Dietitians are employed in facilities such as hospitals, clinics and long-term care, providing nutrition therapy, as well as food service administration. They also work in business as sales or educational professionals, for commercial and government establishments or as dietetic practitioners in community settings and public health. Some registered dietitians work for food commodity groups such as the Dairy Council or Wheat Commission. Dietitians work in education by teaching dietetics, nutrition and food service management in colleges, universities, medical schools and public school systems. In community settings, dietitians provide counseling and nutritional services for city and county health departments, elderly feeding programs, day care centers and school food service programs. Dietitians also work in wellness centers and in hospitals as part of the health promotion team.
The practice of dietetics is continuously changing as more research is conducted on foods and on the role of food in human health. Many dietitians work in hospital settings, either in clinical management or nutrition therapy as clinical dietitians. Clinical dietitians who work in nutrition therapy assess the nutritional needs of patients, plan menus, recommend or prescribe diets and nutritional support for patients, consult with physicians and direct educational programs on nutrition and special diets. They are members of the interdisciplinary team both in healthcare and wellness facilities.
Placement surveys conducted in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences at NDSU show that more than 90% of the dietetics graduates obtain employment in their field within four months of graduation. It should be pointed out that employment is most favorable outside of Fargo. A recent study projects that there will be a continued demand for dietitians in both traditional and nontraditional areas for years to come. During college, many opportunities are available for students to obtain experience in the field. Some of those opportunities are through food service management companies, Public Health Service and University Dining Services.