How to Become a Dietitian

If you enjoy the science of food and nutrition and how it relates to human health, then dietetics is for you. The growing field of dietetics provides challenging opportunities in clinical/hospital, community, management, research, education, private practice, and business settings.

Salary and Employment Expectations

Annual salaries for dietitians vary based on work experience, area of practice, and employer. The average annual income range for a dietitian in Michigan is approximately $45,000 – $55,000 for entry-level.

With their strong background in science, practical experience, master’s degree, completion of a registration exam, and maintenance of continuing education credits, Registered Dietitians are THE nutrition experts. Specialized credentials may be obtained in certain areas like diabetes education, renal nutrition, metabolic support, pediatrics, and enteral and parenteral nutrition support based on experience and years of practice.


How can you become a Registered Dietitian?

  • The degree requirement for an RD is a master’s degree. You must complete an accredited dietetics program and 1000 hours of practical experience through one of three pathways:
    • Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CP). CPs can be at the bachelor’s or graduate level. These programs combine the dietitian coursework and at least 1000 hours of practice in one program.
    • Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) + a Dietetic Internship (DI). DPDs can be at the bachelor’s or graduate level and provide the dietitian coursework. DIs are completed after completing the DPD and provide at least 1000 hours of practical experience.
    • Graduate Program in Nutrition and Dietetics (GP). Graduate-level programs that integrate coursework with at least 1000 hours of experiential learning.
  • Pass a national qualifying examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. After passing the exam, the dietitian may use the credentials – R.D. (registered dietitian) or R.D.N. (registered dietitian nutritionist).
  • Complete mandatory continuing education credits every five years to maintain the credential.
  • Complete details about the pathways mentioned above can be found on the Academy’s About Accredited Programs page.

Southeastern Michigan has approved programs for dietitians available at the following locations:

To find out more about these programs and other dietetic programs in Michigan and across the country, see the Academy’s Program Directory webpage.