Dietitians plan diets for patients and educate people about eating healthy foods. Some dietitians supervise food preparation and service.
There are four main areas of work for dietitians. Management dietitians are in charge of meal planning on a large scale. They generally work in large hospitals, schools, prisons, and cafeterias. Management dietitians hire and train new workers. They also supervise workers who plan, prepare, and serve meals. They inspect the meals their workers prepare. Dietitians assess that the proper nutrients are being supplied. In addition, they check that the food looks and smells good. Their administrative duties include preparing budgets and purchasing food, equipment, and supplies. They also prepare records and reports. Management dietitians check that safety and cleanliness rules are being followed.
Clinical dietitians work in hospitals and nursing homes. They are in charge of providing foods that provide the correct nutrients for patients. Dietitians talk to doctors and health care workers about patients. Based on patients' health and nutritional information, dietitians develop diets. They check that the diets are helping patients get better, and may change the diet when patients are not improving. Dietitians in nursing homes, small hospitals, and jails or prisons may manage the food service department. These dietitians have some of the duties of management dietitians.
Community dietitians work with the public as well as with patients. These dietitians teach classes about diet and nutrition. They plan, organize, and prepare materials for the classes. Some classes cover general nutrition in terms of having good health and preventing disease. Other classes are aimed towards the elderly, children, or people with special needs. Dietitians design these classes to cover specific information that is important to the group. Like clinical dietitians, community dietitians evaluate patients and design their diets. They may check that patients are following their diets at home. Community dietitians work in public health clinics, home health agencies, and health maintenance organizations (HMOs).
Consultant dietitians often run their own business. Like clinical dietitians, they analyze clients' health and offer diet advice. However, consultant dietitians tend to work with people who are not patients. Instead their clients may be healthy or slightly ill and have an interest in changing their diet. Consultant dietitians may work with businesses for short periods as advisors. They offer their knowledge and help businesses make changes or set up new programs.
As more people become interested in nutrition, new jobs are being created. Some dietitians work in food manufacturing companies where they analyze food. Other dietitians work in advertising companies where they prepare information about food. Some dietitians are researchers. They write grant proposals to request funding for research. They also plan and conduct research projects about diet and nutrition. When their research is finished, they analyze their findings and write reports about the results.
Basic licensing requirements are:
- Must be currently registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
- Must have graduated from an accredited college or university in the field of dietetics, food and nutrition or public health.
Licenses expire on October 31 of each year, and may be renewed upon payment of a fee and proof of current registration with the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
For more details contact:
Montana Board of Medical Examiners
301 South Park, 4th Floor
PO Box 200513
Helena, MT 59620-0513
In Montana, about 190 dietitians and nutritionists are working in this medium-sized occupation.
Nationally, about 64,400 dietitians work in this small occupation.
- Nursing homes
- Doctors' offices
- Federal, state, and local government agencies
Wages for dietians are as follows:
Dietians and Nutritionists(SOC 29-1031)
|Region||Wages||Median||Half Earn Between|
|Metropolitan Statistical Areas|
In Montana, employment for dietitians and nutritionists is projected to grow much slower than the statewide average for all occupations through the year 2020.
Nationally, the number of jobs for dietitians is expected to faster than average through the year 2020.
The need for dietitians is expected to increase since people are paying more attention to their eating habits. In addition, the growing population of elderly people will have an effect. Nursing homes, home health agencies, and other groups that work with the elderly will all need dietitians. Job openings will also result from replacing workers who leave the field.
The number of jobs for dietitians in hospitals is expected to grow slowly. Fewer patients are spending the night in hospitals so there is less demand for food. In addition, many hospitals contract out their food service so they do not need dietitians on staff. Employment may also be limited because other workers may substitute for nutritionists. For example, nurses, health educators, and dietetic technicians all could fill in for dietitians.