Nutrition and Dietetics
209 Wirtz Hall, DeKalb IL 60115
Phone: (815) 753-1384
Fax: (815) 753-5406
Dr. Josephine Umoren
ND Graduate Director
Phone: (815) 753-6351
If you choose a career in dietetics, you will be entering the vast health care industry. In recent years, major changes have been seen with a greater emphasis on health promotion, disease prevention, and the utilization of service delivery systems beyond the traditional hospital setting. You will be working as part of a health-care team in using nutrition both to treat and prevent disease.
Students completing the nutrition, health and wellness emphasis may also enter positions in public health and other community programs, as well as sales, development, or public relations work in the food industry. Learn more about career opportunities in Nutrition & Dietetics/Nutrition, Health & Wellness by viewing our career page.
Dietetics has a strong and steady demand that is expected to continue with increases slightly higher than the average for all professions through the first years of the next decade. Other nutrition-related positions continue to be in demand, but because they are diverse and dispersed among numerous industries, they may require longer searches to find just the right position.
Students may start their programs at community colleges or other institutions. Because a 4-5 semester sequence is necessary to complete the major, it is advisable to meet with an College of Health and Human Sciences advisor to identify the most advantageous time for transfer.
Yes, graduating within four years is possible, however, please note that this is a tightly sequenced major that includes numerous courses offered only once a year. Finishing in four years will require working closely with your advisor.
If your goal is a career in dietetics, you should plan to become a registered dietitian. This will require that after completion of your baccalaureate degree you apply for admission to and complete a dietetic internship. Acceptance into an internship is competitive, based on grade point average and other factors. Upon completion of your twelve-month internship, you will take the registration examination for dietitians.
Although entry-level positions in dietetics are readily available with the baccalaureate degree plus the internship or practice program, your long-range plans may include a master's degree. Increasingly, dietitians are completing advanced degrees.
Dietetic registration requires completion of the academic requirements (known as a Didactic Program in Dietetics or DPD) and the supervised practice requirements satisfied through a dietetic internship. NIU's emphasis 2 in NDHM is a DPD. When you complete it, you will need to apply to and be accepted by an accredited dietetics internship, usually involving another nine months of study. Finally you will need to pass the Registration Examination in Dietetics. Admission to internships is competitive, so it is important to achieve a strong record during your baccalaureate studies. For additional information visit Dietetic Internship.
No, entry level positions in dietetics and other nutrition-related fields do not require a master's degree. However, because many dietetic internships are tied to graduate programs, many individuals do have their master's degree when they enter dietetics.
If you have completed general and organic chemistry and general biology by the beginning of fall semester of your third year, you should be able to schedule all the courses to finish the emphasis in four years. It is important to work closely with your advisor to sequence your courses. If you are intending to transfer into the program, it is helpful consult one of the program's advisors about course selection during the last terms at your current school.