What is a Dietitian?

I’m often asked “what is the difference between a dietitian and nutritionist?”.

The main differences are:
  • The title “Registered Dietitian”, “Professional Dietitian”, and “Dietitian” are protected by law. Only qualified practitioners who have met education qualifications can use the title.
  • “Nutritionist” is not a protected title which means, in some provinces, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. However, some Dietitians will refer to themselves as nutritionists.
  • Dietitians who have met national standards for education and training and who are members of the provincial regulatory bodies can use one of the following designations — RD, PDt or RDt (or the French equivalent Dt.P.).
  • Dietitians are members of a provincially regulated profession that has Public Protection as their mandate.
  • Dietitians are held accountable for their conduct and the care they provide.
  • Dietitians may work in the community setting, health care, hospitals or private practice clinics.
  • Only Dietitians are qualified to work in a hospital or health care institution and can provide clinical care of patients.