What is the difference between a

Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, and a Health Coach? 

Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) 

  • Completion of a bachelors degree from an accredited college/university (A masters degree will be required as of 2024 for ALL entry level dietitians). 

  • Completion of an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics. 

  • Classes taken include but are not limited to: 

    • Anatomy & Physiology, Organic Chemistry, Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry of Nutrition & Human Metabolism, Food Selection & preparation, Nutrition for Exercise & Sport, Quantity Food Production, Nutrition Through the Life Cycle, Community nutrition, Nutrition Assessment & Education, Food Safety, Food Science, Food Systems Organization & Administration, Management & Organizational Behavior,  ​Research Methods, Medical Nutrition Therapy , Capstone in Dietetics. 

  • 1200+ hours of supervised practice from an ACEND accredited Dietetic Internship which is highly competitive and uses a national computer matching process. 

  • Passing of a national standardized exam to be able to use the credentials RD or RDN. 

  • State Licensure to work in the state, depending on your state. 

  • At least 75 hours of continuing education credit every 5 years for your RD

  • At least 12 hours of continuing education credit every 2 years for your LD (in Texas).

  • Abide by the Code of Ethics 

  • A registered dietitian may also hold specialty certifications that may be obtained after working as a registered dietitian for a certain number of years, obtaining 1000-2000 hours (depending on the certification) specifically working with the certain population, and passing another national certification exam. These certifications may include but are not limited to:

    • Renal Nutrition (CSR), Pediatric Nutrition (CSP), Pediatric Critical Care Nutrition (CSPCC), Sports Dietetics (CSSD), Gerontological Nutrition (CSG), Oncology Nutrition (CSO), Obesity & Weight Management (CSOWM), Nutrition Support (CNSC), Diabetes Educator (CDE), and Advanced Practice in Clinical Nutrition (AP). 

  • Registered dietitians may choose to add the word nutritionist to their title (registered dietitian nutritionist). Their credentials will be RDN. If you ever use a 'nutritionist' make sure there is a RD before it. 

  • We offer a holistic view (we look at ALL factors that impact health) along with motivation, tips & tricks on meal planning and prepping, and accountability that are directly aligned with your medical and health needs while taking into account your medications, health conditions, income level, cooking skills, culture, and kitchen set up. 

Check a registered dietitian's verification here

Find information about state licensure here

Check for a registered dietitians licensure (in Texas) here

Nutritionist 

  • Anyone with any knowledge of nutrition can call themselves a 'nutritionist'. 

  • There are no specific university level class requirements or degrees needed.

  • There is no national exam, credentialing board, or code of ethics that hold a 'nutritionist' accountable to what they say. 

  • Anyone can take an online class and get a paper 'certification'. 

  • There is no national standard or regulation for using the term 'nutritionist'. 

  • 'Nutritionists' cannot legally provide medical nutrition therapy or make a nutrition diagnosis, i.e. they cannot tell an individual what they can/cannot eat in accordance to any health conditions or medication interactions. 

  • They may offer motivation, tips & tricks on meal planning and prepping, and accountability

Health Coach 

  • There are many online programs and trainings that can make someone a health coach. 

  • There is no national standard or regulation for using the phrase health coach. 

  • Health coaches cannot legally provide medical nutrition therapy or make a nutrition diagnosis, i.e. they cannot tell an individual what they can/cannot eat in accordance to any health conditions or medication interactions. 

  • They may offer motivation, tips & tricks on meal planning and prepping, and accountability.

Based in College Station, TX

leahynutritionRD@gmail.com

There's Room at the Table