitians of Canada as a dietetics student? To become a student member of Dietitians of Canada.
- If you are an International student graduate from Human Nutritional Sciences and are interested in applying for an internship, click here and here for more information.
- Click here for information from the College of Dietitians of Manitoba
- College of Dietitians of Manitoba
36-1313 Border St.
Winnipeg, MB, R3H 0X4
For more information or if you have a question, please send us an email.
Cover Letter/Resume Writing Workshops at Career Services:
Cover Letter/Resume Writing group sessions will be offered through Career Services for students applying for Dietetic Practicum Programs. The sessions will take place in 474 University Centre. Register on careerCONNECT