What are those abbreviations behind your name (Katie Abbott, MS, RDN, INHC), what do those mean?
MS= Masters of Science (in Public Health Nutrition)
RDN= Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (see below for more detail on what this means)
INHC= Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
What is a Registered Dietitian/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN)?
RD = Registered Dietitian
RDN = Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
First of all, both RD and RDN mean the same exact thing and can be used interchangeably, RDN is a recent addition to our credentials (added N for Nutritionist).
To become a RD/RDN, the following are the requirements:
- Minimum education of a bachelors degree with approved course work and education received through an approved and accredited program via Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).
- Completed a supervised practice component with accredited sites (by the ACEND), practicums vary in length from 6-12 months at a variety of locations/experiences (food service, community, hospital/clinical, outpatient, wellness, etc.)
- Passed a national exam administered by Commission on Dietetic Registration (more information here).
- Complete continuing education requirements to maintain registration.
What is the difference between a Registered Dietitian RD/RDN and/or a nutritionist?
A Registered Dietitian can refer to themselves as a health coach, wellness coach, or a nutritionist; but a nutritionist and a health coach can not call themselves a registered dietitian.
Registered dietitians (RD’s) are trained in the scientific, pathophysiology, and nutritional therapy aspect of nutrition, but RD/RDN’s are also trained in diverse aspects of nutrition counseling. There are a variety of RD/RDN’s with education and expertise in clinical nutrition, weight loss, culinary food science, community nutrition, health and wellness coaching, counseling, women’s health, sports nutrition, etc. No matter which professional practice area, what we all have in common is the ability to support our clients by empowering them to reach their highest potential possible with nutrition and lifestyle changes. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists have a diverse background in the sciences which is extremely helpful in understanding and applying nutrition components to facilitate the appropriate nutrition and lifestyle changes.
Nutritionist programs/certifications, receive a general/broad-based knowledge on nutrition, with less focus on the sciences and disease processes and applying specific medical nutrition therapy and focus on other therapies of care for the individual.
I’m not here to state Registered Dietitians have a complete “all knowing” of the field of nutrition, but I am suggesting you do your research to find a health practitioner with knowledge, experience, and expertise you can trust. If you are going to put your lifestyle and wellness into the hands of someone else to be mentored, be sure they are truly an expert in their craft rather than someone who may not have the expertise you need.