I work in corporate health and fitness. Would I need / want to pursue my RD?

I am 3/4 of the way through my Master’s program in Applied Physiology and Nutrition at Columbia University. I have my bachelor’s in nutrition. I currently work in corporate health and fitness and am wondering how to decide whether or not I need/want to pursue my R.D. What are the pros and cons? I do not believe that in Connecticut, where I live, you need an R.D. to practice nutrition counseling. I also know that to get my R.D., I would need to take about 4 additional courses and quit my job to do the internship. But would I be hindering my career to not get my R.D.?

What kind of a job do you want to do when you graduate with your physiology degree? Corporate health/fitness?

Actually, to work in most healthcare facilities, inpatient and out, you need to be an RD. May not be the case in corporate wellness though. In some states, you need to be licensed if you provide dietetic or nutrition services. Even salespeople in General Nutrition Stores can’t give out nutrition information in states that license nutrition services and are limited to providing product info only.

I think you would have a very strong education if you completed the coursework to become an RD. An internship is not the only way to get certified to sit for the registration exam. Talk to a faculty member in your nutrition or dietetics department about other options including work experience. Contact the Connecticut Dietetics Association licensure page.

You can also check educational / internship requirements at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Also, on the Academy website, you can Find a Registered Dietitian. Search for a dietitian who works in corporate wellness in your area and ask her/him about their job requirements/satisfaction.

Within the last two years, the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published salary survey of members. Check it out at your University Library. JAND has an index in the back of each December issue.

Good luck in your career.