Submitted by the Academic Programs
Brooks College of Health
The Department of Nutrition & Dietetics is proposing a change in the current master's degree in Health Science (MSH) with a concentration in Nutrition to a master's degree (MS) in Nutrition & Dietetics. There are currently three option areas which will not change. They are the master's with internship, master's with thesis and master's with non-thesis project. The current 41 credit hours will be changed to 43 credit hours. As the proposed master's degree curriculum in nutrition & dietetics is currently taught under the MSH degree, creation of the MS degree will not require additional funding for courses, faculty, or other program resources.
The purpose of transitioning the concentration to a stand-alone degree program is to make it more representative of the degree earned and more marketable to potential Registered Dietitians who because of the newest accreditation standards (2007) will be required to obtain a master's degree or some specialty certification within five years of obtaining the RD (Registered Dietitian) credential. Experienced dietitians may advance to management positions such as assistant director, associate director, or director of a dietetic department, or may become
self-employed. Some dietitians specialize in areas such as renal, diabetic, cardiovascular, or pediatric dietetics. Others become sales representatives for equipment, pharmaceutical, or food manufacturers. A master's degree can help professionals advance their careers, particularly in career paths related to research, advanced clinical positions, or public health.
Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is expected to increase nine percent during the
2006-2016 projection decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job growth will result from an increasing emphasis on disease prevention through improved dietary habits. A growing and aging population will increase demand for nutritional counseling and treatment in hospitals, residential care facilities, schools, prisons, community health programs, and home health care agencies. Public interest in nutrition and increased emphasis on health education and prudent lifestyles also will spur demand, especially in nutrition education and counseling and in food service management.
The SUS Strategic Plan includes a goal to meet the statewide professional and work force needs. Number two under that goal is critical needs: health professions. While dietetics was not included as a critical need in 2003, with the rise in childhood obesity and the subsequent health risks, the demand for dietitians will increase. This program directly supports that need.
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