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INTRODUCTION TO DIETETICSFOR NEW & PROSPECTIVESTUDENTSPrepared by Lynette M. Karls, MS, RD, CDDistinguished Faculty AssociateTara LaRowe, PhD, RDN, CDDPD CoordinatorDepartment of Nutritional SciencesUW-Madison1415 Linden DriveMadison, WI 53706608-265-8928September 2017

INTRODUCTION TO DIETETICSFor New & Prospective StudentsTable of ContentsWhat is Dietetics? Dietitian vs. Nutritionist – What’s the Difference? . .Jobs/Careers in Dietetics and Nutrition . . Employment Settings . . . Specialties/Areas of Dietetics . .Job Titles . Salaries/Job Outlook . .Registered Dietitian – Professional Credential . . Step 1 & 2 – Academics . . Step 3 – Dietetics Internship . . . Step 4 – Registered Examination for Dietitians . .Licensure/Certification . . . . Additional Credentials . . . . Undergraduate Certificates . . . Graduate Work . . . Board Certification . . . Certified Nutrition Support Dietitian . . Certified Diabetes Educator . . Board Certified Advanced Diabetes Management . . Certified Foodservice Management Professional . . . . Certified Dietary manager/Certified Food Protection Professional . . School Foodservice Professional . . Certified Clinical Nutritionist . . . Certified Nutrition Specialist . . . Certified Health Education Specialist . . . . National Certified Counselor . International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Registered Lactation Consultant Certified Professional in Health Care Quality . . Certified in Family and Consumer Sciences . . ACE Certified Fitness Professionals . . ACSM Certifications . . .Education/Academic Coursework . B.S. Degree vs Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) . . . . Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) . . . . B.S. Degree in Dietetics – Additional UW-Madison/CALS Requirements B.S. Degree Programs in Dept. of Nutritional Sciences . 6171717181818182121

Admissions Information – Pre-Dietetics (PDI Classification) . Prospective Freshmen . . . Internal Transfers . . External Transfers . . . 2nd Degree Candidates . . .Admissions Requirements for Dietetics Program (ADI Classification) . . Dietetics Program Admission Requirements . . GPA Calculation . How Do I apply? . . . When Can I apply? . . .Planning Your Course of Study . . . Freshmen . . The DARS Report . . Factors to Consider When Planning Your Courses . . Tips When Planning Your Course of Study . . Selecting Required Courses When Choices Are Listed Advanced Placement Program . . Choosing Elective Courses . Additional Information . Karen Spector Reading Room/Computer Facilities . Scholarships . Student Organizations . . Verification Statements . .Additional Resources . .AppendixA. Curriculum Sheet – Dietetics .B. Course Sequence Sheet – Dietetics . .C. Course Prerequisite Diagram . . D. Course Planning Checklist . . .E. Course Planning Worksheet .F. Application to Dietetics Program 24243444647

Introduction to Dietetics – for New and Prospective StudentsWHAT IS DIETETICS?Dietetics is a health-related career that involves translating the sciences of nutrition and food topromote good health. In short, it’s Nutrition, Food & Health! It is a vital and growingprofession with many career possibilities. Dietitians have an aptitude for science, an interest innutrition and food, and enjoy working with people.Dietetics is a challenging biological field. In addition to courses in nutritional sciences and foodscience, you will study microbiology, physiology, chemistry and biochemistry. Dieteticsstudents also study foodservice systems management, business, psychology, statistics andcommunication.An interest in food is important because you will help people select and obtain food to nourishtheir bodies in health and disease. You may also manage the preparation and service of foodfor groups of people.Working with people is a major part of the job, usually in a teaching or supervisory role. Youmay teach individuals or groups how to improve their eating behavior. You may hire and trainemployees in food production as a food and nutrition manager.Dietitians and nutritionists plan food and nutrition programs, supervise meal preparation andoversee the serving of meals. They prevent and treat illnesses by promoting healthy eating andrecommending dietary modifications. For example, dietitians might teach a patient with highblood pressure how to use less salt when preparing meals, or create a diet reduced in fat andsugar for an overweight patient. They might counsel patients with kidney disease or diabeteson diet and nutrition principles important in treating their disease. They determine methodsand develop special formulations to feed patients who are unable to eat (e.g. critically ill andcomatose patients, etc.).Dietitians manage food service systems for institutions such as hospitals and schools, promotesound eating habits through education, and conduct research. Many dietitians specialize,becoming a clinical dietitian, community dietitian, management dietitian, or consultant.DIETITIAN VS NUTRITIONIST – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a “nutritionist” and a “dietitian”? Toput it simply, a “nutritionist” has no concrete definition, while a “dietitian” has credentials togo with the term. Any person working in a health food store or otherwise can call themselves a“nutritionist”. A “Registered Dietitian” (RD), is a credential just like a Registered Nurse (RN) orMedical Doctor (MD). To become a “Registered Dietitian” you must earn the minimum of aBachelors Degree in Dietetics, complete an accredited Dietetic Internship, take and pass the RDexam, and complete 75 continuing education credits every 5 years. (See section on “RegisteredDietitian – The Professional Credential.)1Copyright 2016 University of Wisconsin-Madison

A “Registered Dietitian” is knowledgeable in the science of nutrition. They learn how tointerpret research studies and apply that knowledge to counseling individuals on how toimprove their lifestyle and health. He or she is able to review a person’s medical history,current symptoms, medications, supplements, exercise routine, weight, and eating habits andgive advice that is safe and effective for them to reach their goals.A “Nutritionist” may or may not have the credentials of a Registered Dietitian. An RD is therecognized authority on nutrition in the US. Some nutritionists claim they have credentials, butif they are not an RD, their credentials may not be backed by science, education, andexperience. The RD credential signifies professional competence. The Academy of Nutritionand Dietetics (AND) is the professional association that establishes the criteria for becomingregistered and administers the process. For further information on this association, see:http://www.eatright.orgWhen hiring employees for work in the nutrition/dietetics field, employers look for the RDcredential. In fact, most positions in the nutrition/dietetics field require itJOBS/CAREERS IN DIETETICS AND NUTRITIONYou will find dietitians working in a wide variety of employment settings and in a variety ofspecialties within the field of dietetics. Let’s look at both employment settings and types ofspecialties.Employment Settings1.Hospitals, HMO’s or other health-care facilities – educating patients about nutritionand administering medical nutrition therapy as part of the health-care team. They may alsomanage the foodservice operations in these settings, as well as in schools, day-care centersand correctional facilities, over-seeing everything from food purchasing and preparation tomanaging staff.2.Corporate wellness and sports nutrition programs – educating clients about theconnection between food, fitness and health. They work in a variety of corporate and businesssettings, athletic teams, health/recreation clubs and spas.3.Food and nutrition-related business and industries –working in communications,consumer affairs, food labeling public relations, marketing, product development or consultingwith chefs in restaurants and culinary schools.4.Private practice – working under contract with health-care or food companies, or intheir own business. They may provide services to foodservice or restaurant managers, foodvendors and distributors, athletes, nursing home residents, and company employees.5.Public health and community settings – teaching, monitoring and advising the public2Copyright 2016 University of Wisconsin-Madison

and helping improve their quality of life through healthy eating habits. They work in public andhome health agencies, day care centers, government funded programs (many focus onpregnant women, children, elderly, disabled individuals and underprivileged).6.Universities and medical centers – teaching physician’s assistants, nurses, dieteticsstudents, dentists and others the sophisticated science of foods and nutrition.7.Research areas – in food and pharmaceutical companies, universities and hospitals,directing or conducting experiments to answer critical nutrition questions and find alternativefoods or nutrition recommendations for the public.Specialties/Areas of Practice1.Clinical Nutrition – a member of the health care team. They develop and implementnutrition programs; assess patients’ nutritional needs, determine nutritional diagnoses,develop individual nutritional care plans, counsel patients and evaluate clinical therapeuticoutcomes. They confer with doctors and other healthcare professionals to coordinate medicaland nutritional needs. Some clinical dietitians specialize in managing the weight ofoverweight patients or in the care of renal, diabetic, or critically ill patients. Clinicaldietitians may work in hospitals, nursing care facilities, or outpatient settings.2.Community Nutrition – a member of the community public health team. Thesedietitians assess nutrition needs of individuals and population groups. They plan andcoordinate nutritional aspects of programs aimed at improving health and preventing disease atthe community level. Community dietitians may also evaluate individual needs, developnutritional care plans, and instruct individuals and their families. They provide instruction ongrocery shopping and food preparation to the elderly, children, and individuals with specialneeds. They work in a variety of community settings and clinics, with diverse groups ofindividuals – where good nutrition can improve the quality of life.3.Food Service Management – a member of the management team. They plan, organize,direct and evaluate food service systems. These dietitians are actively involved in budgeting,employee training, personnel management, and establishing and maintaining policies andstandards. They may work in schools, senior centers, healthcare facilities, company cafeterias,prisons, hotels orrestaurants.4.Business and Industry – employed to work in a variety of settings, including sales andpromotion, employee fitness and wellness programs, marketing/advertising, publicrelations, product development, food manufacturing, and on the Internet. In these areas,dietitians analyze foods, prepare literature for distribution, or report on issues such as dietaryfiber, vitamin supplements, or the nutritional content of recipes. Supermarkets hire dietitians towork in areas of consumer education and food safety.3Copyright 2016 University of Wisconsin-Madison

5.Private Practice/Consultation – previous experience in dietetic practice is usuallyneeded. These entrepreneurial dietitians provide advice on services in nutritional care andtherapeutics, sports nutrition or food service management. They perform nutrition screeningsfor their clients and offer advice on diet-related concerns such as weight loss and cholesterolreduction, or improving athletic performance through nutrition. These dietitians are generallyself-employed or work under contract with healthcare facilities, corporations, etc. Some workfor wellness programs, sports teams, supermarkets, and other nutrition-related businesses.They may consult with food service managers, providing expertise in sanitation, safetyprocedures, menu development, budgeting, and planning.6.Education – plan, implement, and evaluate educational experiences for dietetic,medical, dental, nursing or other allied health students. They are employed byuniversities and health care facilities. Advanced education is generally required.7.Research – requires advanced preparation in research techniques and often anadvanced degree. Typically a research dietitian works closely with other investigators inplanning and implementing projects that examine nutrient needs, functions, and interactions inhumans or animals. This dietitian may work in a clinical research center in hospitals oracademic centers. Research activities may be incorporated into all areas of dietetic practice –clinical nutrition, community and public health nutrition, foodservice management, etc.In summary, the field of dietetics offers a wide array of job opportunities in a variety ofsettings. It is a rewarding profession with an encouraging future. The current emphasis onnutrition and health in this country enhances the marketability of the dietitian.Note: a Registered Dietitian (RD) credential is typically required for employment in themedical/health care field and preferred for many other employment opportunities in foodand nutrition. (See section on “Registered Dietitian – The Professional Credential”.)Although most positions in the health and wellness fields require the RD credential, there areopportunities for students who earn their Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics but do not completethe RD requirements. Positions include Food Service Supervisor or Manager (ex. SchoolNutrition Programs, College and University Dining Services, etc.); Community Nutritionist (ex.WIC programs); jobs with Food, Health and Pharmaceutical companies (ex.Research/Development, Sales, Marketing, and Consumer Relations); jobs with Food DistributionCompanies (ex. Marketing Associates); jobs in Health and Wellness (ex. Athletic Clubs,Corporate Wellness programs, etc.); jobs in the hospitality industry, etc. In addition, graduatesof the B.S. Dietetics program are eligible to take the Registration Examination for DieteticTechnicians and obtain the “Dietetic Technician Registered” credential (DTR).“CAREERS IN DIETETICS” VIDEOPlease view this video by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for more information /videos.aspx4Copyright 2016 University of Wisconsin-Madison

JOB TITLESHere are some examples of “Job Titles” that have been held by graduates of dietetics programs.Some positions require the RD Credential, some do not.Cardiovascular Nutritionist or DietitianClinical DietitianCommunications SpecialistCommunity NutritionistConsumer AdvocateCorporate Dietitian or Corporate Wellness DietitianDiabetes EducatorDietary CoordinatorDietetic TechnicianDirector – Wellness ProgramEducatorFood Allergy SpecialistFood BehavioralistFood & Nutrition StrategistFood Service Director or Food Service ManagerFood Service Systems ManagerHealth Communication Specialist or ConsultantHealth/Lifestyle CoachInternship DirectorMedia ConsultantNutrition Communications SpecialistNutrition Consulting Company OwnerNutrition CounselorNutrition InformaticistNutritionist or Nutrition SpecialistNutrition Support DietitianOutpatient DietitianPediatric/Neonatal DietitianPharmaceutical Company RDPrivate Practice DietitianProduction ManagerProfessorPublic Relations ConsultantRecipe DeveloperRenal Nutritionist or DietitianResearch CoordinatorSchool Foodservice DirectorSpecialty Food Company ConsultantSports and Cardiac Rehab DietitianSupermarket/Retail DietitianWeight Management Nutritionist or DietitianWellness CoordinatorChef RDClinical Nutrition ManagerCommunity Health EducatorConsultant DietitianCooperative Extension Educator/SpecialistCorrections DietitianDidactic Program DirectorDietary ManagerDirector of Nutrition & Food ServicesEditor or Editorial DirectorFitness SpecialistFood Bank NutritionistFood Marketing ConsultantFood PurchaserFood Service SupervisorFood/Nutrition Writer or Author or JournalistHealth Education Specialist or ConsultantInstructor/LecturerMarketing DirectorMedical Nutrition TherapistNutrition Consultant or Nutrition/Health ConsultantNutrition Coordinator for Head Start ProgramNutrition EducatorNutritionals Sales RepresentativeNutrition Researcher/ScientistNutrition TherapistPatient Services ManagerPersonal ChefPreventive Medicine NutritionistProduct Developer/Director of Product DevelopmentProfessional SpeakerPublic Health NutritionistPurchasing ManagerRegistered DietitianResearch AssistantRestaurant ConsultantSchool Nutrition SpecialistSpokespersonSports Nutritionist or Sports/Lifestyle NutritionistTerritory Sales ManagerWellness Coach or Wellness DietitianWIC Nutritionist/Program Director5Copyright 2016 University of Wisconsin-Madison

SALARIES/JOB OUTLOOKAccording to AND’s 2011 Dietetics Compensation and Benefits survey, the median full-timesalary for RDs in all positions was 58,000/year; the range was from 40,000 to 90,000.Variability in salary is based on many factors including education, scope of responsibility,employment setting, region of the country and supply of RDs. Completion of a master’s degreeadded 5,000/year; earning a PhD added 17,000/year above RDs with only a bachelor’sdegree.Having one or more specialty certifications (see section on Additional Credentials/GraduateWork) was associated with an increased median wage of 5,300/year over those with nocertifications. The two credentials associated with the highest median wages are CFPP(Certified Food Protection Professional) at 64,000/year and CSSD (Certified Specialist inSports Dietetics) at 65,000/year.Years of dietetics experience is strongly associated with compensation; those with 20 o

When hiring employees for work in the nutrition/dietetics field, employers look for the RD credential. In fact, most positions in the nutrition/dietetics field require it JOBS/CAREERS IN DIETETICS AND NUTRITION You will find dietitians working in a wide variety of employment settings and in a variety of sp

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