This week I attended the 2023 Dietitian Money Conference, a virtual conference about making money as a dietitian, with a focus on entrepreneurship.
A lot of what the conference showed is how to overcome limiting beliefs and work hard to follow your passion and not give up. Also, to apply the scientific minds that initially attracted us to dietetics to building our businesses, managing our money, and overall running our lives in a purposeful and successful manner.
We are passionate about helping others. We dedicated time and money to get undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in nutrition and related fields. We worked hard in our clinical training, and many of us continued to work in hospitals and other clinical settings for several years.
But with all the knowledge we have about how to heal the body and prevent disease, school didn’t provide us with a background in marketing and economics.
And we’ve had to fend for ourselves to learn these topics as we expand our dietetic practice to help individuals and corporations adopt healthier lifestyles so they can thrive.
One of the most common questions I get, aside from, “What foods should I eat?” is, “What is the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist?”
We dietitians—aka registered dietitians, aka registered dietitian nutritionists—have worked hard academically and clinically to get to where we are today. We are licensed nutritional professionals with rigorous academic background and clinical training. A nutritionist cannot achieve licensure due to the lack of standardization of their training, which often is a one-year or less certification program and does not include the clinical training of a dietetic internship.
This is not to say that a nutritionist or nutrition coach cannot help people, surely they can. But they lack much of the scientific and clinical background.
So, hats off to all those successful dietitians out there and thank you for sharing your path and hard-earned wisdom during this conference. I hope one day to stand up there with you (metaphorically, or, hey, literally too!) and share my own story.
For now, gleaning from your rich expertise, I will continue to take one step at a time to build up my nutrition private practice. I started it seven years ago as an aside to my outpatient dietitian role, and after completing a decade of work in outpatient clinics, I’m excited to have this opportunity to dig deeper into the wealth of wisdom of entrepreneurship and reach higher toward the goals that I set in my heart when I first dreamed of working in dietetics when I was eight years old.