Dietetics is a challenging profession that applies the science of food and nutrition to the health and well-being of individuals and groups. The Meredith College Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) is a science-based program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy). Successful program completion enables you to compete for placement in accredited dietetic internship programs (DI), a required step in becoming a registered dietitian (RD).
What is a Registered Dietitian?
A Registered Dietitian (RD) – www.eatright.org
is an individual who has completed the following requirements:
Academic requirements from an ACEND accredited Didactic Program in DieteticsMinimum of a baccalaureate degree from a US regionally accredited institutionA supervised practice program (DI) from an ACEND accredited programSuccessfully passed the Registration Examination for Dietitians
Where do RDs work, and what are their average salaries?
Registered Dietitians are employed in hospitals and other health-care facilities, government and public health agencies, food companies, schools and universities, private practice, and a variety of other settings. Opportunities for Registered Dietitians to be employed in wellness and sports nutrition programs and in sales and marketing for business and industry are increasing. Career opportunities for graduates include:
Clinical Dietitian (in a health care setting, including acute and long term care and facilities specializing in rehabilitation and eating disorders)*Public Health or Community Dietitian*Consultant Dietitian in Private Practice*Sports Dietitian*Nutrition Educator or TeacherNutrition Specialist (for food industries)ResearchGraduate SchoolRestaurant ManagerPharmaceutical/Medical Sales RepresentativeNutraceutical IndustryCorporate WellnessCulinary Arts SchoolPublic Policy DevelopmentNon-profit Advocacy GroupsNational Health Organizations
*Requires RD and/or LD/N
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, median annual earnings of dietitians and nutritionists were $46,980 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $38,430 and $57,090. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,860, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $68,330. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of dietitians and nutritionists in May 2006 were:
Outpatient care centers – $49,950 General medical and surgical hospitals – $47,320 State government – $46,690 Nursing care facilities – $46,660 Local government – $43,250
What is a Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist (LD/N)?
Some states require that dietitians be licensed by a State Licensing Board to be able to practice dietetics. In many states the requirements for licensure are similar to those for dietetic registration. North Carolina requires a license for practice (see website for more information: www.ncbdn.org
. If you are planning to practice in another state, you should contact the state dietetic association to see if there are licensure/certification requirements.
What is a Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR)?www.eatright.org
What should I know about professional associations?The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy)
The Academy is the nation’s largest professional organization for dietitians. Students enrolled in an accredited dietetics program have the opportunity to become a student member of the organization. The most important advantages to Academy student members are the eligibility for Academy-sponsored scholarships, the journal, networking, and the chance to improve your marketability. You get all of this for a very small annual fee – the membership fee is $50.00 for 2010-2011. The FN faculty strongly encourages you to join. To be a student member of the Academy, you must complete a membership application card and submit the dues payment. Information and applications are available on the Academy website at: http://www.eatright.org/students/join/
Scholarships to defray program costs are available for qualified students through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The North Carolina Dietetic Association
The North Carolina Dietetic Association (http://www.eatrightnc.org
) is North Carolina’s professional organization for dietitians. Students who are Academy student members are automatically members of the State Association.
The Raleigh District Dietetic Association
The Raleigh District Dietetic Association (RDDA
) is Raleigh’s professional organization for dietitians. You are encouraged to join to get to know local dietitians. This provides great opportunities for networking and mentoring. The student membership fee is $10 per year.
Foundation Knowledge, Skills and Competency Requirements for Entry-Level DietitiansCommission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education
American Dietetic Association
Individuals interested in becoming Registered Dietitians should expect to study a wide variety of topics focusing on food, nutrition, and management. These areas are supported by the sciences: biological, physiological, behavioral, social, and communication. Becoming a dietitian involves a combination of academic preparation, including a minimum of a baccalaureate degree, and a supervised practice component. The following foundation knowledge and skill requirements are listed in the eight areas that students will focus on in the academic component of a dietetics program. Foundation learning includes knowledge of a topic as it applies to the profession of dietetics, and the ability to demonstrate the skill at a level that can be developed further. To successfully achieve the foundation knowledge and skills, graduates must demonstrate the ability to communicate and collaborate, solve problems, and apply critical thinking skills.
These requirements may be met through separate courses, combined into one course, or as part of several courses as determined by the college or university sponsoring a program accredited or approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE
) of the American Dietetic Association.
Foundation Knowledge Requirements and Learning Outcomes for DPDs
1.Scientific and Evidence Base of Practice: integration of scientific information and research into practiceKnowledge Requirement
KR 1.1 The curriculum must reflect the scientific basis of the dietetics profession and must include research methodology, interpretation of research literature and integration of research principles into evidence-based practice.
KR 1.1.a Learning Outcome: Students are able to demonstrate how to locate, interpret, evaluate and use professional literature to make ethical evidence-based practice decisions.
KR 1.1.b Learning Outcome: Students are able to use current information technologies to locate and apply evidence-based guidelines and protocols, such as the ADA
Evidence Analysis Library, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Guideline Clearinghouse websites.
2.Professional Practice Expectations: beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors for the professional dietitian level of practice.Knowledge Requirement
KR 2.1 The curriculum must include opportunities to develop a variety of communication skills sufficient for entry into pre-professional practice.
KR 2.1.a Learning Outcome: Students are able to demonstrate effective and professional oral and written communication and documentation and use of current information technologies when communicating with individuals, groups and the public.
KR 2.1.b Learning Outcome: Students are able to demonstrate assertiveness, advocacy and negotiation skills appropriate to the situation.
KR 2.2 The curriculum must provide principles and techniques of effective counseling methods.
KR 2.2.a Learning Outcome: Students are able to demonstrate counseling techniques to facilitate behavior change.
KR 2.3 The curriculum must include opportunities to understand governance of dietetics practice, such as the ADA
Scope of Dietetics Practice Framework, the Standards of Professional Performance and the Code of Ethics for the Profession of Dietetics; and interdisciplinary relationships in various practice settings.
KR 2.3.a Learning Outcome: Students are able to locate, understand and apply established guidelines to a professional practice scenario.
KR 2.3.b Learning Outcome: Students are able to identify and describe the roles of others with whom the Registered Dietitian collaborates in the delivery of food and nutrition services.
3.Clinical and Customer Services: development and delivery of information, products and services to individuals, groups and populationsKnowledge Requirement
KR 3.1 The curriculum must reflect the nutrition care process and include the principles and methods of assessment, diagnosis, identification and implementation of interventions and strategies for monitoring and evaluation.
KR 3.1.a Learning Outcome: Students are able to use the nutrition care process to make decisions, to identify nutrition-related problems and determine and evaluate nutrition interventions, including medical nutrition therapy, disease prevention and health promotion.
KR 3.2 The curriculum must include the role of environment, food, nutrition and lifestyle choices in health promotion and disease prevention.
KR 3.2.a Learning Outcome: Students are able to apply knowledge of the role of environment, food and lifestyle choices to develop interventions to affect change and enhance wellness in diverse individuals and groups.
KR 3.3 The curriculum must include education and behavior change theories and techniques.
KR 3.3.a Learning Outcome: Students are able to develop an educational session or program/ educational strategy for a target population.
4.Practice Management and Use of Resources: strategic application of principles of management and systems in the provision of services to individuals and organizationsKnowledge Requirement
KR 4.1 The curriculum must include management and business theories and principles required to deliver programs and services.
KR 4.1.a Learning Outcome: Students are able to apply management and business theories and principles to the development, marketing and delivery of programs or services.
KR 4.1.b Learning Outcome: Students are able to determine costs of services or operations, prepare a budget and interpret financial data.
KR 4.1.c Learning Outcome: Students are able to apply the principles of human resource management to different situations.
KR 4.2 The curriculum must include content related to quality management of food and nutrition services.
KR 4.2.a Learning Outcome: Students are able to apply safety principles related to food, personnel and consumers.
KR 4.2.b Learning Outcome: Students are able to develop outcome measures, use informatics principles and technology to collect and analyze data for assessment and evaluate data to use in decision-making.
KR 4.3 The curriculum must include the fundamentals of public policy, including the legislative and regulatory basis of dietetics practice.
KR 4.3.a Learning Outcome: Students are able to explain the impact of a public policy position on dietetics practice.
KR 4.4 The curriculum must include content related to health care systems.
KR 4.4.a Learning Outcome: Students are able to explain the impact of health care policy and administration, different health care delivery systems and current reimbursement issues, policies and regulations on food and nutrition services.
5.Support Knowledge: knowledge underlying the requirements specified above.Knowledge Requirement
SK 5.1 The food and food systems foundation of the dietetics profession must be evident in the curriculum. Course content must include the principles of food science and food systems, techniques of food preparation and application to the development, modification and evaluation of recipes, menus and food products acceptable to diverse groups.
SK 5.2 The physical and biological science foundation of the dietetics profession must be evident in the curriculum. Course content must include organic chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, microbiology, pharmacology, statistics, nutrient metabolism, and nutrition across the lifespan.
SK 5.3 The behavioral and social science foundation of the dietetics profession must be evident in the curriculum. Course content must include concepts of human behavior and diversity, such as psychology, sociology or anthropology.