A dietetics degree provides the skills and knowledge increasingly required for maintaining a healthy society. Graduates can work as dietitians or nutritionists in a number of different environments. Their job is to create nutritional eating plans designed to meet the health or other needs of their clients. This often includes seeing to the preparation and serving of meals, for example in a school canteen or a hospital. They also provide dietitian education to communities about healthy eating to prevent illnesses.
This page gives you more information about what is involved in a dietitian degree, where you can study it, and the careers and salary prospects after completion. You might also like to check out this nutrition program.
How do you become a registered dietitian?
Any young person who is interested in this line of work is advised to take a high school course that includes specific subjects. These are mathematics, biology, health, communications, and chemistry. This knowledge will make studying at a college or university much easier. To work as a dietitian or nutritionist, the minimum qualification is a Bachelors degree in dietetics.
In the USA, some states require dietitians to be certified, registered or licensed, or all three. In most states, licensure is only approved once an examination has been passed. This exam is set by the American Dietetic Association. Some dietitians choose to specialize in particular fields, e.g., renal or pediatric dietetics.
What are the career prospects after completing a dietetics degree?
Because the public has become more aware of the importance of proper nutrition, new jobs have been created in food manufacturing, marketing, and advertising. In these fields, dietitians prepare literature, analyze foods, and review the nutritional content of recipes and vitamin supplements. They write reports on their findings so that the relevant authorities can ensure that manufacturers are producing products that meet pre-set standards.
A management dietitian oversees other dietitians and food safety personnel. The planning and preparation of meals in large institutions such as schools, company canteens, prisons, and hospitals, are supervised by a managing dietitian. This job includes making sure that sanitation and safety regulations are complied with. Other responsibilities are recruitment, training, preparing reports, budgeting, and purchasing of food and equipment.
Clinical dietitians can work in a hospital or a nursing home. They implement nutritional care by formulating diets to suit individual patients’ needs. People suffering with heart disease, diabetes, obesity, or kidney failure, often need specific eating plans. A community dietitian can work in a public health clinic, a health agency, or a health maintenance organization. He or she teaches people what foods to buy, how to prepare meals for people with special needs, as well as the elderly, and children.
Consultant dietitians help people who are struggling with a diet related health issue, e.g., trying to lower their cholesterol levels or lose weight. They conduct nutrition screenings to analyze the individual requirements of each client. Usually, this type of dietitian has his or her own practice, or works on a contract basis for healthcare facilities. They can also be employed by wellness centers, supermarkets, or work for sports teams.
Many people who are trained in dietetics prefer to work in a corporate-like environment where they are involved in food equipment, food manufacturing, or pharmaceutical supplements. They can take on positions like Department Director or Associate Director.
Employment in this profession is expected to grow steadily through to 2018, with an increasing need for certified dietitians and nutritionists in a number of facilities. Job creation is due to government policy changes and the large aging population. The average salary is between US$39,994 and US$58,852 per year.
List of nutrition and dietetics schools and programs
- Food and Nutrition Management