In order to be fully prepared as a nutrition professional, faculty members in the Department of Human Nutrition recommend that, at a minimum, you complete the bachelor’s degree and meet the minimum academic requirements of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Didactic Program in Dietetics requirement) and a post baccalaureate dietetic internship. After completing the internship and taking the registration examination of the Academy, you will be qualified to become employed as a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). The RD credential is the minimum requirement to become employed in many of the nutrition-related positions available in the United States.
Employment opportunities in the dietetics profession are diverse. Acute care hospitals are mandated by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations to employ a registered dietitian (RD) on staff. Other agencies required to employ a registered dietitian are those such as long-term care and rehabilitative centers, renal dialysis clinics, and public health departments which offer maternal and child services. Registered dietitians are in demand for employment; over the past five years, 94.9% of Winthrop University internship graduates seeking employment in dietetics were hired within three months of program completion. The most recent Winthrop internship class was completed in May 2015, and 92.8% are already employed as RDs. Employers benefit from Winthrop’s dietetic internship program by having an adequate employee pool of registered dietitians. Five of the most common work settings for RDs (ADA Compensation & Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession 2016) are:
- Ambulatory/outpatient (includes renal and diabetes)
- Community and public health programs
- Hospitals (inpatient/acute care)
- Long term care, extended and assisted living
- Food and Nutrition Management
Career opportunities in the field of nutrition and dietetics continue to expand. In addition to careers in traditional settings such as hospitals, nutrition professionals have more opportunities available in:
- Corporate wellness programs
- Food and nutrition related industries
- Public/community health settings
- Sports nutrition
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment of RDs is expected to increase by 16% between 2014 and 2024 due to increased emphasis on disease prevention, an aging U.S. population, and public interest in nutrition. Growth in employment of RDs is especially anticipated in long-term care facilities and out-patient clinics. More dietitians and nutritionists will be needed to provide care for patients with various medical conditions and to advise people who want to improve their overall health.
Also, Dietetic Internships offer a wide range of rotations in more than 50 facilities in the Carolinas.