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TOPIC: Poll: Is a career change as a Dietitian a reasonable goal a

 
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July 7, 2011 9:04 AM
I've been contemplating a career change for a while now. I'm tired of sitting at a desk 10-12 hours a day designing ads and graphics. I have a BA in English and for a while I was considering getting a Master's (2 more years of school, but more job prospects.) After realizing how important good nutrition and exercise are, and after seeing how much we are able to help one another towards that end, I really think I would be more satisfied as a dietitian or personal trainer (After I hit goal weight myself of course!). The problem is, I would have to start over and get either a BA or a BS in a nutrition related field. It would take between 3 and 4 years to get my degree so I'd be 40 before I could even start looking for work.

Is it worth it? Would you go to a dietitian/personal trainer in his 40's or would you be more inclined to look for someone younger?
July 7, 2011 9:12 AM
To me your age wouldn't matter, as long as your credentials and reputation were awesome and you were able to help me set an attainable path towards my goals :)

I say go for it! It's never to late to try out something new :)
Edited by mishamae On July 7, 2011 9:13 AM
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July 7, 2011 9:12 AM
My friend is a dietician and if you go towards that it is 4 years to get your RD. If you are going to work as a dietician and not a nutritionist you pretty much have to have your RD. It is a tough program, but well worth it. There are RD jobs all over the place!
July 7, 2011 9:13 AM
I would go to a 40-year-old if you were healthy enough! smile But it's really up to you, it's your life!
  6598466
July 7, 2011 9:13 AM
The need for RD/LD is great in acute and ambulatory care settings.You will be a diagnostic tool for the health and healing of those that are ill. GO FOR IT!
July 7, 2011 9:14 AM
I have a degree in Nutrition, and I can tell you I was a "traditional" student at the time. I was 21-22 when I was in my classes. However, we had a lot of non-traditional students as well, many people making a career change. I didn't go on to become a registered dietician because that wasn't my career goal (I actually work in food manufacturing, and love it), but I would see no reason that a 40 year old would be looked at as not having as much credability.

The only thing I think you need to consider is how it might make you feel to be in a classroom and doing an internship (9 months, unpaid) with a bunch of 20-something year old women (most people in this field are female).
July 7, 2011 9:14 AM
I don't think age would matter either. If I knew of a dietitian who had a successful weight loss journey I would want to learn from them, no matter how old or young!
  6156770
July 7, 2011 9:14 AM
I have problems listening to kids younger than me telling me what to do, so I'd much rather take the advice of an older, healthy person.
July 7, 2011 9:16 AM
I had a personal trainer who was in her 40 back in the day. She was hard core too! Age doesn't matter as long as you know what you are doing!
  2887388
July 7, 2011 9:17 AM
I don't let age get to me, if I did I'd not go to the Dr I do who is only a couple years older than me! (early 30's)
I know some carpenters who are set to retire that don't know as much as some of the younger guys doing real finishing work. You have to enjoy whatever it is you're doing though. I went to school, got my papers, and have never "officially" worked in my trained field! Just have the student loans to deal with from it, if i'd gone to trade school instead I'd have been earning money and had the income in so I'd have had at least as much in actual savings as what I had for student loan debt.

Then again the "trainer" at the gym I went to who had me go from essentially inactive to doing 150 squats, I seriously couldn't walk for a week afterwards, young and there's only one way to do things in his mind, rather than adapting his routines to what the person can actually do.
Edited by Pandorian On July 7, 2011 9:19 AM
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July 7, 2011 9:18 AM
QUOTE:

I've been contemplating a career change for a while now. I'm tired of sitting at a desk 10-12 hours a day designing ads and graphics. I have a BA in English and for a while I was considering getting a Master's (2 more years of school, but more job prospects.) After realizing how important good nutrition and exercise are, and after seeing how much we are able to help one another towards that end, I really think I would be more satisfied as a dietitian or personal trainer (After I hit goal weight myself of course!). The problem is, I would have to start over and get either a BA or a BS in a nutrition related field. It would take between 3 and 4 years to get my degree so I'd be 40 before I could even start looking for work.

Is it worth it? Would you go to a dietitian/personal trainer in his 40's or would you be more inclined to look for someone younger?


You're going to be 40 anyway, you might as well be 40 with a degree in something you want to pursue, right? smile (That was roughly what someone told my mom when she went back to school at 45 to get her PhD.)

I think you should do it. It's not just twenty-somethings that need health and fitness help; now that I'm getting close to 40 myself I think I'd be less intimidated (yeah, I know. Personal hangup. Moving on...) by someone who was close to my age - I could probably relate to them better, I think. I'm never gonna be 21 again and probably won't ever pass for that age again (thought I still get carded occasionally...now it just confuses me more than anything!) so that's probably not the best role model for me.
  5714628
July 7, 2011 9:18 AM
A couple of years ago I went to a personal trainer and loved it. I still use most of the techniques she taught me.

The gym had about 12 personal trainers on staff. I picked her because in her profile she says she was a chubby child who grew in an obese adult (over 200pounds most of her adult life, and over 250 when she had her first child). Oh and she was late 30s. She's now a size 6, and looks gorgeous.

I picked her because she's had life experiences and struggled with the same things I was struggling with. I felt she'd be able to assess my fitness level and provide me with a program that was challenging but not intimidating. So even though she wasn't the youngest or the fitest in the group, she was definitely a favourite amoung members because she understood.

At my new gym I tried a personal trainer once (they only have one on staff). She's super thin and has been her whole life. She's never struggled with obesity, and despite being in the biz for about 15 years, clearly doesn't understand how an obese body works differently. The stuff she gave me to do wasn't just a challenge - it was impossible to do. I couldn't get my body into some of the poses (too many extra parts). I couldn't run as long as she wanted, I couldn't do hardly anything that she wanted me to. And I was sincerely trying. so it made it impossible to get in a decent workout. Also, I left feeling a bit worse about myself instead of better. So I quite going to her.

I guess what I'm saying in a very long winded way is that - your age and life experiences are a benefit not a liablity. If this is what you want to do then I say go for it! The world needs more people like you helping those of us who aren't there yet. :)
  1769901
July 7, 2011 9:31 AM
"The only thing I think you need to consider is how it might make you feel to be in a classroom..."

My wife asked me essentially this same question the other night. I really don't think going back to school would bother me that much. I'm all about learning new things, and it doesn't at all make me uncomfortable to be around people different from me in any way. The advantage to starting over that far back, is that it not only gives me a couple of years to hit my goal loss of at least 175 pounds, but it also gives me a couple of years to cut up and be in top notch condition. From what I can tell, all of you that have responded are much further along than I am in hitting your goals, and it's awesome to see. The community is what got me started thinking about this in the first place and it daily solidifies it even more.


"You're going to be 40 anyway, you might as well be 40 with a degree in something you want to pursue, right?"

I thought this was pretty brilliant!
Edited by Eats_With_A_Fist On July 7, 2011 9:32 AM
July 7, 2011 10:20 AM
I don't think it is an unreasonable goal at all. After almost 20 years of doing Chemical Engineering, I'm starting to figure out what I want to do with my life! :-) I need a change of pace!
  2506163
July 7, 2011 12:55 PM
"You're going to be 40 anyway, you might as well be 40 with a degree in something you want to pursue, right?"

You hit the nail on the head with this comment. Pursue what you love and you will be much happier in the end.

I'm thinking about a career change as well and I'm glad I came across this post, makes me want to pursue a career change even more. Good luck w/ your decision.
July 24, 2014 7:01 PM
I love the supportive answers! I am a Registered Dietitian, and can clear up a few things. First, since you have a bachelor's degree, you would not need to return for a BS in nutrition. You would be best served to obtain a Master's degree in Nutrition. Then, you will need to obtain acceptance into dietetic internships, which are *fiercely* competitive. And expensive. There are RD jobs available, but among all healthcare jobs, RD positions are some of the least common. In other words, there is a lot of competition for each RD position.

In the end, do this work because of your passion. If you do it for the money or accolades, you will be disappointed. Best wishes in your endeavors!
Edited by RDFrances On July 24, 2014 7:02 PM
July 29, 2014 8:06 AM
I want to chime in too! I started my path towards being a Registered Dietitian when I was 30 and with two small kids. I finished my internship (unpaid, 7 months in the program I was in) last August. I passed my RD exam last September and was hired at the place I interned at in November. I'll be 40 this October. I'll also be somewhere in my 170's then too (I'm almost 5'11"). I'm now pursuing my MPH (Masters in Public Health) degree while working full-time and with two "older" kids. It's been a whirlwind but I LOVE my job - I oversee the nutrition of patients in our large trauma center who have spinal cord injuries.

One thing that my internship preceptor said she liked (and picked me for) is that she could tell I had a determination that the other younger candidates didn't have. This was my second career and I was going for it at all costs and she liked that. There is no drama with me, only drive, and it's because of my age!

It's totally doable and totally worth it if you love it! Just steer straight and go for it!
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