Dietitian Career Interview
Victoria Retelny is a registered, licensed dietitian working in Chicago, who is currently working on a book on nutrition and owns her own private practice.
Dietitian Career Path
“I have always loved nutrition and how food can work in the body to prevent chronic disease,” says Victoria.
Victoria has always had a passion for helping people, and by helping people eat the right things, she accomplishes this.
“Food can be medicine if used the right way,” Victoria adds.
Victoria attended Ithaca College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication, and Loyola University, where she went through a didactic program in dietics (DPD), which is the educational program for nutrition and dietetics.
“The internship I went through allowed students to rotate through many different areas of dietics, such as clinical, foodservice, media/communications, and community,” she says. “This gives you the chance to work one-on-one with patients, write your own press releases or media pitches, and work in WIC (Women, Infants and Children) clinics to prepare you for real world scenarios.”
After her education, Victoria worked as an outpatient dietitian at Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Wellness Institute.
She now owns her own practice in Chicago, and she has been working as a dietitian for over eight years.
Dietitian Degree Program
“A dietitian needs a Bachelor of Science in nutrition, a 900-hour internship and a national exam to become registered and licensed as a dietitian by the American Dietetic Association,” explains Victoria.
Dietitian Job Description
Victoria is a nutrition and culinary communications consultant at her private practice LivingWell Communications in Chicago.
“In my work, I write, blog, speak publicly, counsel individuals, teach culinary classes and serve as a nutrition expert to the media,” says Victoria.
Dietitian Daily Routine
“In my nutrition communications practice,” Victoria explains, “my days vary as I research and write articles, answer media interviews, counsel corporate wellness clients, and speak to groups on current nutrition topics. It runs the nutrition gamut, and that keeps it interesting!”
Dietitian: Steps to Success
A successful dietitian needs to be able to adapt with the ever-changing field.
“You have to be flexible and willing to go with the flow of scientific changes,” Victoria advises. “You also need to be a chameleon by taking roles in the industry that you may never have had, but want to try.”
“A successful dietitian should also be proactive with his or her continued learning and promote his or her business and profession whenever possible,” she adds.
Dietitian Job Opportunities
“In order to get the job you want, you have to stand out by marketing your services, providing discounted services at first to get your foot in the door, give public nutrition seminars and charge what you’re worth once established,” says Victoria.
Dietitian Favorite Aspect
Victoria loves the flexibility, her variety of projects, and learning about the constant changes in the nutrition world.
“My professional life is always a work in progress, and I like it that way,” she says.
Dietitian’s Future Ambitions
Once her book is published, Victoria hopes to tour the country while teaching people about her nutrition philosophy and program.
Advice for Prospective Dietitians
“Enjoy your studies and set professional goals early on,” Victoria advises, “so that when you get out of school, you can get a job in an area of nutrition where you are most interested.”