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Tips for Future Dietitians & Nutritionists

Advice, Nutrition Topics, Wellness

Resources for aspiring dietitians/nutritionistsI’m sharing my story today here for all of you out there who have emailed me asking about my path and how I got to be where I am today. I get emails almost daily from future dietitians, nutritionists, health coaches, current professionals, and people interested going back to school to pursue a degree or work in the field of nutrition. I LOVE that the momentum of dietetics is catching on and the power of what we put in our bodies has such a huge impact on our minds, bodies, and overall health. I’m sharing my top tips!

All in all, I’m completely flattered that I receive this much email from you all asking me about my career path- I’m going to be 100% honest with you- this is just the START of my career path. I have a lot of projects coming up, big goals, dreams, and aspirations that I’ll accomplish in my lifetime. I don’t want any of you to think I’ll “all-knowing” in this field because I’m not, but I sure do work hard, love what I do more than anything, and want to continue to learn. Top 5 Tips:

Get involved.

With professional groups, college groups, volunteering, etc.- this not only gives you a well rounded and open experience, but also is a great resume builder.

Sharpen your focus.

On a specific field or topic of dietetics/nutrition that you want to become an expert in. This may take some time, but if you’re listening to your true self of what makes you happy, go on the path of that.

Communicate.

Keep in touch with advisors, friends, college friends, co-workers, family, friends, etc. You’ll need their support for whatever you choose to do with your career.

Stay savvy.

Think you can go to school as an RD and come out and never study again? Think again. This career is an ever-changing field and requires your expertise, knowledge, and critical thinking skills to continue to be the best you can be.

Think outside the box.

This is the most important for new dietitians and the way this field is going. We all need to keep up to date with continued research BUT also think outside of the box when it comes to what you’re taught in school- this is only a small percentage of real life nutrition and what’s going on in our food system. Be your own teacher.

I will tell you, the biggest help for me on my career path was using my networks within my school, the Ohio State University, to keep me up to date with job openings and seeking out potential networking companies/RD’s via the main internet job sites. My internships were standard in meeting the requirements for AND programs and included clinical/hospital work, food service, school wellness programs, employee wellness, cancer centers, and community-based nutrition programs.

I am where I am today due to outside research, long hours of hard work, dedication, passion, and my own interests taking priority over what we were taught in school. Going through schooling and receiving the proper education to do what I do on a daily basis [coach clients, make recommendations, utilize my skills as a dietitian and wellness coach, writing, photography, marketing, networking, etc.] was a long and challenging process, but worth every second! Keep at it and you’ll find an area of nutrition you enjoy if you haven’t already. Also you can check out my ABOUT me section and FAQ for more questions and answers about my professional path.

More tips…

  • On creating a business // Be willing to go through struggles, pain, and hardship- creating your dream job isn’t rainbows and butterflies all the time. It takes perseverance, dedication, hard work, long hours of free work, dealing with rejection, and sacrifices. So what is that you’re willing to sacrifice?  
  • Have confidence
  • Speak your truth // I often see other bloggers, business owners, etc., simply “copy” what others are doing- instead, do you! Do what you love not what’s on trend.
  • Be unique
  • Be creative
  • Have passion // love what you do… it’ll show in your work
    • if you don’t have passion, this career will soon become a “job” with a lack of staying power
  • Network with like-minded people
  • Be receptive to your “calling” //  Listen to your intuition about where this career can take you- there are so many wonderful fields within dietetics and nutrition.
  • Be open minded to other professionals and fields
  • Research an area that resonates with you and stick with it
  • You don’t need to be an expert in every field within nutrition

I hope this answers many more of your questions you all email me about, best of luck to each and every one of you- we are all unique, talented, intelligent beings in this field. Let’s work together, contribute with an open and an intelligent mind for the future of nutrition in our society.

Best,
McKel

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Share your thoughts

  • Cassandra

    Thank you for this McKel! One thing that I have been wondering is how you merge both your background as an RD and your background as a wellness coach since I know sometimes some ideas might conflict. I am drawn to more holistic/alternative programs because they seem to better align with how I live and eat, but, of course, the stronger science background & credentials that an RD program provide are so beneficial as well! Do you think that ideally someone wishing to bring a holistic approach to the nutrition field needs to go through both types of programs?

    • Hi Cassandra,
      Great question- I can only speak from my personal experience but I’ve found both areas to be extremely beneficial. Science and evidenced based medicine is my backbone, therefore I take “holistic” practices on an individual basis, as in everyone feels different on specific lifestyles/diet and that’s the key to integrate. Both the science and listening to your body are key to success in my opinion, also I think both programs create a more well-rounded and open perspective.

      • Cassandra

        Good to know! Thank you for the thoughtful reply! 🙂

      • K

        I love your approach and blog. I am a fellow MSc RD but work in a clinical setting (ICU) however my personal approach to health is very different and much more holistic. I don’t really get to utilize any holistic nutrition/general wellness in my current job however I’d love to explore it more as a future career option as I am personally so interested in it and like the way you have combined both. I am thinking of taking a holistic course as well to further my education.

        I also love the ‘think outside the box’ advice.

        • Hi K,
          Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I appreciate hearing from other RD’s and health professionals in all fields. I wish you the best and thanks again for stopping by 🙂

  • I’m bookmarking this post! Thanks for sharing all of your tips. I recently started taking some prereq classes and hope to earn a Masters in nutrition and become an RD. I know this advice will be helpful now and in the future.

  • Shannon

    Love this post! I always love hearing how people came into the field and their advice for us newbies. 🙂 This Nutrition student and future dietician thanks you!

  • Hello there, I’m a Ph.D., RD.I thank you for your honest and sensible advice. Keep up the great and beautiful work.

    • Hi Lemia,
      Thank you very much for the kind words and support! I’m glad you’re enjoying the time here at Nutrition Stripped 🙂

  • Maggie

    Hello there! I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now. Your approach to nutrition is very similar to mine and you are such an INSPIRATION to me! I am about a month away from taking the RD exam and currently getting an MS in exercise physiology. I love our field and all the opportunities available to us! With all that said, creating your dream career takes time and effort, something I am well aware of! I am hoping to start my own business after I pass the RD exam. Thanks again for your lovely blog, it is a great resource for me as an up and coming RD. Cheers!

    • Hi Maggie,
      Thank you so much for sharing that with me and for the support of my blog! I wish you all the best with your exam and the future! Best to you 🙂

  • Hi McKel,

    Thank you so much for sharing! I had just clicked on the email button in the top right hand corner to send you a note before I saw this post. I am finishing up my prerequisites this semester so that I can start my M.S. in Nutrition this fall and begin the path to becoming an R.D. I share a very similar plant-based/whole foods/holistic philosophy towards nutrition and seeing that you are an R.D. with this approach has been refreshing and encouraging! I ultimately decided to go the MS/R.D. route because of the strong science background it will give me and because of the versatility of this degree/certification. These tips will prove very useful as I continue my career path.

    P.S.- I made your buffalo cauliflower bites last night and will be sharing the recipe, as well as a shout out to your page, on my blog tonight. It’s not that often that I find a food blogger whose passions are so in sync with mine! (not to be creepy! haha I’m just so inspired!) So I wanted to share Nutrition Stripped with my readers.

    Thanks again for sharing!

    Best,
    Lizzie (itsavegworldafterall.com)

    • Hi Lizzie,
      Thank you SO much for sharing your experience and I’m glad you love the buffalo cauliflower bites! Best to you on your career path and with school 🙂

  • Such great advice! As a beginner food blogger and aspiring future dietician, your blog has been such an inspiration for me – I’ll be sure to look back to this post often when I’m looking for career advice. Looking forward to seeing what’s next for you!

  • Vic F.

    Hi Ms. Mckel!

    I was wondering if I can get tips on where I should try to work while I’m a student as a dietetic technician. One day I plan on becoming a registered dietitian. But im taking this little baby step first. I’m a working student and had idea such as working in the kitchen preparing the food for the patients in places like hospitals, nursing facilities, etc. Unless you have other tips that are more helpful! Thank a bunch and I hope I hear back from you!

  • Amylou

    Hi McKel! First of all, I LOVE your blog. I visit it all the time and love your recipes. Currently noshing on the delicious nourishing meusli! Anyway, I am sixteen and I love nutrition and fitness. It has become a huge part of my life. I love eating foods in their most natural state- unprocessed! Being a teenager it is sometimes hard to stick to this due to what most of my friends eat! I’d love to educate them and other high schoolers on how to not fear nutrition and healthier alternatives. If only they knew how tasty healthy foods can be!!! They need to check out your blog. So, I was wondering how I, being sixteen, could go about becoming more “certified” or at least knowledgable in this field. I’d love to take my passion a step further to better my resumes and applications to come. I have so many aspirations in the business side of life and I dream of combining it with my love forhealthy food! I’m starting a blog with my sister about our love for cooking- hopefully I can aim my part of it towards the younger audience. Do you have any tips on how I can spread the awareness of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in a way that isn’t pushy or offensive? Sorry for the long spiel, and thank you so much for all of your recipes, advice, and information!!! I love it!

    • Hi Amylou,
      Great question and it sounds like you’ve already figured out the area you’d like to pursue in your future career- that’s fantastic! Keep up the good work and simply live by example for other to catch on to, such as your friends and peers! Best to you in all you do and thank you SO much for all the love and support of my blog, I appreciate you sharing it 🙂

      • Amylou

        Thanks so much for the feedback, Mckel!! I can’t wait to keep making you’re recipes and sharing them:)

  • Frances

    Beautiful and inspiring blog!!! Wow. Love it! Do you know of any Nutritionist/ health coach programs that you would recommend for someone if not going the RD route? Have you ever heard of the Online Nutritional Therapist Certification Course from The Health Sciences Academy? Thanks so much!

    • Thank you for your kind words! I’m not sure I can recommend any programs other than RD training, be sure to read my FAQ and about me section as well, I have many resources there x

  • Danielle

    Hi McKel,

    I am currently completing my Masters of Applied Nutrition/Dietetic Internship, and I just wanted to leave a message letting you know how much of an inspiration you have been for me. This process is challenging, as you know, and reading this article reminds me of why I wanted to become an RD in the first place. The last two points especially, about finding an area you love and sticking to it and accepting that you don’t need to be an expert in every field of nutrition, really resonate with me and I am thankful for your advice and encouragement! Your wonderful recipes, adorable screen savers, and blog in general are always a part of my day or week. Thank you!

    Best,
    Danielle

  • Sara Parsons

    Hello McKel! I have been pouring over your How To’s… and Future Tips as I am working and dreaming to become a nutritionist/wellness coach/healthy food enthusiast and I wanted to thank you so very much for all of the excellent resources you have provided as well as tons of inspiration. I do have one question for you though (and I am sure you have been asked this a bunch, but), what is your daily work load like? By that I mean, what is it like to aid clients in a home-practice setting as well as keeping up a blog and running your own business? Would you recommend starting a business if one’s goal was to open up a small or home-based practice? Thank you!

    P.S. Can’t wait to see your cookbook!

    • Thank you for your question Sara! I will definitely make note of this when I share this in a series coming up soon- I get so many questions about my career so I hope it’ll be helpful. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you’ll be the first to know 😉

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