Dietitians are experts in food and nutrition ("dietetics"). They advise people on what to eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle or achieve a specific health-related goal. They work in a variety of settings from clinical to community and public policy to media communications. Registered Dietitians (RD or RDN) are dietitians who meet academic and professional requirements, including earning at least a bachelor's degree, and fulfilling a specially-designed, accredited nutrition curriculum, passing a registration exam, and completing a supervised program of practice at a health care facility, foodservice organization or community agency. Roughly half of all RDs hold graduate degrees and many have certifications in specialized fields such as sports, pediatrics, renal, oncological, food allergy, or gerontological nutrition. After learning about patients' health history, favorite foods, eating and exercise habits, an RD will help individuals set goals and prioritize. Follow-up visits often focus on maintenance and monitoring progress. The majority of RDs work in the treatment and prevention of disease (administering medical nutrition therapy, as part of medical teams), often in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, private practices or other health care facilities. In addition, a large number of registered dietitians work in community and public health settings and academia and research. A growing number of dietitians work with food and nutrition industry and business, journalism, sports nutrition, corporate wellness programs and other non-traditional work settings.
Dietetic technicians are involved in planning, implementing and monitoring nutritional programs and services in facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools. They assist in education and assessment of clients' dietary needs, and may specialize in nutritional care or foodservice management. Dietetic technicians usually work with, and under the supervision of, a registered dietitian. The training requirements and professional regulation of dietetic technicians vary across countries, but usually include some formal (postsecondary) training in dietetics and nutrition care. In jurisdictions where the profession is regulated, such as in the United States, the title "Dietetic Technician, Registered" (DTR) may be used.