7 Tips to Become A Registered Dietitian in Canada
With the rise of public awareness about a healthy lifestyle, people pay more attention to their health. That is there is a great demand for Dietitians and Nutritionists all over the world, including Canada. What do these specialists do? What steps one should take to become a Registered Dietitian or a Nutritionist?
A Registered Dietitian, or RD, is an experienced nutrition professional, who has received strict educational and experiential standards.
Registered dietitians may work in a variety of settings, including schools, long-term care facilities, hospitals, community/public health facilities, corporate nutrition programs, the food and nutrition industry, sports nutrition, business, and research. There are over 30, 000 vacancies, demanding an RD on Jooble. As we see, there are great career opportunities in this field. However, is it easy to become a Registered Dietitian?
The conventional RD education lasts 5 years. The first 2 years students spent in a college and stocking knowledge on prerequisite subjects. After that, in order to attend a general course, they pass an interview and a test with a 70% minimum. The general course takes up 3 years.
However, you may want to obtain a bachelor’s degree, keep on studying and complete a master’s degree. If you want to tackle problems of a larger level – to deal with health problems of the population – it is a great opportunity. You can choose to discover new methods and facts of treating health disorders and leave your mark on science. You may become a Research Dietitian and your scientific works will go down in science.
The fifth-year of learning is wholly devoted to practice. You will have to apply for an internship, which is essential for those, who want to become accredited. As an intern, you are to complete 1,200 working hours under the supervision of a licensed professional. An internship usually lasts for 10 months. You may work on a part- or full-time basis. What is more, an internship opens up great opportunities, which you should explore. For example, it will help you to:
- Obtain hands-on clinical experience, which will count as your work experience as well.
- Receive supervision and help from a professional mentor.
- Sometimes a possibility to be hired in the company at the end of the internship
- Consider different options. You can start your career as a Registered Dietitian by working at various venues: schools, food companies, grocery stores, public health systems, long-term care, acute care hospitals, food companies, pharmaceutical companies for research, individual counselling, health clinics, gyms.
3. Pass the CDR exam
After completing an internship, students are ready to take the Canadian Dietetics Registration Exam. This exam is held on the first Saturday in November and the second Saturday in May every year. It is offered in nine Canadian provinces. The exam is conducted by the Alliance of Canadian Dietetic Regulatory Bodies. Apart from solid background knowledge and practice experience in the field, such skills as analytical mind, ability to find solutions, is essential to pass the exam. This exam is a must to start dietitian practice in all Canadian provinces except Quebec.
1. Registered Dietitians vs Nutritionists
A registered Dietitian is a professional, who receives accredited education and this knowledge is practice-oriented: a Registered Dietitian has work experience as an intern of 1-2 years.
An RD should be eligible enough to pass the Registered Dietitian exam and start practice.
A nutritionist is a catch-all term often used to refer to anyone who gives nutrition advice. Sometimes there are no criteria to claim the title nutritionist. Your mother may consider herself a Nutritionist when she advises you to eat vegetables and fruits.
3. Master your skills
Any job demands skills, which are not obtained swiftly, but worked on during our life. You should be proactive and start mastering certain competencies to become a more valuable employee. As a Registered Dietitian, you should be good at analyzing the situation and expressing yourself, excel at counselling and never stop educating yourself. Moreover, it is important to have good communicative skills.
The following competencies are required of an employee, according to job search websites:
“Flexibility, Accurate, Interpersonal awareness, Values and ethics, Dependability, Client focus, Effective interpersonal skills, Excellent oral communication, Excellent written communication, Initiative, Organized, Reliability. Ability to supervise 1-2 coworkers.”
Now you are more aware of what awaits you if you want to become a Registered Dietitian. Think about whether you truly want to sign up for it or not. This will help you to become sure of your choice. Remember, you will not get a highly paid job as an RD unless you become proficient in a specific sphere. However, RD provides more spare time if you work in outpatient. This time you can spend in the family circle. You also gain useful information for your family members and yourself that will help you keep a healthy lifestyle.
All in all, you will be a success if you evaluate yourself and become engaged in what inspires you.