The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Dietetics and Food Administration, Option in Nutrition and Dietetics has two concentrations (Dietetics and Nutritional Science). Requirements for the majors include a minimum of 120 units for Nutrition and Dietetics. In addition to general education requirements (48 units), a minimum of 40 units in Family and Consumer Sciences is required, 24 of which must be upper division. Students transferring from another college or university will receive transfer credit in required courses if a course is equivalent to the course at this University and it is accepted by the University.
Concentration #1: Dietetics:
Also known as the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), this option fulfills the academic requirements to provide students with a foundation of knowledge and skills to be eligible to apply to and to perform successfully in a dietetic internship upon graduation. Completion of a dietetic internship and subsequently passing a registration examination are required to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD or RDN). Study is concentrated in the areas of nutritional science, medical nutrition therapy, community nutrition, nutrition education, food science, food production and management of foodservice operations, chemistry, physiology, plus a variety of supporting coursework in related disciplines. The DPD at CSULB is currently granted accreditation by the Accreditation for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Students are expected to read the DPD Student Manual posted on the website and be familiar with all requirements of this accredited program.
Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) are considered food and nutrition experts. To earn the RDN credential the following criteria must be achieved:
- Complete of all academic requirements for a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the credentialing agency of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at CSULB fulfills this step in the path to becoming a RDN. Students must earn a “C” or better in all relevant coursework to be eligible to become a RDN after graduation.
- Apply and be matched to a supervised practice program accredited by ACEND of the AND, also called a dietetic internship. Each dietetic internship has various requirements for admission, such as work experience, volunteer hours, or minimum GPA.
- After completing bachelor’s degree requirements and being accepted into a dietetic internship, successfully complete a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice. Some dietetic internships also offer graduate degrees.
- Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
- In order to maintain registration, the RDN must provide evidence of fulfilling continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration. Some RDNs hold additional certifications in the specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition, nutrition support, and diabetes education. These certifications are awarded through CDR and/or other medical and nutrition organizations and are recognized within the profession, but are not required.
- In addition to RDN credentialing, many states have regulatory laws for dietitians and nutrition practitioners. Frequently these state requirements are met through the same education and training required to become a RDN. California does not currently have these additional requirements.
Alternative Pathway - Becoming a Nutrition & Dietetic Technician, Registered
The Dietetics option also prepares graduates to immediately be eligible to become a Nutrition & Dietetic Technician, Registered (NDTR or DTR), often called a “diet tech” in the field. NDTRs are nationally credentialed food and nutrition technical practitioners who have met the following criteria to earn and maintain the credential:
- Completion of all academic requirements for a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the credentialing agency of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at CSULB fulfills this step in the path to becoming a NDTR. Students must earn a “C” or better in all relevant coursework.
- After completing the degree and dietetics coursework, successful completion of the Registration Examination for Dietetic Technicians, a national credentialing examination, administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) is required. CDR’s NDTR certification program is fully accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the accrediting arm of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). Accreditation by the ICE reflects achievement of the highest standards of professional credentialing.
- Complete 50 hours of continuing education every five years to maintain NDTR registration.
NDTRs are educated and trained at the technical level of nutrition and dietetics practice for the delivery of safe, culturally competent, quality food and nutrition services. They are an integral part of healthcare and food service management teams and work under the supervision of RDNs when in direct patient/client nutrition care in practice areas as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, retirement centers, hospices, home health-care programs and research facilities conducting patient/client screens, gathering data and performing assigned tasks to assist RDNs in providing medical nutrition therapy.
Concentration #2: Nutritional Science:
This concentration prepares students for careers in research, public health, industry, and is suitable for students wishing to apply for graduate school, medical school or other health-related programs. Study is concentrated in biology, chemistry, nutritional science, and selected electives. Students who wish to take the Nutrition and Dietetics Option as a pre-professional degree (e.g., pre-med, physician assistant) should check with the appropriate programs to verify specific requirements.
Both degree options prepare students for diverse and rewarding careers* in both public and private sectors, such as:
- Providing nutrition-related patient care in hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care facilities
- Supervising and/or providing education to the public through community nutrition programs
- Overseeing large and small-scale foodservice operations (hotel, military, corporate, prison, catering)
- Supervising and planning feeding programs in school and child care settings
- Offering consultation for professional or collegiate athletes in sports nutrition programs
- Conducting research to inform new discoveries in nutritional science and health
- Writing and developing nutrition-related media for educational websites, publishers, or media companies
- Managing corporate wellness programs
- Offering nutrition counseling through private practice
- Working as a nutrition content expert for consulting firms
- Educating future nutrition professionals in university settings through teaching and mentoring
- Working in non-profit health promotion agencies
- Regulation of health and food policy in local, state, or federal government settings
- A variety of opportunities in business/industry (food companies, medical technology, pharmaceuticals, etc.)
* Some career paths, such as becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist (RD or RDN), require continued education beyond an undergraduate degree.