Dietetics is the study of nutrition and dieting habits as well as how they contribute to good or poor health. By studying dietetics, you can learn ways to both prevent and treat health conditions and diseases. This article provides examples of schools that offer dietetics degree programs, types of careers you can get with a dietetics degree, and even examples of places where you can work once you’ve completed a dietetics degree program.
Dietetics Degree Programs
There are many ways in which you can prepare for a higher education in dietetics. Some helpful areas to focus on in high school include but are not limited to psychology, biology, home economics, and physical education. Your guidance counselor can also help you determine what high school courses would be most useful to assist with your future in dietetics.
Michigan State University offers undergraduate students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics, a degree program that aims to prepare students for entering the nutrition field. As one of the largest dietetics degree programs in the United States, Michigan State University’s classic mix of lectures and hands-on learning techniques brings students and educators together to create an effective learning environment. The dietetics degree program focuses on both human nutrition and food service management systems, so students are able to explore different aspects of the field. The dietetics degree program at Michigan State University is also accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
At Messiah College, students are able to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. The nutrition and dietetics degree program helps students prepare for the national exam required by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) to become registered dietitians. The degree program includes courses based in subjects like biochemistry, business, medical nutrition, anatomy, and more so that students are able to gain the knowledge necessary to succeed in various areas of the nutrition industry. Messiah also encourages students to take advantage of internship opportunities in order to further boost their knowledge and to develop experience within their fields of interest.
The University of Kwazulu-Natal provides undergraduate and graduate students alike the opportunities to earn degrees in dietetics. Undergraduate students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics, and graduate students may earn a Master of Science in Dietetics and/or a PhD in Dietetics. Courses relevant to food science and diet therapy educate students on proper nutrition and ways to help others improve their health and maintain healthy lifestyles. Any student interested in pursuing a higher degree–a masters degree or doctoral degree–in dietetics is required to build his or her education by completing an extensive research project. These research projects are meant as self-teaching methods, and students are expected to give two presentations in order to demonstrate what they learn and how they can apply that information to their future careers.
Careers in Dietetics
While enrolled in a dietetics or nutritional science degree program, it is important that you spend time deciding what career paths most intrigue you. In order to form your studies to best fit your career goals, you should establish which careers you’d prefer to pursue after college.
Entry Level Careers in Dietetics
With an associates degree or bachelors degree in dietetics or a related field and with little to no experience in the field, you may find that you qualify for at least one of the positions described here.
A dietetic technician may work under a registered dietitian, advising clients on the best way to choose healthy foods and lead healthy lifestyles. Dietetic technicians may also monitor client health records, as well. Some dietetic technicians work in hospitals, where they may order and actually prepare meals for patients on a daily basis. Dietetic technicians typically possess bachelor degrees in dietetics or nutritional science and are quite personable with excellent communication skills. They may also be knowledgeable in food management.
Dietetic technicians may earn around $24,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.
A dietitian spends his or her time organizing nutrition plans for individuals and/or institutions like hospitals and public schools. It is not uncommon for a dietitian to tend to patients who have health conditions such as diabetes. Dietitians make sure patients and institutions are provided with well-balanced nutritional options. Dietitians hold bachelor degrees in anything from dietetics to nutritional science and are required to be registered or licensed to practice in most areas. They may also have experience in the nutrition field.
Dietitians may earn around $54,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.
Advanced Careers in Dietetics
After earning a masters degree or higher in dietetics or a related field and/or gaining a few years of experience, your chances of qualifying for at least one position in this section will significantly increase.
Food Service Manager
A food service manager oversees food service operations, working anywhere from hotels to upscale restaurants, to ensure customer satisfaction. Food service managers may perform duties such as pricing menu items, planning weekly menus, keeping ingredients stocked, ordering necessary machinery and equipment, and much more. They may have degrees in food service management, dietetics, nutrition, or other related fields and are highly organized and detail-oriented with years of experience in the food service industry.
Food service managers may earn around $42,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.
Food and Beverage Buyer
A food and beverage buyer purchases necessary ingredients or foods and beverages for an organization, a company, or a school. He or she is responsible for ensuring the organization, company, or school is properly stocked at all times in order to keep clients, attendees, and employees properly fed. Food and beverage buyers often have bachelor degrees in food service management, nutrition, or other related fields. They also possess outstanding communication skills that help them best negotiate deals with food and beverage distributors. Many companies require at least two years of experience within the food industry.
Food and beverage buyers may earn around $45,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.
*Note: Most positions require the applicant to have passed a certification exam in order to practice.
Companies that Hire People with Dietetics Degrees
Once you earn a degree in dietetics or nutrition, it’s time to jump into the job market. The job market of today isn’t exactly the most welcoming place, so it would be particularly helpful for you to possess experience in the field you choose to pursue. Experience for entry level positions is most commonly gained through work-study programs and internships you may complete during your time enrolled in a dietetics degree program. Below is a brief list of examples of places you could potentially find jobs once you earn your degree in dietetics.
BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. – locations across the US; hires positions for food buyers, merchandising copywriters, etc.
Cooper Aerobics – located in Dallas, TX; hires positions for directors of nutrition, patient services representatives, fitness specialists, etc.
Aviands Food & Services Management – located in Roseville, MN; hires positions for field support dietitians, food service directors, etc.
Lovelace Womens Hospital – located in Albuquerque, NM; hires positions for registered dietitians and more
Educating people of today’s society on proper nutrition and dieting habits is incredibly important. Earning a dietetics degree will help you do just that. If you have a passion for helping others improve their health or stay healthy, then you should certainly consider earning a degree in dietetics.