About the Dietetics/Dietitian Major
Nutrition is the foundation of human life. Without a proper diet, humans cannot survive nor thrive. A dietitian helps people stay healthy by educating them about nutrition, establishing a healthy diet to improve or eliminate health issues, and teaching correct eating habits. Dietetics isn't just about food; it is also about science and keeping people healthy.
If you'd like to pursue a dietetics major in college, you will need to have a solid foundation of high school math and science classes before going on to college. Because dietetics majors spend much of their time studying science, courses in algebra and higher math classes, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, biology, psychology, and sociology will only benefit you.
In college, dietetics majors can expect a blend of traditional classroom instruction, kitchen lab work, and field training. Food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, culinary arts, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, anatomy, and chemistry are just a few of the challenging and exciting courses you will encounter. Additionally, many schools have dietetic clubs and encourage student participation. Some colleges also offer internships, which give students a chance to gain real-world experience.
Field training and internships are invaluable because they allow students to experience the real world of dietitian. Some activities you may participate in include developing meal plans, consulting with medical staff, supervising the purchase of food, directing dietary staff, conducting research, writing research reports, and educating patients regarding healthy eating habits. Internships and field training can occur in hospitals, research facilities, day care facilities, nursing homes, doctor's offices, private practices, cafeterias, and public schools.
Once students have completed their degree and their supervised field training, they are eligible to sit for the exam that allows them to become a registered dietitian. Each state has different requirements for dietitians. Some states require licensing before one can work as a dietitian, while others only require registration. Although the employment outlook is better than average for the prospective dietitian, candidates who hold the registered dietitian nutritionist credential, which is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, could have the best chance for employment.