A pediatric dietitian creates nutritional plans for children. To prepare for this career, you will usually have to finish high school and earn a bachelor's degree in a nutrition-related major, such as dietetics. You may also have to complete an internship to gain experience and pass a licensing exam in your jurisdiction. You can also earn board certification in this field after gaining work experience and passing another exam.
To become a pediatric dietitian, you will typically need to start by earning a high school diploma or an equivalent credential that is accepted in your jurisdiction. This credential is usually required for admission to an undergraduate program, but your time in high school may also help you build a knowledge foundation helpful for continuing your education. Science and health courses may prove particularly important when you want to become a pediatric dietitian. Courses that help you build communication skills are important as well. Additionally, earning high grades in all of your classes may improve your chances of getting into the college of your choice.
Typically, you can become a pediatric dietitian after earning a bachelor's degree in dietetics or nutrition through a program accredited by a dietetics organization. You will typically take a range of classes as you work toward earning this degree, including those in such subjects as nutrition and medical nutrition therapy. You will likely study biology, microbiology, metabolism, physiology, and meal management as part of this program as well.
In most places, hands-on training is required when you want to become a pediatric dietitian. Usually, this training takes the form of an internship, which may be offered as part of a dietetics or nutrition degree program. In such a case, you'll often participate in an internship during the last year of a four-year undergraduate program. Sometimes, however, the internship takes place after graduation instead. Children's hospitals and other medical facilities are common places in which you can participate in a pediatric dietitian internship.
Depending on the jurisdiction in which you want to become a pediatric dietitian, you may also have to seek licensing before you can begin work. To gain licensing in this field, you may need to prove completion of an internship and then pass a licensing exam. Once you have secured significant work experience in this field, you can also choose to seek board certification, which involves passing an exam or series of exams and meeting the requirements of the certifying board.
Once you have completed your education and relevant training, you will then be well on your way to becoming a pediatric dietician.