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Compensation, Equity, Pay, Registered dietitians, Sex



  1. Pollard, Prudence RD, PhD, MPH
  2. Taylor, Maxine RD, EdD
  3. Daher, Noha DrPH
  4. Davis, Nicceta PT, PhD, MPH


This study is the second comprehensive examination of the compensation of registered dietitians (RDs), following up on the 2002 survey. Health care continues to experience wage disparity because of sex. For example, the 2005 Current Population Survey revealed that female physicians earn 60% of the earnings of male physicians. Disparities also exist for nurses, pharmacists, and dietitians. Data on demographic and other factors that the literature suggests are related to compensation were collected. The mail survey was distributed from May 11 through July 5, 2005. A total of 10,209 RDs responded to the survey. The number of practicing RDs was 8,475, of whom 70% worked full-time. Analyses were conducted on 5,651 practicing and employed RDs who worked full-time. Ninety-six percent of the RDs were women, 69% were younger than 50 years, and 9.1% indicated a race other than white. Median total cash compensation for full-time RDs employed in the position for at least 1 year was $49,850.00, and the range was $207,460.00. Women earned 92% of the compensation paid to men, compared with 90% in 2002. In addition to the variability caused by sex, earnings of women and men varied because of the amount of experience they possess and the size of budget that is managed. Conclusions suggest that (1) surveys continue to establish trends in compensation and (2) pay policies should be monitored to guarantee equity and to ensure that market surveys are free of data that are corrupted by sex pay disparity.