Hello all! I cant believe this site exists and wish I had found it sooner! I consider myself quite passionate about eating right and believe it plays a huge role in preventing many illnesses. That being said, I would love to help educate people and motivate them to eat better. Thus, dietetics has always been a career path I wanted pursue. However my parents and close friends urged me into nursing because of better pay and job prospects. Well, 2 miserable semesters later I left because I ultimately realized I could no longer continue with nursing when my heart wasn't in it.

I've recently returned back to RD after considering other suggestions like PA/PT/Pharm. Needless to say, I recently spoke with a close family friend about going back to dietetics and she's strongly trying to get me to reconsider. It's hard not to heed their opinion when I know they just want what's best for me. I'm 26 and according to them it's too much of a risk compared to other in demand medical professions. Is the dietetics field really that bad? All I hear is they don't make any money but 50K seems decent to me. I've also been told by some in the medical field that RDs aren't taken seriously because other employees can also consult on nutrition. I know I shouldn't take it seriously unless I hear all this directly from RDs but it has tainted my aspirations to the point where I'm not sure I want to do it anymore. I want to enjoy my work but I'd also like the peace of mind of job security and not have to struggle finding work after school.

My overall question is do you regret becoming an RD? Was it hard finding a job after graduation? I'll be getting my masters in dietetics but not sure what my undergrad should be as a good foundation.
Sorry for the long post, I'm just feeling quite discouraged atm.
Thanks for reading

Hello all! I cant believe this site exists and wish I had found it sooner! I consider myself quite passionate about eating right and believe it plays a huge role in preventing many illnesses. That being said, I would love to help educate people and motivate them to eat better. Thus, dietetics has always been a career path I wanted pursue. However my parents and close friends urged me into nursing because of better pay and job prospects. Well, 2 miserable semesters later I left because I ultimately realized I could no longer continue with nursing when my heart wasn't in it. I've recently returned back to RD after considering other suggestions like PA/PT/Pharm. Needless to say, I recently spoke with a close family friend about going back to dietetics and she's strongly trying to get me to reconsider. It's hard not to heed their opinion when I know they just want what's best for me. I'm 26 and according to them it's too much of a risk compared to other in demand medical professions. Is the dietetics field really that bad? All I hear is they don't make any money but 50K seems decent to me. I've also been told by some in the medical field that RDs aren't taken seriously because other employees can also consult on nutrition. I know I shouldn't take it seriously unless I hear all this directly from RDs but it has tainted my aspirations to the point where I'm not sure I want to do it anymore. I want to enjoy my work but I'd also like the peace of mind of job security and not have to struggle finding work after school. My overall question is do you regret becoming an RD? Was it hard finding a job after graduation? I'll be getting my masters in dietetics but not sure what my undergrad should be as a good foundation. Sorry for the long post, I'm just feeling quite discouraged atm. Thanks for reading

Absolutely no regrets. I went back to school and got my Masters degree when I was 27. I have been practicing for 7 years in clinical/outpatient. I did a few years of long term care (nursing home) consulting, which was much more profitable, but not really up my alley.

Would I like to make 80K a year? Absolutely! However, I am not interested in doing rectal exams, administering medications, or working overnights/weekends. I think everything has a trade-off.

I did not have a hard time finding a job, but I did have to make a 45min commute. So, if you are willing to be flexible, you will have a much easier time. In terms of being taken seriously, you make a name for yourself. If the other staff know you and can have an open discussion about a patient with you, they will get credibility and they will consult you. In bigger hospitals, you may have the opportunity to specialize in a certain area, and then you really become an integral part of the team.

If you are thinking about outpatient education, be aware that most of your patients will not be gung-ho about meeting with you. In most cases, they are going because their doctor is making them. A lot of cases involve folks who lack motivation and have social issues playing a role as well. But, every once in while, you will get someone that you can really help, so that makes it worth it.

If you are unsure, I would suggest seeing if you can find an RD in your area that you can shadow for a few hours. Do a job search right now in your area. Contracting companies (Aramark, Sodexo, Morrison) are very open to hiring new grads. In terms of undergrad, you can look into nutrition (obviously), but you make want to look and see if public health or biochemistry may interest you.

Good luck!

Absolutely no regrets. I went back to school and got my Masters degree when I was 27. I have been practicing for 7 years in clinical/outpatient. I did a few years of long term care (nursing home) consulting, which was much more profitable, but not really up my alley. Would I like to make 80K a year? Absolutely! However, I am not interested in doing rectal exams, administering medications, or working overnights/weekends. I think everything has a trade-off. I did not have a hard time finding a job, but I did have to make a 45min commute. So, if you are willing to be flexible, you will have a much easier time. In terms of being taken seriously, you make a name for yourself. If the other staff know you and can have an open discussion about a patient with you, they will get credibility and they will consult you. In bigger hospitals, you may have the opportunity to specialize in a certain area, and then you really become an integral part of the team. If you are thinking about outpatient education, be aware that most of your patients will not be gung-ho about meeting with you. In most cases, they are going because their doctor is making them. A lot of cases involve folks who lack motivation and have social issues playing a role as well. But, every once in while, you will get someone that you can really help, so that makes it worth it. If you are unsure, I would suggest seeing if you can find an RD in your area that you can shadow for a few hours. Do a job search right now in your area. Contracting companies (Aramark, Sodexo, Morrison) are very open to hiring new grads. In terms of undergrad, you can look into nutrition (obviously), but you make want to look and see if public health or biochemistry may interest you. Good luck!

Hi xpd153,

First, go with what drives you, and your passion will result in your success. The future is bright for our profession, and you have a great background (nursing school). Do not chase money. After a few years, cash will not compensate you for hating what you do. Many schools will require you to have an undergrad in nutrition, prior to going for your masters, so be sure to look into the requirements. Have you ever thought about a dual undergrad? Get your BSN and your BS in nutrition. This might take just a little longer, but not much, as there will be some overlap in classes. You will be in high demand.

As far as not being taken seriously, this is up to you. If you know your stuff, as racho states, MD's will seek you out for advice, or to counsel their patients. If I am around an individual who is not credentialed or licensed, I will be more than happy to correct them and step on their feet. They should not be dispensing nutritional information just because they took a weekend course or a few classes in college. Harm could come to the patient that way.

If this is your passion, then go for it. Do not be discouraged by naysayers who know whats best for you. Nothing great was ever achieved by playing it safe. Do what drives you and work will find you.

Hi xpd153, First, go with what drives you, and your passion will result in your success. The future is bright for our profession, and you have a great background (nursing school). Do not chase money. After a few years, cash will not compensate you for hating what you do. Many schools will require you to have an undergrad in nutrition, prior to going for your masters, so be sure to look into the requirements. Have you ever thought about a dual undergrad? Get your BSN and your BS in nutrition. This might take just a little longer, but not much, as there will be some overlap in classes. You will be in high demand. As far as not being taken seriously, this is up to you. If you know your stuff, as racho states, MD's will seek you out for advice, or to counsel their patients. If I am around an individual who is not credentialed or licensed, I will be more than happy to correct them and step on their feet. They should not be dispensing nutritional information just because they took a weekend course or a few classes in college. Harm could come to the patient that way. If this is your passion, then go for it. Do not be discouraged by naysayers who know whats best for you. Nothing great was ever achieved by playing it safe. Do what drives you and work will find you.

Hello!

I don't regret becoming an RD, although I have had real issues in finding a job. Upon graduating, it took me 5 months to find a job and unfortunately, it was the most horrible job of my life. While at that job, I have been applying to other jobs for 1.5 years and to this day, still unable to get anything else. I have Master's in Public Health as well.

I have to disagree that RDs aren't taken seriously. I was literally the show runner at the nursing home I worked at. The reason I hated it is because money hungry owners of that nursing home only worried about how to get more money and didn't care if that involved unethical practices. I wasn't the only one who suffered at that place. Every single professional suffered and people were leaving left and right.

The only time when another professional did my job was a physician or a physician assistant and that was only for changing up the TPN order or ordering a supplement. Otherwise, I was always consulted and my opinion was extremely valuable. I never had a time when a doctor didn't approve of my recommendation.

As far as money, straight out of school, I was offered 52K however, one of the interviews I went to, they said they offer 40K to start but majority were 47-50K.

You mention that your family pushed you into nursing due to better pay and job prospects. I'm not sure about that because I have a bunch of RN friends who have real struggles in finding a job and don't make any more than me or just a little more (for the work they have to do...).

I don't think you're too old to go back to school for dietetics. It is risky but what isn't? I had a classmate who was a retired dentist going back to school for an RD because he never wanted to be a dentist but his parents pushed him into it.

With that said, I think the grass is not always greener on the other side and you should pursue what YOU are passionate about. There's so much that you can do as an RD!

Good luck!

Hello! I don't regret becoming an RD, although I have had real issues in finding a job. Upon graduating, it took me 5 months to find a job and unfortunately, it was the most horrible job of my life. While at that job, I have been applying to other jobs for 1.5 years and to this day, still unable to get anything else. I have Master's in Public Health as well. I have to disagree that RDs aren't taken seriously. I was literally the show runner at the nursing home I worked at. The reason I hated it is because money hungry owners of that nursing home only worried about how to get more money and didn't care if that involved unethical practices. I wasn't the only one who suffered at that place. Every single professional suffered and people were leaving left and right. The only time when another professional did my job was a physician or a physician assistant and that was only for changing up the TPN order or ordering a supplement. Otherwise, I was always consulted and my opinion was extremely valuable. I never had a time when a doctor didn't approve of my recommendation. As far as money, straight out of school, I was offered 52K however, one of the interviews I went to, they said they offer 40K to start but majority were 47-50K. You mention that your family pushed you into nursing due to better pay and job prospects. I'm not sure about that because I have a bunch of RN friends who have real struggles in finding a job and don't make any more than me or just a little more (for the work they have to do...). I don't think you're too old to go back to school for dietetics. It is risky but what isn't? I had a classmate who was a retired dentist going back to school for an RD because he never wanted to be a dentist but his parents pushed him into it. With that said, I think the grass is not always greener on the other side and you should pursue what YOU are passionate about. There's so much that you can do as an RD! Good luck!

I am a dietitian with three years of experience who decided to return to school do my accelerated BSN. The reason I returned to school was dietitian’s have a very limited and poorly defined scope of practice, many other health professionals can/will do our jobs for us, I saw few opportunities for advancement and growth, and the low pay.

Regardless of what you decide, please understand that to become a dietitian you must complete a 4 year undergrad degree and then, in your final semester, apply to an internship. There is a 50% acceptance rate, with the competitive programs being closer to 10%. You cannot work as an RD if you do not complete an internship. You are expected to pay for the internship, but you will be working full time for the school/hospital. Financial aid does not always cover this program. Additionally, the Commission on Dietetic Registration is now requiring a masters. So you will have to complete 4 years of undergrad +1 year internship +2 years masters. I started at $14/hr (no masters). Most dietitians I know who have masters make $45,000-50,000. Plan accordingly.

I am a dietitian with three years of experience who decided to return to school do my accelerated BSN. The reason I returned to school was dietitian’s have a very limited and poorly defined scope of practice, many other health professionals can/will do our jobs for us, I saw few opportunities for advancement and growth, and the low pay. Regardless of what you decide, please understand that to become a dietitian you must complete a 4 year undergrad degree and then, in your final semester, apply to an internship. There is a 50% acceptance rate, with the competitive programs being closer to 10%. You cannot work as an RD if you do not complete an internship. You are expected to pay for the internship, but you will be working full time for the school/hospital. Financial aid does not always cover this program. Additionally, the Commission on Dietetic Registration is now requiring a masters. So you will have to complete 4 years of undergrad +1 year internship +2 years masters. I started at $14/hr (no masters). Most dietitians I know who have masters make $45,000-50,000. Plan accordingly.

I am in the early stages of considering leaving the profession. I have 2 years experience - one year as a clinical dietitian and another in a community/geriatric setting. I graduated with a bachelor degree summa cum laude and was lucky to get my first choice internship. Nevertheless, after all that work, I can't help but feel useless in both the positions. In my clinical role, I felt I was just the Ensure gatekeeper. I liked nutrition support in the ICU but was frustrated with the inability of dietitians to write orders. Also, I often felt unappreciated by the other disciplines. My department did all this education and PI projects to update the other disciplines on new ASPEN guidelines and no one was interested or made changes (we couldn't make the changes ourself because we couldn't write orders). I left that job for another education based position thinking I would have more of an opportunity to make an impact (and 15K more). Again, I'm the Ensure gatekeeper. Also, I haven't seen the education I do make an impact. I keep reading epidemiological studies on nutrition education being an ineffective treatment for obesity. I'm starting to believe it unfortunately. I'm about 0/20 in having a successful weight loss among anyone I see regularly. Most won't even do a food journal.

It's easy to say the money doesn't matter now. It matters when your student loans come in and you want your own apartment but can't afford it. 45 -50k sounds like a lot now but when a nice chunk of that goes to taxes -it's not.

I know this is negative but I am just telling you what I wish someone said to me.

I am in the early stages of considering leaving the profession. I have 2 years experience - one year as a clinical dietitian and another in a community/geriatric setting. I graduated with a bachelor degree summa cum laude and was lucky to get my first choice internship. Nevertheless, after all that work, I can't help but feel useless in both the positions. In my clinical role, I felt I was just the Ensure gatekeeper. I liked nutrition support in the ICU but was frustrated with the inability of dietitians to write orders. Also, I often felt unappreciated by the other disciplines. My department did all this education and PI projects to update the other disciplines on new ASPEN guidelines and no one was interested or made changes (we couldn't make the changes ourself because we couldn't write orders). I left that job for another education based position thinking I would have more of an opportunity to make an impact (and 15K more). Again, I'm the Ensure gatekeeper. Also, I haven't seen the education I do make an impact. I keep reading epidemiological studies on nutrition education being an ineffective treatment for obesity. I'm starting to believe it unfortunately. I'm about 0/20 in having a successful weight loss among anyone I see regularly. Most won't even do a food journal. It's easy to say the money doesn't matter now. It matters when your student loans come in and you want your own apartment but can't afford it. 45 -50k sounds like a lot now but when a nice chunk of that goes to taxes -it's not. I know this is negative but I am just telling you what I wish someone said to me.

I feel you are right but am hoping this changes sooner than later. When I was in clinical all I did was give juven or ensure and educate patients that did not want to be educated. I did not enjoy my time in the hospital and the pay was not great.

I feel you are right but am hoping this changes sooner than later. When I was in clinical all I did was give juven or ensure and educate patients that did not want to be educated. I did not enjoy my time in the hospital and the pay was not great.

Wait you started at $14/H?? I have never heard of an RD getting that low hourly rate. What region and in what setting? Even in more rural regions known for being lower, the lowest I have ever seen was $17-19/H for someone with no experience...

Wait you started at $14/H?? I have never heard of an RD getting that low hourly rate. What region and in what setting? Even in more rural regions known for being lower, the lowest I have ever seen was $17-19/H for someone with no experience...

I have definitely have had my times of doubt, but have fought to get to where I am now and want to tell you that there is hope. I started as a Diet Tech in inpatient and LTC making $12.25/H right out of school with only my BS in nutrition. When I left there after about 2 years, I was only making $13.50/H. I then did a distance learning internship to save money and got a position as a hospital RD making $21.63/H starting out per diem. Since I was per diem, I accepted two other consulting jobs in a short-term rehabilitation hospital and a small LTC, the former paying $23/H and the latter $28/H. I then was offered full time at my clinical position and was able to use the fact that I was getting higher pay at the consulting jobs (that I would need to give up) to get a higher salary than the other RDs. That bought me up to $47,500/year or about 22.83/H. I was then offered a position in LTC at $52,000/year and was able to negotiate it up to $53,500/year by stating I would be leaving a full time job with lots of benefits. I left the LTC position at $54,300 and got offered a position as a CNM in inpatient and outpatient setting (which was at a very small hospital so I did it all) starting at $57,500. I used the AND salary calculator to defend my case that I should be getting at least $60,000 to start for that position in that area, and they came back and actually ended up giving me $61,500. I then was able to secure a position as a Director of Dietary in LTC starting at $65,000 and going up to $70,000 after the initial 3 month period. In between all of this, I accepted multiple consulting gigs between $30-41/H with mileage and lodging paid to make extra cash on top of my full time job. The point of all of this is to tell you that we can get higher pay, but you have to be willing to ask and negotiate. It has worked for me every time. I even have gotten relocation because I asked (when the position specifically said it did not offer that). I think as a profession we have to be more bold and willing to go out of our comfort zones to get what we want. I know so many RDs who complain about our low pay but never do anything about it. We need to fight for our respect and higher pay. And never forget that you can ALWAYS consult or have your own private practice. It is something I have always wanted to do full time but am not quite there yet with my financial stability.

I have definitely have had my times of doubt, but have fought to get to where I am now and want to tell you that there is hope. I started as a Diet Tech in inpatient and LTC making $12.25/H right out of school with only my BS in nutrition. When I left there after about 2 years, I was only making $13.50/H. I then did a distance learning internship to save money and got a position as a hospital RD making $21.63/H starting out per diem. Since I was per diem, I accepted two other consulting jobs in a short-term rehabilitation hospital and a small LTC, the former paying $23/H and the latter $28/H. I then was offered full time at my clinical position and was able to use the fact that I was getting higher pay at the consulting jobs (that I would need to give up) to get a higher salary than the other RDs. That bought me up to $47,500/year or about 22.83/H. I was then offered a position in LTC at $52,000/year and was able to negotiate it up to $53,500/year by stating I would be leaving a full time job with lots of benefits. I left the LTC position at $54,300 and got offered a position as a CNM in inpatient and outpatient setting (which was at a very small hospital so I did it all) starting at $57,500. I used the AND salary calculator to defend my case that I should be getting at least $60,000 to start for that position in that area, and they came back and actually ended up giving me $61,500. I then was able to secure a position as a Director of Dietary in LTC starting at $65,000 and going up to $70,000 after the initial 3 month period. In between all of this, I accepted multiple consulting gigs between $30-41/H with mileage and lodging paid to make extra cash on top of my full time job. The point of all of this is to tell you that we can get higher pay, but you have to be willing to ask and negotiate. It has worked for me every time. I even have gotten relocation because I asked (when the position specifically said it did not offer that). I think as a profession we have to be more bold and willing to go out of our comfort zones to get what we want. I know so many RDs who complain about our low pay but never do anything about it. We need to fight for our respect and higher pay. And never forget that you can ALWAYS consult or have your own private practice. It is something I have always wanted to do full time but am not quite there yet with my financial stability.
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