The Advantages Of Being A Male Dietitian… Are There Any?

I am a male dietitian!

Those who know anything about the Dietetic profession know that it is female dominated.  I don’t know the actual statistics, but if I had to guess I would say it is something like a 95/5 split.

I had no idea before I got started that this profession was primarily composed of females. All I knew is that I loved nutrition and wanted to utilize its power to help people live better lives ( there is no better feeling, by the way).

I was pretty shocked to see how few men were in the field and I was regularly told from undergrad onward that my male gender would confer me some great competitive advantage as a dietitian.

In all honesty, I’m not sure that I felt any massive difference or advantage for the most part as a male nutrition student.

There are obvious social considerations that accompany being one of a few males in a group of females, but from the academic perspective I did not find this to be  all that relevant.

I do believe, however,  that when applying to  collaborative programs (ie: graduate school) male candidates offer extra appeal because they can help to alter and balance the group dynamic.

I also believe that in other areas, such as social media, advantages stem from the fact that extra attention is often paid to those who are different than the norm.

But what about professional life?

It wasn’t until I started my private practice that I began to truly appreciate how being different was an advantage.

First of all, in any professional field there is always going to be great saturation.

Being a rare male in a female dominated field allows you the opportunity to stand out.

I found out quickly that some people have a personal preference towards male healthcare practitioners. I’ve had numerous clients explicitly tell me that my status as a male was an important ( or even primary) factor in their selection process.

I believe this especially holds true for the younger & middle-aged male demographic, who may just feel more comfortable with someone who they perceive to better resonate with and understand them.

I am sure there is something to be said for the different perspectives and views males may bring to the table, but I believe the greatest advantage of having more male dietitians is tapping into and engaging broader demographics.

Final Thoughts

For any young male aspiring dietitians out there, you should know that being a male does not guarantee you an easier path to being a dietitian nor does it automatically make you a good dietitian.

In a way, being a male dietitian comes with great responsibility. Because you are different, you will have greater attention paid to you and you should respect that attention by striving for your utmost professional competence.

I believe that being a male in this field provides the unique opportunity to be a “pioneer of sorts and, if you represent yourself well, your status as a male RD may confer you some valuable benefits in professional life.

Until next time,

Andy De Santis RD MPH