What's the Difference Between a Dietician and a Nutritionist?

Dietitians and nutritionists are both experts in nutrition, but there are key differences between them. Dietitians must complete more internship hours and earn credentials in order to work, while nutritionists can work without getting a license in most states. Dietitians tend to have more education and credentials, but that's not always the case. Those who want to use their knowledge of nutrition, biology, physiology and health sciences to improve the general health of their clients and patients can choose to work as nutritionists or dieticians.

To clarify, RD and RDN credentials are interchangeable. However, RDN is a more recent designation. Dietitians can choose which credential they prefer to use. When it comes to finding an effective way to lose weight, there are as many options as there are numbers on the scale.

For example, if you use a weight-loss system such as Weight Watchers, a dietitian can help you with other aspects of your lifestyle and help you better achieve the goals of the program and beyond. Two of the key differences between a clinical nutritionist and a dietician are their education and licensing requirements. While some people use the terms “nutritionist” and “dietician” interchangeably, there are clear differences between these careers. However, those interested in working as a dietitian should keep in mind that, starting in 2024, a graduate degree will be required to sit for the CDR exam.

While both nutritionists and dieticians work to improve patient health through nutrition, there are some differences in what they are qualified to do in terms of their ability to work.