How I Became a Registered Dietitian

Being a dietitian is not my first career. I had graduated from Pace University in Downtown New York City with a Bachelors in Marketing and Finance plus a minor in Management.  I got my first job before I even graduated and I thought I would be in marketing forever. Then, one day, I woke up and marketing was no longer my passion. Corporate life was burning me out, my long life goals were not going as planned, I quit. I took a year and I travelled the world for a year.  I island hopped in Greece, ate ice cream because it was too cold in Chicago. I love WWII history and I went to visit a concentration camp in the Czech Republic. I traveled the world, to find what life was like outside of the USA. I traveled the world to feel alive again. As they say...Eat well, travel often. Do more than just exist... and that is exactly what I did. 

Eventually, it was time for me to return back to the real world. And I thought about being a doctor. I wanted to help people, I saw so many others helping others while I was doing my own version of Eat. Pray. Love. I came across an article talking about multidisciplinary teams. And who makes up these teams. And that was when I discovered what a registered dietitian was. I began my search on how "easy" it was to become a registered dietitian. So how does one become a registered dietitian?

  1. Get a bachelors degree from one of the accredited universities/colleges that has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). NOTE: By year 2020, it will likely be required you obtain a masters so keep this in mind when you're looking into becoming a dietitian.

  2. Completed dietetic internship hours.

  3. After completely the dietetic internship your university/college will send in a package to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and from there you will receive a letter stating you qualify to sit for the national exam.

  4. Pass the exam!

As I tell my interns and volunteers, you really should do research on programs you might be interested in. You can look here to search of possible programs. There are a number of ways people obtain their dietetics degree and become a registered dietitian. Currently there are a number of new programs popping up offering dietetic students an opportunity to be a dietitian through a distant learning program.

For me, I decided that I was definitely going to get my masters and preferred a coordinated program instead of a didactic program. I already held a bachelors in business (marketing/finance). After receiving my acceptance letter to D'Youville College in Buffalo, NY I began my journey to obtain my BS/MS through a coordinated program in January 2012. In August 2015, I was approved to take my credentialing exam. In September 2015, I passed my exam and accepted my first job as WIC Registered Dietitian in Parlier, CA. 

To this day, I do not regret obtaining my dietetics degree.

Julie Ching