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Looking into becoming a dietitian... help please!

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  • Looking into becoming a dietitian... help please!

    Hello! I'm 24 years old, and have recently decided to leave my career as a horse trainer and do something else with my life. I LOVE horses, riding, and all the hard work involved. However, the chances of me making a good living and life-long career out of it are slim, and I would rather have a job that will allow me the time and money (horses are expensive!!!) to pursue horseback riding as a hobby (with the ability to show, take lessons, go to clinics, etc...). It is hard always riding other people's horses without any time or money left for my own.

    Anyways, I really want to do something that will not only provide a good income, but make a difference in someone's life. I've researched many options, and I keep going back to becoming a registered dietitian. I have also thought about becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer, but that is only because the schooling is shorter (associates) and money is a little bit better. However, I can't get this dietitian thing out of my head. I dream of being able to help people with cancer and other diseases, especially autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's, feel better through their diets. I also hope to help educate some on how to PREVENT diseases, such as diabetes.

    Here are some of the possible stumbling blocks I see, and I am wondering if any other registered dietitians (or anyone really!) has any advice as to whether this is something I should really pursue. I don't want to get halfway through the program, or even finish it, and end up jobless or having it not be what I thought it would be.

    -I am only a few credits from completing my associate's in business management (pretty useless) and have NO background in science. I would probably have to take a year's worth of classes before I could even apply to a dietetic program. Is the science extremely difficult? I have only taken one biology class in my life, and I found it fascinating, but that is the only experience I have.

    -I'm not so sure I would do well with an online program, but the only resonably afforadable program in my area is through Eastern Michigan University (Michigan State and Michigan are just as nearby, but pricier!). EMU only provides a very intense 20 month program, that incorporates the internship into the program (more info about it here:Eastern Michigan University College of Health and Human Services ) . What if I don't get in? What if I end up doing a regular program and can't get the internship afterwards?

    -I have to stay in the southern Michigan area, as my fiance has a daughter in the area, so I can't just move away to get an internship or job.

    -I would have take out student loans for all these years of education and, well, being in debt just scares me.
    -Once again, what if I go through the whole program and can't get the internship, or a job? Yikes.

    -How likely is that I would be able to incorporate the Primal lifestyle into being a dietitian? Obviously, it won't be what they teach me, so I would have to educate myself in further in this lifestyle, right?
    -I know at first I might have to take a job at a hospital or nursing home, etc... but I really dream of being self-employed, or at least in a private setting.
    -I also have thoughts of incorporating my future knowledge of nutrition and belief in the primal lifestyle into a restaurant/health store.

    I see that RD's make around $50,000. I have no desire to live an extravagant life, but I do want to be a homeowner (hopefully with a little farm), horse owner ($400 +/- monthly), and travel a bit. No need for fancy clothes here, just lots of nice things for my horse, and lots of great experiences.

    As you can see, there is A LOT flowing through my mind. This is a HUGE change, and I want to be as informed as possible before I make the plunge. Any feedback, advice, ideas, etc... would be much appreciated!

  • #2
    Hi there! I don't really post often but lurk daily. You might be interested in this program.

    I'm in it right now and I love it! The philosophy is pretty close to primal. I'm in the Seattle class, but there are distance learning programs in a few places. It's affordable, only 9 months long, and in MI you can practice on your own with this certification.

    Hope this helps. Best of luck!


    • #3
      Just FYI, I have a friend who's an RD and she used to run her own business providing nutrition education to other healthcare professionals. She told me her revenue was $600,000/yr at its highest, with very little overhead (she essentially worked out of her home and traveled to the clients' offices to present). So if you're entrepreneurial, debt is not a concern.