Dietitian or Nutritionist… what’s the Difference?

Many times the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist is not clear.

Simply stated: Dietitians are nutritionists but NOT all nutritionists are dietitians.

Registered/Licensed Dietitians must obtain a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics/nutrition and complete an internship following graduation for one year. Internship placement is selective and not many are available in the United States making it difficult to obtain placement. However, internship completion is necessary in order to become eligible to take a national Registration examination. Upon successful completion of examination, only then is a person entitled to use the title of “Registered Dietitian”. In order to maintain registration status, Registered Dietitians are required to maintain continuing education requirements established via the Commission of Dietetic Registration a division of the American Dietetic Association. In addition, many states require that dietitians obtain licensure whereby a secondary set of standards for maintenance and continuing education are required.

Registered Dietitians perform Medical Nutritional Therapy. They are the nutrition experts within the health care system. They work with your doctor and other health care professionals recommending what is best for YOU and your wellbeing. Many Dietitians have their own private practices in which they counsel on a variety of areas including but not limited to: pediatrics, sports medicine and nutrition, holistic nutrition, food sensitivities/ allergies, celiac/gluten sensitivities, diabetes and healthy eating. Many times dietitians maintain separate certifications in these specialty areas which require specific continuing education maintenance on an annual basis.


While it is true that many people practicing as nutritionists are very competent, national standards have not been established to identify those who are highly trained versus those who are not. In short, it is possible for anyone to call themselves a “nutritionist” without repercussion.  Unfortunately without either certification standards and/or licensure it is difficult to decide who is best capable to assist you.

Dietitians are nutritionists; they are highly trained and are required to maintain continuing professional education.

Carole L. Farace is a Registered/Licensed Dietitian that has certifications in food sensitivities and homotoxicology. She has practiced for over 20 years and continues her education via seeking Master Herbalist status. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and the practice groups of Integrated/Functional Nutrition, Nutrition Entrepreneurs, Medical Nutritional Therapy, and Health and Environmental Nutrition. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and the University of Pittsburgh. Her specialties include: Food sensitivities, Celiac Disease and Holistic Nutrition. Her services include: Diet and Nutrition analysis, medical nutritional counseling, healthy eating, grocery store tours, home visits and supplementation analysis.