Dietitians provide medical nutrition therapy for patients in institutions such as hospitals and nursing care facilities. They design nutrition programs to protect health, prevent allergic reactions and alleviate the symptoms of many types of disease. A Master's or Doctorate in sub-specialties include:
- Community dietitians develop nutrition programs designed to prevent disease and promote health, targeting particular groups of people. Dietitians in this practice area may work in settings such as public health clinics, fitness centers, corporate wellness programs or home health agencies.
- Corporate dietitians work in food manufacturing, advertising and marketing. In these areas, dietitians analyze foods, prepare literature for distribution, or report on issues such as the nutritional content of recipes, dietary fiber or vitamin supplements.
- Consultant dietitians work under contract with health care facilities or in their own private practice. They perform nutrition assessments for their clients and advise them about diet-related concerns. Some work for wellness programs, sports teams, supermarkets and other nutrition-related businesses.
- Management dietitians oversee large-scale meal planning and preparation in health care facilities, company cafeterias, prisons and schools. They hire, train and direct other dietitians and food service workers; budget for and purchase food, equipment, and supplies; enforce sanitary and safety regulations; and prepare records and reports.
- Sports dietitians provide nutrition counseling and education that is designed to enhance athletic performance. They assess and analyze dietary practices, body composition, and energy balance (intake and expenditure) of athletes in the context of athletic performance and health.
- Join the Pre-Health Professions Program and request to be added to the Pre-Dietetics Email List
- Meet with the Pre-Health Professions Advisor each semester to make a professional and academic development plan and review your progress
- Choose a degree major that you enjoy and that provides a good “back-up plan” and career path in case you change your mind about dietetics; common majors include Food & Nutrition, Exercise, Sport and Health Sciences, Biology, and Chemistry, but all majors will be considered if a student completes the prerequisite courses and other admissions standards established by individual dietetics programs
- Carefully check admission requirements for dietetics and nutrition science programs of most interest and take the required coursework
- Review the Sample 4-year Plan for the Food & Nutrition, B.S. program
- Join the Food and Nutrition Club
- Get clinical experience with a dietitian nutritionist and maintain a Professional Development Activities Log; explore different areas of the field and be sure to meet any clinical experience requirements of your preferred schools
- Get involved in extracurricular, leadership, and volunteer activities
- Develop strong relationships with faculty, registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN's), and others who will be writing letters of reference
- Attend Pre-Health Professions Program workshops and networking events
Most Master of Nutrition Science or Dietetics programs require a grade point average of 3.00 or greater. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is also a common requirement for admission. Prerequisite courses may include human anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, psychology, statistics, and human nutrition.
The University of Idaho offers a Master of Science in Dietetics through the Margaret Ritchie School of Family & Consumer Sciences.