Dietitian/Nutritionist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Plans and conducts food service or nutritional programs to assist in the promotion of health and control of disease. May supervise activities of a department providing quantity food services, counsel individuals, or conduct nutritional research.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Monitors food service operations to ensure conformance to nutritional, safety, sanitation and quality standards.
  • Assesses nutritional needs, diet restrictions and current health plans to develop and implement dietary-care plans and provide nutritional counseling.
  • Advises patients and their families on nutritional principles, dietary plans and diet modifications, and food selection and preparation.
  • Counsels individuals and groups on basic rules of good nutrition, healthy eating habits, and nutrition monitoring to improve their quality of life.
  • Consults with physicians and health care personnel to determine nutritional needs and diet restrictions of patient or client.
  • Plans, conducts, and evaluates dietary, nutritional, and epidemiological research.
  • Writes research reports and other publications to document and communicate research findings.
  • Purchases food in accordance with health and safety codes.
  • Manages quantity food service departments or clinical and community nutrition services.
  • Coordinates diet counseling services.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Diabetes Educator -- Helps people who have or are at risk of developing diabetes learn about the disease and develop the skills they need to manage it successfully by modifying their own behavior.
  • Holistic Nutritionist -- Focuses on how food and diet affect a person's emotional, physical and spiritual well-being, advocating eating 'whole' or natural foods that are minimally processed and minus any artificial additives or preservatives.
  • Pediatric Dietician -- Specializes in the proper nutritional care of infants and young active pre-adolescent youth who require diets that have more developmental, muscle-building and immunity strengthening ingredients than are needed by adults
  • Sports Nutritionist -- Designs menus, recommends vitamins and supplements, and provides nutritional advice for athletes.