Transition to a Career in Nutrition
Are you thinking about nutrition as a field of study and as a possible career? Terrific! Are you concerned because your previous academic work and current occupation are not nutrition-related? Don't worry. There is a defined, well-worn path at Teachers College that has been traveled by many others like you towards rewarding careers in nutrition. The faculty and staff within the Nutrition Program are here to guide you through the process.
In order to be a well-qualified marketable nutritionist, we recommend completion of one of our master's degrees in nutrition, in addition to completion of our Dietetic Internship Program. Please note that your existing bachelor's degree does not need to be in nutrition to complete a master's degree in nutrition.
Let's begin with the master's degree...
The Program in Nutrition at Teachers College offers three master of science (M.S.) degrees in nutrition. The three M.S. offerings are in nutrition and education, nutrition and public health, and nutrition and exercise. Basically, the three M.S. offerings consist of similar core courses with added courses allowing for specialization in the respective areas. Each M.S. degree consists of roughly 44-53 credits of course work.
To be eligible to apply to and complete one of the three M.S. degrees, prerequisite courses are necessary. Successful completion of the prerequisite courses will enable you to attend graduate courses in nutrition and to glean all that is necessary from these courses. For a list of prerequisite courses for the M.S. degree in nutrition at Teachers College, please refer to Master's Program Prerequisites.
In addition to completing a master's degree in nutrition, becoming a registered dietitian (R.D.) is highly recommended. Having the R.D. credential alongside the M.S. degree makes you most marketable in the nutrition field. Becoming an R.D. requires completion of a Dietetic Internship Program (DI) and successful completion of an American Dietetic Association-administered exam. The Program in Nutrition at Teachers College has a Dietetic Internship Program. However, to be eligible to apply to and complete the DI, specific prerequisite course work [called the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)] is required. Most of the DPD courses overlap with the M.S. degree prerequisite courses and several of the M.S. degree courses. However, there are a handful of courses as part of the DPD that are not part of either the M.S. prerequisites or the M.S. degree courses. For the complete list of DPD courses, please refer to Didactic Program in Dietetics courses. The DPD courses that do not overlap with M.S. courses will need to be completed by you at other colleges and universities. Please refer to local undergraduate institutions offering DPD courses not offered at Teachers College.
To review, if you desire to become a nutritionist and registered dietitian, you will need to complete M.S. prerequisite courses, an M.S. program, a DPD, a DI, and the national registration exam for dietetics. This may sound overwhelming, but the process isn't. With proper advisement and a commitment on your part, you can complete the whole process in roughly three years of full-time study. However, you are always welcome to complete the process on a part-time basis. Please join Dr. Lora Sporny in an audio (telephone) information session. Click here to learn more.