The field of nutrition and dietetics provides many opportunities for exciting and rewarding careers. Nutrition fosters an interest in wellness, management and food, all of which can be a focus for a career. This section describes the steps needed to become a Registered Dietitian.

Step 1: Complete the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at an approved College or University. The following Tennessee schools have DPD Programs. (This list is not all-inclusive.)


  • Carson Newman College – Jefferson City
  • David Lipscomb University – Nashville
  • East Tennessee State University – Johnson City
  • Middle Tennessee State University – Murfreesboro
  • Tennessee Technological University – Cookeville
  • Tennessee State University – Nashville
  • University of Memphis
  • University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • University of Tennessee, Martin

Step 2: Complete an accredited Internship. The following Accredited Internships are available in Tennessee. (This list is not all-inclusive.)

  • David Lipscomb University
  • East Tennessee State University
  • National Health Care Corporation, Murfreesboro
  • University of Memphis
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • University of Tennessee, Martin
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Step 3 (optional): Complete an advanced degree.

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum degree needed to become a Registered Dietitian. Advanced degrees provide additional opportunities for advanced training in nutrition or to specialize in areas such as business, exercise physiology, public health, or counseling. Registered Dietitians may elect to take coursework and exams to become specialists in areas such as nutrition support, diabetes education, renal nutrition, pediatric nutrition and lactation support.

What Career Opportunities are Available in the Fields of Nutrition and Dietetics?


  • Clinical nutritionist/Medical Nutrition Therapist
  • Public health nutritionist
  • Lactation consultant
  • Sports nutritionist
  • Corporate wellness nutritionist
  • Renal nutritionist
  • High risk perinatal nutritionist
  • Newspaper reporter, health or foods section
  • Clinical nutrition manager
  • Foodservice director
  • Child nutrition director
  • Pharmaceutical sales representative
  • Marketing director, food distributor
  • Policy analyst, US Government
  • Nutrition specialist, USDA programs
  • Food product developer
  • Certified Diabetes Educator
  • Research nutritionist
  • Computer systems analyst, food and nutrition applications
  • Consultant Nutritionist in long-term care
  • Consultant Nutritionist in private practice

For more information about careers in dietetics, DPD programs, dietetic internships or opportunities for advanced education and certification, visit the American Dietetic Association website at

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