Registered Dietitian vs Nutritionist- is there a difference?

The short answer here is YES! There is a big difference these two terms but they are often intermixed and confused. We often hear the term Nutritionist in the media, on day time talk shows, magazine articles and many other places on the web as well. It is natural to then assume that if some one calls themselves a "Nutritionist" that they have the education and training to back up using that title. In the United States, in order to become a Registered Dietitian, someone has to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition, complete a Dietetic Internship that ranges in length from about 6 months to one year, and then sit for a standardized board exam. Registered Dietitians also have to maintain the credential by completing 75 units of continuing education every 5 years, similar to doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. So, what does it mean if someone says that they are a Nutritionist in terms of education? It could mean that they are in fact a Registered Dietitian but prefer to use the term Nutritionist or it could mean that they have no training at all! When seeking nutrition related advice and guidance rely on the nutrition experts- Registered Dietitians!