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How Do I Become a Sports Dietitian?

Nick Mann
Nick Mann

Working as a sports dietitian involves keeping athletes in peak condition by helping them implement a proper diet. Since the importance of good nutrition has become increasingly recognized in sports, the job outlook of this career looks relatively good for the future. In order to become a sports dietitian, there are three main steps that must be taken. These include obtaining at least a bachelor's degree in a related field from a four year university or college, working as an intern and passing a registered dietician exam. These three primary steps are designed to help you optimize your training and help you learn everything you need to know about a healthy sports diet.

The first step an individual needs to take in order to become a sports dietitian is obtaining at least a bachelor's degree. In most cases, students will want to major in dietetics or something closely related. These courses will typically cover subject matter like nutrition, microbiology and physiology. When choosing a college or university in the United States, the student should make sure that it's accredited and complies with the standards of the American Dietetic Association's Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE).

Sports equipment.
Sports equipment.

Choosing an accredited school should significantly increase one's odds of obtaining a job position after graduation. While many positions only require a bachelor's degree, seeking an advanced degree will open up even more doors. Consequently, pursuing either a master's or doctorate degree is ideal for those seeking greater responsibility and higher earnings.

To become a sports dietitian, along with pursuing a degree, it's also highly beneficial to work as an intern. While this isn't mandatory, the skills acquired as an intern should adequately prepare most students for entering the work force. Since this type of career is often demanding and requires in-depth knowledge, participating in an internship program can give students the edge over those who choose not to participate. When looking at different internship programs, it's usually best to choose one that's complex and lets the student work alongside experienced, highly respected sports dietitians.

An additional step that needs to be taken in order to become a sports dietitian is passing a registered dietitian exam. Doing so means that the individual will become an officially registered dietitian (RD), which will make it easier to find jobs. While this isn't a necessity in every location, the majority of U.S. states require dietitians to be registered. Even if the state doesn't mandate it, most employers will still prefer those who are registered. In other words, taking and passing the exam is a smart move that will open many doors in the industry.

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      By: Michael Flippo
      Sports equipment.