Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of the American Dietetic Association 106:12 (December 2006), pp. 2062–2066; doi:10.1016/j.jada.2006.09.011 Copyright © 2006 American Dietetic Association; published by Elsevier Inc. Used by permission.


A subset of registered dietitians (RDs) is known to practice at an advanced level, but a clear educational pathway supporting advanced medical nutrition therapy practice has not been identified. Thus, an electronic survey was designed to investigate interest of clinical RDs, employers, and educators in advanced practice competencies and professional doctorate degree programs in clinical nutrition. Usable responses were obtained from 440 of 978 (45%) RDs, 61 of 107 (57%) employers, and 76 of 114 (67%) educators. Mean interest (5 = very interested, 1 = very uninterested) in obtaining advanced practice education was highest among RDs (3.93 ±1.01) and was significantly different (P < 0.01) from employers (3.74 ±1.28) and educators (2.76 ±1.33). Interest in completing a professional doctorate in clinical nutrition was significantly (P < 0.01) different among RDs (3.05 ±1.28), employers (3.18 ±1.30), and educators (2.3 ±1.34). Employers’ mean interest score for hiring RDs with a professional doctorate in clinical nutrition was 4.02 ±0.93. A subset of clinical RDs appears to be interested in obtaining advanced practice competency and enrolling in professional doctorate degrees in clinical nutrition. Clinical nutrition managers in academic medical centers may be interested in hiring advanced practice clinical RDs with professional doctorate degrees. Opportunities exist for educators to develop advanced practice educational experiences and professional doctorate degree programs.