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From: Mark Rifkin (rifkin.vegsource.com)
Subject:         Re: career advice?
Date: December 31, 2005 at 11:59 am PST

In Reply to: career advice? posted by barb on December 31, 2005 at 8:23 am:

Hi Barb,

Welcome to the board and thanks for your question. There are multiple approaches, but there are only two that bring credibility: primarily RD (Registered Dietitian) from the American Dietetic Assoc. (at eatright.org) and secondarily CNS (Cert. Nutrition Specialist) from the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists (at cert-nutrition.org)

While one can pay a couple hundred dollars to an alternative "certifying" organization to receive a self-study curriculum and a test to be completed at one's leisure without any proctor, it would be a waste of effort and money. Such certifications are not recognized by any state to obtain a license to counsel in nutrition, and most of the mainstream public is unfamiliar with them.

In my opinion, the best track is to become an RD, because it's the most recognized by the public and by professionals. In your case, you'd have to return to college at an ADA-approved undergrad program. You may not have to get a nutrition degree (determined by the rules of your state), but you would have to take core nutrition courses + any science prerequisites (such as organic chem, biochem, microbiology). A list of approved programs is at http://www.eatright.org/cps/rde/xchg/ada/hs.xsl/CADE_401_ENU_HTML.htm

Be prepared to meet ignorance or outright objection to your vegetarian views. Also be prepared with a response to likely dissection requirements. Most state schools will eventually grant a request to refuse dissection, esp under threat of a lawsuit.

After that is an 7-9 month internship and an exam.

Let me know if I can be of further assistance,
Mark Rifkin, MS, RD, LDN

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