Have a passion for food, nutrition, and working with people?
Dietetics is an exciting healthcare profession with many opportunities to specialize and a diverse array of potential work settings! This is a growing field, especially as we continue to expand our knowledge about the role of food in preventing and treating disease. Registered Dietitians may work in schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities, community health clinics and settings, corporations, sports organizations, research and development facilities, and more!
Dietetics at UConn
Join a field that's growing at a faster-than-average rate, where demand for qualified dietitians and nutritionists continues to expand! Dietitians and Nutritionists are key members of the overall healthcare team and help prevent and treat disease in patients of all ages.
Becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD) is a three-step process:
- Didactic Coursework from an accredited program
- Supervised Practice in an accredited program (minimum 1200 hours)
- National Registration Examination
UConn offers four ACEND-accredited program tracks in Dietetics (see available routes to becoming an RD):
- Coordinated Program (Department of Allied Health Sciences) - Provides both didactic coursework and supervised practice hours. Students graduate with a BS in Dietetics and are immediately eligible to sit for the National Registration Examination.
- Didactic Program (Department of Nutritional Sciences) - Provides didactic coursework. Students graduate with a BS in Nutritional Sciences and must then complete the required 1200+ supervised practice hours in a Dietetic Internship program before they are eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination.
- Coordinated Program + MS in Health Promotion Sciences (Department of Allied Health Sciences) - Students who already possess a bachelor's degree may apply to complete any necessary coursework or supervised practice hours while working toward a Master's in Health Promotion Sciences. Students will graduate with an MS in Health Promotion Sciences and be immediately eligible to sit for the National Registration Examination.
- Dietetic Internship (Department of Allied Health Sciences) - This 9 1/2-month program is highly competitive and open to students who have completed an undergraduate didactic program in dietetics. The internship provides the 1200+ hours of supervised practice required to sit for the National Registration Examination.
What kinds of jobs are available for Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists?
Registered Dietitians and Nutritionists work in a variety of settings and positions including:
- Clinical Dietitian in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities
- Community Dietitian in food programs and community education settings
- Director of Dietetics in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools
- Wellness programs
- Supermarket RDNs
- Self-employed independent RDs in private practice
- Working with athletes
What does a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist do?
As a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, you are a key member of the broader healthcare and/or food service team, providing patients and clients with high-level nutrition counseling, personalized diet and nutrition recommendations, and guidance in handling a variety of issues from chronic disease management to food allergies. RDNs can also provide practical advice for individuals looking to make healthy lifestyle changes.
What can I expect in terms of salary?
Salaries vary by region, industry setting, and experience level, with the 2017 median pay for a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist at $59,410 per year or $28.56 per hour. In Connecticut in 2017, the median annual salary ranged from$65,330 to $71,550. Learn more about the job and salary outlook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Is this a career for me?
Only you will know for sure if Dietetics is the career path for you. However, if you’re passionate about food and nutrition, interested in the relationship between nutrition and health, committed to helping others improve their lives, want to be part of a healthcare team, and enjoy working in a team environment, you should explore further. Dietitians also tend to be problem solvers who are accurate, reliable, and detail-oriented and who have high standards for themselves and others. They are good communicators and like challenge and responsibility.
What are they saying?