Dietitian Vs Pharmacist

Are you unsure whether to become a dietitian or pharmacist? No matter whether you choose dietitian or pharmacist as a career option, in both cases, you will be working in the healthcare sector. Factors like duties, responsibilities, salary, education requirements, qualifications, etc., will differ depending on whether you want to become a dietitian or pharmacist.

To help you select the right career option between these two, here we have talked about the job description of both. It will help you figure out which one is ideal for you.

Dietitian pic


Regular food intake plays a significant role in any person’s health. To stay fit and healthy, it is essential to consume the right food. This becomes more important for people with any physical condition or any health problem. This is when the importance of a dietitian comes in. Dietitians advise people on food intake.

As a dietitian, your job tasks will revolve around advising and counseling people on food and nutrition. Dietitians help people achieve their health goals. As a dietitian, you will be analyzing physical conditions and other health concerns of people. Based on their physical conditions and other health issues, you will be preparing a nutritional plan.

When it comes to the Registered Dietitian profession, it can be divided into three types – clinical dietitians, community dietitians, and management dietitians. Depending on the type of dietitian you are, your duties and responsibilities will vary. Clinical dietitians are trained to provide medical nutrition therapy in hospitals and long-term care facilities. Community dietitians educate people on food & nutrition topics. Talking about Management dietitians, they work in planning meal programs in hospitals, cafeterias, and food corporations.

Duties & responsibilities

Duties and responsibilities of dietitian include:

  • Communicating with patients about their health goals and dietary needs
  • Developing nutrition plans
  • Analyzing physical conditions and other health concerns of people
  • Deliver client nutrition recommendations
  • Provide nutrition education and counseling to patients

Educational requirements & qualifications

If you want to become a dietitian and advise people on food & nutrition, the first thing you need to do is know about the educational requirements & qualifications of this job position. First of all, you need to complete a college/university educational program in dietetics and/or nutrition that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

After the completion of education requirements, you need to pass CDR’s Registration Examination for Dietitians. And after that, you need to focus on obtaining the licensure. Make sure to maintain your state’s licensure/certification requirements.

Required skills

Some essential skills to become a registered dietitian are:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Data entry and data analysis
  • Problem-solving
  • Organizational skills
  • Effective writing skills
  • Effective speaking skills
  • Active listening skills


The salary of Registered Dietitians varies depending on a number of factors like education, certification, skills, experience, etc. The average Dietitian salary in the United States is about $63,623 a year. This typically ranges between $57,911 and $69,911 a year.

pharmacist employee


If you want to get into the healthcare field, the pharmacist can also be a great job position. As a pharmacist, your main job will be to dispense prescribed medications. Apart from this, your duty will also be to review those prescriptions. When it comes to the pharmacist, ensuring patient safety is very important. If any prescription seems incorrect, the pharmacist may need to communicate with the prescriber.

Pharmacists are of different types. Depending on the type of pharmacist you are, your duties and responsibilities will vary slightly. It includes retail pharmacist, hospital pharmacist, ambulatory care pharmacist, consulting pharmacist, compounding pharmacist, and more. When choosing the pharmacy type, it all comes down to your skills and interests.

Duties & responsibilities

The job duty of a pharmacist is not limited to dispensing prescriptions and reviewing. There are many more tasks pharmacists perform on a daily basis. Here are some essential duties and responsibilities of pharmacists:

  • Prepare medicines after reviewing and interpreting patients’ orders
  • Dispense prescriptions
  • Counsel patients
  • Communicate with prescribers
  • Ensure patients’ safety
  • Work with patients on general health
  • Manage staff
  • Perform administrative tasks

Education requirements & qualifications

To become a pharmacist, first, you need to obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from a pharmacy program accredited by the ACPE (Accreditation Council for the Pharmacy Education). After getting a PharmD degree, you need to obtain the licensure. Depending on your state, pharmacist license requirements will vary. You must pass NAPLEX (North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination) by the North Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). Apart from this, most states also require candidates to pass MPJE (Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam).

Required skills

Here are the skills required to become a pharmacist:

  • Focus on quality
  • Productivity
  • Analyzing information
  • Attention to detail
  • Administering medication
  • Communication skills
  • FDA regulations


Your salary as a pharmacist will vary depending on the factors like experience, skills, pharmacy type, education, certification, etc. On average, pharmacists in the United States make $128,090 a year.

In this comparison post, we can see that pharmacists and dietitians are both in the healthcare field. However, duties, responsibilities, salary, and other factors of both are the same.


Dietitian OR Pharmacist

We didn’t want you to only take our word for it so we scoured the internet for other professional opinions of Dieticians and Pharmacist. This information was curated from forums, websites, and sub reddits. Nothing has been changed except any spelling or grammar where needed.

1. Adam Yee “Food science” – I will speak for food science.

It’s a stable job that requires less schooling than pharmacy. Everyone has to eat, and there is quite a need for more people in the food industry especially now. You take on more of a corporate role when you go into food science and deal more with corporate shenanigans and marketing mishaps.

Both professions are awesome, you have more variables for success/failure as a food scientist since you can go so many paths. Pharmacy will definitively pay more, but you will be making more sacrifices.

If you’re choosing a field based of of money, do pharmacy. It’s hard, but worth it.

If you care about helping people be healthier through medicine, do pharmacy

If you care about helping people be healthier through food, do food science

If you want to work right away after college, then go food science

Hope that helps

2. Saanya Kasbe “Pharmacist” – I can only answer about pharmacy ,not food science. So you have to decide considering pros and cons of both the fields where your interest lies and what you feel is suitable for you.

Pharmacy is study of medicine right from manufacturing of medicines, types of medicine different dosage of medicines to be administered to the patient care to be taken ,its side effects, basically everything related to the patient and a lot more.

As far as the course is related ,your basic concepts of organic chemistry and anatomy physiology should be good .

Search and analyze thoroughly both the career aspects ,decide wisely..!!!!Hope it helps.

3. Stanley Freeman “Pharmacist” – If you want lifetime job security – go for Pharmacy or for any occupation that requires a license – eg. Nursing, CPA, Teaching, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, etc. If a 50 year old Chef loses her job – that’s a big problem. A 70 year old Pharmacist can find new employment within the U.S. See the book License To Earn (Second Edition) on Amazon.

4. Abdi Fima “Pharmacist” – PHARMACY is better than food science because pharmacy has wider scope of study . It deals with effects of substances on the bod(benefits and adverse effects) and prevention of harm from them. Food science in contrast deals with general aspect of the food, balanced diet, source. It doesn’t consider how body act on food nor how food acts on body.

5. Tom Watkins “Toss up” – A pharmacist is one of the 5 civilian professions that requires a federal license. If you get that, you pretty much have a job for life because it is in high demand.

However, CS is now and will continue to be the basis of most other jobs from retail to R&D, from engineering to bionics. You pretty much have a good job outlook here also…..but….

There is a fundamental difference between these two jobs.

A pharmacy job is a knowledge job. What you know is what your employer is paying for. The actual skills involved will most likely be done by assistants. This has three implications:

(1) your job will focus on that knowledge – Not the skill of filling bottles. You will never do anything else (unless you get into pharmacology R&D). Once a pharmacist, always a pharmacist. For your whole working career. I know a few pharmacists. One had been at it for 20+ years. His salary will top out just below the six figure range. He started out in the $60k range so his salary went up about 50% in 20+ years.

(2) The job’s knowledge is constantly changing, You don’t learn it and then use it for years. You learn it and then you relearn it and then you update and then you start over. It is a knowledge profession but that knowledge can change from day to day as a result of studies, laws, lawsuits, policy, etc. etc. You will spend a great deal of time keeping up with the latest.

(3) Computers are quite good at looking up and recalling knowledge. They can access the latest data from a central database, they can cross-check thousands of references. They can do this much faster than you can and much cheaper to your employer. It is very likely that the pharmacy job will be mostly automated in the near future. Other drug/chemistry related pharmacology related jobs may persist but I think the pharmacist will be a robot in the near future.

A CS job, by comparison is a skill job. It certainly has a strong knowledge aspect – sort of like a plumber that knows what pipe to fix but he is primarily hired to use his hands to fix it. So is a CS job. See also my answer:

Tom Watkins’s answer to What are my chances of getting a programming job when I am both a bootcamp graduate and computer science graduate?

Read the above answer. Now you will see that just a CS degree is not enough. You need to also study how to apply the CS skills. This is a learning curve that does not end. There is always a new twist to what HW and SW you are dealing with and how it is applied to business, management, retail, marketing, science analysis, engineering, etc. etc.

CS has two things that pharmacy doesn’t. (1) There is going to be a huge variety to your work. The CS skills may stay the same but what and how you apply those skills will change often. and (2) there is essentially no upper limit to salary and job status. There is always more to learn in CS and there will always be more applications for your CS skills. Those application areas can get very specific and very demanding and in so doing, they will pay more. For instance – get your CS degree and go to work in a tech department of a corporation and you will top out in the $60k to $75k salary range. Add a little more CS skills and a little more learning so that you can get a job supporting an R&D lab in quantum mechanics and you will open up salaries into the six figure range. Get into CS management as a CTO and you can go to 7 figure salaries. It is likely that a CS professional could increase his salary by 150% to 300% or more over a 20+ year career. (I did!)

You decide. Just don’t expect that after getting your degree, your learning days are over. It never stops. I have four degrees – BA, BSCS, BEEE, MBA and 357 college credits and I also have 431 CEUs and dozens of correspondence courses. I got $50/hr in my first civilian job but I increased that to top out at $487/hr after 25 years.


So when we were going through all the 123 opinions we found they were pretty much split down the middle at 48.5% for Dieticians and 51.5% to Pharmacists. Each side was of course bias and we did find several that had great knowledge in both fields. The biggest thing you can do is reach out in each sides forum to discuss further in detail then shadow each profession. You can actually get a job as a Pharmacy Technician as well to get a behind the scenes look with a Pharmacist.


Danielle Winner

Hello my name is Danielle Winner. Welcome to my site on Pharmacy School and tips and tricks to hopefully help you get in. It's not easy but hopefully you can learn to not make mistakes that students (myself included) make. Good luck on your journey. I graduated from Albany School of Pharmacy in May 2010 and have had a few different jobs across the east coast of the U.S.

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