Sports Dietitian Job Description

Sports Dietitian Job Description

The following is a sample job description for a sports dietitian. 

POSITION SUMMARY

The sports dietitian provides individual and group/team nutrition counseling and education to enhance the performance of competitive and recreational athletes, on-site and during travel. Primary responsibilities include counseling individuals and groups on daily nutrition for performance and health; translating the latest scientific evidence into practical sports nutrition recommendations; tracking and documenting outcomes of nutrition services, serving as a food and nutrition resource for coaches, trainers, and parents; providing sports nutrition education for health/wellness programs, athletic teams, and community groups; and maintaining professional competency and skills required for professional practice.  

  • For a list of sports nutrition education programs click here.

PRIMARY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Individual Nutrition Counseling

  • Assesses and analyzes dietary practices, body composition, and energy balance (intake and expenditure) of athletes in the context of athletic performance and health.
  • Counsels athletes on optimal nutrition for exercise training (match nutrition to training phases and goals), competition, recovery from exercise, weight management, hydration, immunity, disordered eating, travel, and supplementation.
  • Counsels athletes on achieving and maintaining a level of body mass, body fat, and muscle mass that is consistent with good health and good performance.
  • Provides personalized meal and snack plans to promote achieving short- and long-term goals for athletic performance and good health.
  • Develops and counsels in hydration protocols.
  • Addresses nutritional challenges to performance, such as food allergies, bone mineral disturbances, gastrointestinal disturbances, iron depletion, and iron-deficiency anemia.
  • Provides medical nutrition therapy, as needed, to help manage or treat medical conditions.
  • Counsels athletes on optimal nutrition for recovery from illness or injury.
  • Coordinates nutritional care as a member of multidisciplinary sports medical/sports science teams.
  • Provides liaison with in- and out-patient programs for conditions such as disordered eating.
  • Evaluates nutritional supplements, including herbal supplements, for legality, safety, quality, and efficacy; monitors use of appropriate supplementation.
  • Collaborates with the individual’s family, physician, coach, and other health professionals, as appropriate.
  • Develops resources to support educational efforts.
  • Educates in food selection (grocery store tours, food storage) and food preparation (cooking classes).
  • Documents nutrition services provided and evaluates the effectiveness of nutrition strategies towards meeting desired outcomes using the Nutrition Care Process.
  • Educates and mentors dietetic interns and others as appropriate.
  • Supervises DTRs, student workers, and employees.
  • Develops and oversees nutrition policies and procedures.
Food Service and Menu Development
  • Coordinates/manages quantity food production and distribution such as developing and managing training table menus and catering.
  • Coordinates nutrition for domestic and/or international travel, for example, catering, hotels, airlines, competition, for individuals and teams. 
  • Manages budgets for purchasing and distribution of nutritional supplements.
  • Develops and delivers nutrition education for food service personnel.

    Nutrition Education for Teams, Groups, or Wellness Programs
  • Develops and delivers nutrition education presentations, demonstrations, or events on various topics related to nutrition for performance.
  • Plans menus for training table and team travel.
  • Recommends appropriate pre-, during, and post-exercise fluids and snacks for individual training, team practice, and competition.
  • Provides individual nutrition counseling as needed.
  • Serves as a nutrition resource for coaches, teachers, trainers, food service personnel, and parents.

    Professional Development
  • Maintains dietetic registration and continuing education requirements.
  • Develops and implements an individualized portfolio plan for professional growth and development including participation in professional organizations and activities, workshops, seminars, and development programs.
  • Stays abreast of current food, nutrition, and health issues and research related to sports nutrition.


KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS REQUIREMENTS

Education/Experience: Bachelor’s degree in clinical nutrition, food and nutrition, or related area, granted from a U.S. regionally accredited college or university. Master’s degree in nutrition or exercise physiology preferred. Completion of a didactic program in dietetics and supervised practice program approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association. Minimum of 2 years experience in nutrition counseling, preferably with emphasis on sports nutrition.  To learn more about programs offering Sports Nutrition degrees click here.

Certification/License: Registered Dietitian with active registration by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Certification/Licensure as required by state of practice. Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) preferred.

Skills/Abilities:

  • Excellent communication, presentation, and counseling skills.
  • Ability to accurately measure height, and body weight.
  • Ability to accurately assess body composition (body mass, body fat, and muscle mass).
  • Ability to accurately assess and evaluate energy balance.
  • Knowledge of eating disorder/disordered eating signs and symptoms.
  • Comprehensive knowledge and application of medical nutrition therapy, including interviewing and education techniques.
  • Self-motivation and ability to work independently.
  • Excellent time management, organizational, and record-keeping skills.
  • Knowledge of complementary medicine, ergogenic aids, and nutritional supplements, including herbal supplements.
  • Competence with nutrient analysis, word processing, and presentation software.
  • Compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
  • Knowledge of rules and regulations of athletic governing bodies: e.g., National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), regarding banned drugs and restricted substances.
  • Knowledge of measurements of resting metabolic rate, energy expenditure, VO2max, and lactate threshold.
  • Knowledge of food service quality and safety procedures.


Source
: Job Descriptions: Models for the Dietetics Profession, 2nd edition, 2008. American Dietetic Association, ISBN: 978-0-88091-420-8.