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Career Talk: Advice on becoming a dietitian
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03/26/08 06:07 PM | Edit ReplyReply   |    Advice on becoming a dietitian
sawahisawesome
4 Posts

Registered Dietitian

Hello! So i'm about to graduate from high school and i was really interested in persuing a career as a pediatric dietititan. I looked up the salary for Texas and I saw that they didn't make as much as I'd hope to make. I was wondering if there are any similar jobs that could possibly make more? Also, can you move up the ladder being a pediatric dietitian? If any one has advice it would be greatly appreciated! thank you! :)

03/31/08 05:32 PM | Edit ReplyReply   |    hello
veggieg
5 Posts
IN
Registered Dietitian

Unfortunately, the pay isn't that great for dietitians, unless you are at the phd level. I love dietetics but to be honest, I am very discouraged with the salary, lack of advancement, and job opportunities. I'd highly recommend contacting a local hospital and shadowing a dietitian for a day so you have a better idea about the work that is involved.

As far as becoming a pediatric dietitian you will need to first become a registered dietitian, get a masters, and it would be extremely beneficial to complete a pediatric fellowship program.

Good luck!

04/25/08 04:47 PM | Edit ReplyReply   |    RE: Advice on becoming a dietitian
sallykitty
21 Posts
Elburn IL
Registered Dietitian

I would suggest that you look into becoming a nurse instead. Because food service companies are taking over most of the business in hospitals, money is the bottom line. This means that less dietitians are being hired and the ones at the hospital have to do alot more work. The newer criteria of charting on patients based on risk level, has meant that you never see everyone and can't spend much time with those you do see. Over the years, I feel that dietetics has become less fulfilling because now I spend most of my day typing in the medical records. I basically have become a glorified typist. Actually, I was working with a dietitian who never saw patients-just charted notes from her office and the management didn't care! Dietitians also do not get much respect-no one even knows what a dietitian does. And ask a doctor if they know where to find your notes in the medical record and they will tell you they don't know--and then not even show an interest in finding them. After all the years it takes to become a dietitian, the pay is not worth it. And when you become more experienced, you will not find a job because they can find someone just out of school that they can pay less to. The last job I applied for, there were 25 applicants and the job went to someone who was not even finished with her internship! Nutrition can be an interest-even a hobby-but don't make it your job....

04/25/08 07:49 PM | Edit ReplyReply   |    Re: becoming a dietitian
afwRD
27 Posts
SC
Registered Dietitian

Dietetics can be a very rewarding career. I personally can't imagine doing anything else. Salaries are an issue, but there are jobs out there that pay well depending on what area of dietetics you're working in. I also recommend shadowing a dietitian to see if the work is really something you'll be interested in. If it's really your passion, I think you should go for it. Good luck!

04/25/08 10:18 PM | Edit ReplyReply   |    RE: Advice on becoming a dietitian
CNM02
121 Posts

Registered Dietitian


    Posted by sallykitty:
    I would suggest that you look into becoming a nurse instead. Because food service companies are taking over most of the business in hospitals, money is the bottom line. This means that less dietitians are being hired and the ones at the hospital have to do alot more work. The newer criteria of charting on patients based on risk level, has meant that you never see everyone and can't spend much time with those you do see. Over the years, I feel that dietetics has become less fulfilling because now I spend most of my day typing in the medical records. I basically have become a glorified typist. Actually, I was working with a dietitian who never saw patients-just charted notes from her office and the management didn't care! Dietitians also do not get much respect-no one even knows what a dietitian does. And ask a doctor if they know where to find your notes in the medical record and they will tell you they don't know--and then not even show an interest in finding them. After all the years it takes to become a dietitian, the pay is not worth it. And when you become more experienced, you will not find a job because they can find someone just out of school that they can pay less to. The last job I applied for, there were 25 applicants and the job went to someone who was not even finished with her internship! Nutrition can be an interest-even a hobby-but don't make it your job....

Sorry you have had such bad experiences as a dietitian. I find the career very rewarding. Although the salaries are not equivalent to other professionals such as nursing and pharmacy, money is not everything. I work with physicians that respect me as a professional. The issues within our field are not created by "food service companies" Pay for contract managers in some areas is better than the independent hospital. Food service companies can only do what their clients, the hospital, will allow them to do which includes salary. My advice coming out of school is also to shadow several dietitians in different hospitals and areas if you can. Remember also that dietitians do not just work in hospitals. There are many other fields. If you desire to work with children you might find a career with WIC or school food service rewarding. Yes it can be frustrating if the doctors do not take recommendations, but that is a process issue. The process of expecting the doctor to find a dietitian note and read it needs to change. Other professionals call the physician and obtain an order for what is needed for a patient. Unfortunately we have congress to thank for the requirement that everything be typed in the computer. It was part of the HIPPA legislation that all go to paperless system. Eventually the doctors will also be required to type their information in the computer also. They will have to enter orders for medications in the computer. Sorry also that you have a dietitian that just types in notes from the office. There is never an excuse for that as an assessment requires a physical examination in person. Eventually the right person will notice and hopefully the person will not only lose their job, but their license to practice. Please coming out of high school do not let the negativity of some influence your decision. Yes we do not make $80,000 like nursing or $100,000 like pharmacists, but choose a career not based on a salary, but where your heart takes you. How can you make in impact in the lives of others? Some of us are quite successful and happy making a difference in the lives of others. Shadow, shadow, shadow in all areas you can find- hospitals, WIC, school food service, cooperative extension and even food manufacturers such as general mills as dietitians can make a huge difference especially with children.

04/30/08 08:14 PM | Edit ReplyReply   |    career
ayeze
2 Posts
Raleigh NC
Registered Dietitian

Agree with prior comments on salary, yes it is not about money but what do you do when you are supporting a family and your wife had a baby and has not been in a steady job for 4-6 months. It should not matter what sex a person is but the bottom line it is very difficult to support a family in this field. I always have to have 2 jobs and sometimes 3. It is a very interesting field and if you have passion for you should go for it and if you want to make money you have to make it happen your self, but the bottom line is if you love the field (try to volunteer) then you should go for it.

05/01/08 02:32 PM | Edit ReplyReply   |    RE: career
26faster
70 Posts

Registered Dietitian

Hello! I too agree that bottom line it is very hard to support yourself much less a family on an RD salary. I too have had 2 jobs for much of my career thus far and have often thought about a career change.

Shadowing is a great idea to really get a feel for what a typical day is like. I do think though every profession has it's mundane/not fun/rewarding aspects. That's why it's called work. Every profession has it's slackers too such as your example of the RD doing her assessments from the office. There are people in every facet of life who will do as little work as they can get away with and others who really make an effort to do their best. I don't think her behavior is a reflection on our field or it's somehow gone down over the years.

If anything we are more vital and provide higher level skills than dietitians in the past have been able to practice and yes we should be compensated better for our skill set. On the bright side most of us aren't working 12 hour shifts or every other weekend like most RNs do.


05/03/08 04:24 PM | Edit ReplyReply   |    RD
peacelove
271 Posts
Atlanta GA
Registered Dietitian

I agree to go for a job that you have a passion for not the money, then the money will follow. it does take time as an RD to make money and gain respect. I , too , have had to work more than one job most of my career, and as a matter of fact due to the inflation of gas and food, i am now back to restaurant work for extra cash! I guess it is good to always have that to fall back on! I have taken the non-traditional route after starting in clinical and although i am not where i am going to be long-term, it is a step in the right direction. Choosing a career based on money alone can set you up for a very unhappy life. do what you love

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