Nutrition and Dietetics at Messiah College
Our accredited nutrition and dietetics major prepares you for careers in medical nutrition, nutrition counseling and community health.
As a nutrition and dietetics major at Messiah College, you will learn how to apply scientific principles, communication techniques and management strategies to improve the nutritional health of individuals and communities. Messiah College is one of the few Christian colleges to offer a dietetics curriculum that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE). Nutrition and dietetics students participate in service learning opportunities in the community, as well as hands-on experiences in on campus labs. Our nutrition and dietetics graduates are well prepared to compete for positions in CADE-accredited dietetic internships or graduate school, or to obtain jobs as public health nutrition counselors, dietetic technicians or food service managers.
Nutrition and dietetics major distinctives
As a nutrition and dietetics major at Messiah College, you’ll be able to:
- Work in our state-of-the-art nutrition and dietetics lab suite as well as our biology, chemistry and microbiology labs.
- Learn how to apply science principles, communication techniques and management strategies to improve the nutritional status of individuals and communities.
- Join the Student Nutrition Awareness Club (SNAC) where you’ll perform a variety of food and nutrition related service activities and develop leadership skills.
- Take courses such as Nutrition Through the Life Cycle, Advanced Food Science and Technology, and Nutrition Education and Counseling.
- Work alongside faculty to design and conduct a research project related to food and nutrition. In the past, students have completed projects in researching body composition assessment, the availability of vegetables in urban environments, iron status in college women and nutritional status of children in refugee camps.
- Plan and prepare nutritious and delicious meals for large groups using the College’s dining services kitchens.
- Compete for dietetic internships accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), including Messiah's own post-graduate dietetic internship that has been granted candidacy for accreditation by ACEND.
- For additional information on dietetics education contact ACEND at: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995, or http://www.eatright.org/
Mission and goals
The mission and goal of our program is to:
Prepare graduates to succeed in dietics internships, graduate school or entry-level jobs in nutrition and dietetics or related professional settings.
Prepare graduates who demonstrate professional development, leadership, teamwork and community service.
Click here to see our graduates’ goal completion objectives.
Outcomes data are available upon request
Opportunities and internships
Messiah’s Career and Professional Development Center places students in a variety of nutrition and dietetics hands-on learning experiences. A few examples include working in:
- Food service organizations
- Dining facilities
- Nursing homes
- Community health organizations
Messiah College offers a post-graduate dietetic internship, which has been granted candidacy for accreditation status by ACEND. Students who complete their undergraduate dietetics coursework at Messiah College are eligible to apply to the Messiah College Dietetic Internship through the preselect program. Any additional openings are filled through the national dietetic internship match process.
Click here to visit our dietetic internship site.
Graduates of the nutrition and dietetics major are equipped to:
Provide nutrition education in wellness settings such as fitness centers, food banks and community health programs
Assist with the management of food service operations in health care facilities, restaurants or schools
Assist registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) in providing medical nutrition therapy in hospitals and nursing homes
Pursue graduate education in nutrition education or public health
- Apply to ACEND-accredited dietetic internships (required in order to become a registered dietitian-nutritionist)
Graduates who successfully complete dietetic internships and pass the national Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Exam are equipped to:
Provide medical nutrition therapy in hospitals, nursing homes, health clinics and businesses
Provide nutrition counseling and education in grocery stores, fitness centers, colleges and universities and businesses
Mange food service operations in health care facilities, schools, food banks and businesses
Help develop new food products and educate consumers as an employee of a food company
For more information on career planning for the nutrition and dietetics program, visit the Messiah College Career and Professional Development Center.
Obtaining the RD or RDN credential
Obtaining the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD/RDN) credential
Many work environments, particularly those in the health care field, require that an individual be credentialed as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RD or RDN) to practice nutrition care. To earn the R.D. credential an individual must complete a three step process:
- Complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a U.S. regionally-accredited college or university and complete the required undergraduate courses though a dietetics program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program. These programs are usually offered by health care facilities, community agencies, foodservice corporations or educational institutions and are 9-12 months in length. (Note: some colleges offer a “Coordinated Program” which combines steps 1 and 2. Messiah does not offer this type of program.)
- Pass a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
The Messiah College nutrition and dietetics major curriculum is accredited by ACEND as a Didactic Program in Dietetics and enables students to complete the first step towards becoming a registered dietitian. Graduates of the Messiah College nutrition and dietetics program who wish to become registered dietitians apply to ACEND-accredited supervised practice programs. After successful completion of a supervised practice program (Step 2), graduates are eligible to take the national registration exam (Step 3).
Graduates who do not begin ACEND-accredited supervised practice programs after graduation are employable as dietetic technicians in health care institutions and businesses, nutrition counselors in community nutrition programs, and food service managers in health care institutions, schools and industry. Completion of the Messiah College nutrition and dietetics major qualifies graduates to take the national nutrition and dietetics technician, registered (NDTR) exam. Additionally, graduates may choose to continue their education by applying to graduate school in areas such as nutrition science, public health, nutrition education or international nutrition.
Why study nutrition and dietetics?
The nutrition and dietetics major is a good choice if you enjoy biology and chemistry as well as working with people. This major has been approved or accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics to provide the academic portion of the requirements for becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) since 1977. Students who do not continue on the pathway to becoming an RDN have successfully pursued careers as community nutritionists, dietetic technicians and food service managers.
As you immerse yourself in field and classroom learning, you’ll develop communication, teamwork, management and problem-solving skills essential to a career in foods manufacturing, food service, community health and medical nutrition.
Within the nutrition and dietetics major, you’ll study a wide variety of subjects, including anatomy and physiology; chemistry and biochemistry; food science and technology; nutrition science; management and business; education and counseling; and medical nutrition. A list of courses required for the nutrition and dietetics major can be found here. Information about all courses taught at Messiah College can be found in the Online Course Catalog. A number of the upper level nutrition courses are offered every other year; therefore, careful course planning is especially important for this major. General course scheduling guidelines can be found under the Course Scheduling Guidelines link.
Please Note: In order to progress into the Medical Nutrition and Advanced Nutrition courses, students must achieve the minimum GPA criteria specified in the Didactic Program in Dietetics Handbook.
For additional information on dietetics education contact ACEND at: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995, or http://www.eatright.org/