“Registered Dietitian.” That is the goal. We go through the rigorous undergraduate program, wash pots and pans in a hospital kitchen, volunteer every spare moment we can, and perfect our personal statements until we can recite them by heart. Then, we wait… and for some of us, it just isn’t in the cards this year. You didn’t match. BUT ITS NOT OVER. There are distinctive opportunities to capitalize on that will allow you to persevere, grow, and better yourself as an applicant next year. Hey, you may even make some money while you’re at it! We have compiled a list of prospects to serve as your “Plan B” until you achieve your “Plan A!”

1. Dietetics, 4-year degree

• Eligible to become a Diet Technician, Registered (DTR)- A DTR works with the dietitian to design menus, prepare meals, formulate nutrition information, involve yourself in patient centered care, order food, and manage budgets. DTR’s can work in schools, hospitals, prisons, and nursing homes.
*Must pass the credentialing exam.
• Eligible to become a Certified Dietary Manager- A CDM runs the operations of a foodservice establishment (i.e. hospital, nursing home, school, etc.). The CDM will do all scheduling, payroll, hiring, and performance management.
*Must pass the credentialing exam.


2. Fitness Specializations 

• Certified Personal Trainer- Accredited through the National Athletic Trainers Association.
• Certified Personal Trainer- Accredited through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, or American College of Sports Medicine.
• Personal Trainer/Group Fitness- Accredited through the National Association for Fitness Certification.
• Group Exercise Instructor- Accredited through the American College of Sports Medicine.
• With a fitness specialization, you may work in hospital or rehab clinics, fitness centers, and/or grade school athletics.

3. WIC 

WIC Nutritionist- Responsible for providing WIC Registration Assessment and counseling staff of the WIC program. Also responsible for nutrition education for individuals and groups.

4. Master’s Degree

There are many options for continued education in the field of nutrition. The most common opportunities include Master of Science (MS) or Master of Public Health, as well as doctoral degrees.


• This is the alternative pathway to obtain an internship.
• Must have graduated from a DPD program who did not match but has a DPD verification statement.
• Check out Natalie’s experience with an ISPP!

6. Health Promotion 

• Health educators can work for health departments, schools, and community or non-profit organizations.
• Careers include: Health Coordinator, Nutrition Specialist, and Fitness Instructor.

7. Dietary Aide

• The Dietary Aide job details vary depending on the facility type. Dietary Aides are commonly hired at nursing homes and hospitals.
• This jobs usually entails preparing and understanding therapeutic diets as indicated in the menu, appropriately interacting with patients/residents, as well as other facility policies.
• Oh… and you will more than likely rock an awesome hairnet. Woohoo!

Keep going. Keep growing. Never give up. There isn’t just one way to become a dietitian. Find the path that fits YOU and take on your goals!


P.S. ARE YOU IN YET? As an AAI member, you’ll join hundreds of future dietitians, and get the confidence and clarity you need to get a dietetic internship! Choose your membership