A residency in the dietetics field is not common practice and/or probably does not exist. To practice in the field of eating disorders, this is most likely a ‘must’ for a registered dietitian nutritionist ‘to be’ or registered dietitian nutritionist who is interested in a career change (maybe one who is wanting to become a “non-diet” focused dietitian like those here at WC&NT!) This of course is the humble opinion of Jill Sechi, MS, RDN, LD, CEDS-S, the owner of WC&NT. Jill usually tells those entering the field of eating disorders that the learning ‘curve’ will ‘feel’ like they are getting a masters degree with the amount of learning and skill development it takes to be an effective clinician that works with those struggling with eating disorders.
The residency is designed to help and support the learning 'curve' through mentoring, education, supervision, and hands on learning such as learning nutrition counseling skills and techniques (learning therapeutic interventions, meal planning, motivational interviewing for example), meal support, collaboration, and communication with a client's treatment team (the dietitian is just one member!).
Most nutrition undergraduate programs provide minimal or limited education about eating disorders and treatment. During one's dietetic internship, some are able to obtain a 4-5 week rotation in the field specific to eating disorders. To actually enter the field of eating disorders (full time job) most facilities require or want 2-3 years experience in the field prior to hire. Working in the field of eating disorders is not an entry level position. Much harm to clients and frustration on the clinician's end happens with lack of adequate training, education, and supervision. We need more qualified and well-trained dietitians in the field!