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Dietetics Emphasis

The Dietetics emphasis prepares students for an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice (i.e., dietetic internship) program to become a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). The curriculum for the Nutrition Concentration with a Dietetics emphasis is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®) as a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). The Dietetics emphasis is the only emphasis area within the B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition degree program at Clemson University to be accredited by ACEND® as a DPD.

Students who select the Dietetics emphasis must complete a formal application process and meet specific criteria for acceptance into the emphasis – refer to the Dietetics Program Admission Policy (PDF, 215 KB) for more details. The demand for supervised practice (i.e., dietetic internship) appointments greatly exceeds the number of available positions. Due to the competitive nature of dietetic internship acceptance, minimum grade criteria in specific courses must be met for Dietetics emphasis acceptance. Two application periods for admission into the Dietetics emphasis are available, one at the beginning of the spring semester and one at the beginning of the fall semester. Students must be formally admitted into the Dietetics emphasis before they are permitted to take coursework designated “Dietetics Emphasis Only.”

Acceptance into the Dietetics emphasis constitutes acceptance into the Clemson University Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD); therefore, students admitted into the Dietetics emphasis are classified as students enrolled in the Clemson University DPD and are expected to follow all dietetics program policies. Only students who complete the Dietetics emphasis curriculum in accordance with the Dietetics Program Declaration of Intent and Verification Statement Policy (PDF, 222 KB) will be eligible to receive a Verification Statement upon program completion. A Verification Statement (click to learn more) is required for acceptance into an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice (i.e., dietetic internship) program. Acceptance and successful completion of the Dietetics emphasis curriculum will not guarantee acceptance into an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice (i.e., dietetic internship) program.

Dietetics Program Accreditation Status

ACEND web logo

Clemson University's Didactic Program in Dietetics is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, (312) 899-0040 ext 5400. Website: http://www.eatright.org/ACEND.

What is Dietetics?

Dietetics is the field of study that explores and applies knowledge gained from basic science, nutrition science, food science, behavioral and social science, and business to support and optimize the nutrition and health status of individuals and groups. Grounded in science and research, it supports the exploration, communication, and application of nutrition in an evidence-based manner within healthcare, community, food service, industry, and academic settings.

What is a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)?

A registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) is a food and nutrition expert who has completed multiple layers of education and training accredited by ACEND® and is credentialed by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). RD and RDN are two credential designation options with the same eligibility and credentialing requirements. To become a RD or RDN, students must complete three steps. 

STEP 1:

Complete a specially designed, ACEND®-accredited bachelor’s or master’s 
degree curriculum.

STEP 2:

Complete an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice program (i.e., dietetic internship, or DI; coordinated program, or CP; or individualized supervised practice pathway, or ISPP) that includes 1200 hours of supervised practice in clinical, community, and foodservice settings.

STEP 3:

Pass the nationally-recognized Registration Examination for 
Dietitians administered by CDR.

For more information on the steps to become a RD and RDN, visit: http://www.eatrightacend.org/ACEND/content.aspx?id=6442485467 and https://www.cdrnet.org/certifications/registration-eligibility-requirements-for-dietitians.

What is a Licensed Dietitian (LD) or Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist (LDN)?

In addition to earning the national RD or RDN credential, many states (46 out of 50) have enacted dietetics licensure and certification laws which require individuals holding the title dietitian or nutritionist and practicing as a dietitian or nutritionist to either be certified or licensed in the state of practice. Many states provide dietetic licensure only to those who have earned the RD or RDN credential. State licensure is in addition to, separate from, and obtained after national credentialing as a RD or RDN.

For more information on state certification and licensure as a dietitian/nutritionist, visit: https://www.cdrnet.org/state-licensure.

Is a Master’s degree required to become a RD or RDN?

Currently, a Master’s degree is not required to become a RD or RDN. However, beginning January 1, 2024, earning a Master’s degree in addition to completing an ACEND®-accredited dietetic education program and an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice program will be required to be eligible to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitians. In preparation for this transition, students are encouraged to consider options for how they may earn a Master’s degree following baccalaureate degree completion in order to remain competitive in the field. A Master’s degree may be completed before, during, or after a supervised practice (i.e., dietetic internship) program. Many supervised practice programs offer graduate credit, graduate coursework, or a graduate degree concurrent with supervised practice completion.

For more information about the new graduate degree eligibility requirement for becoming a RDN, visit: https://www.cdrnet.org/new-graduate-degree-eligibility-requirement-effective-january-1-2024

What career opportunities exist for RDs and RDNs?

Registered dietitian nutritionists work in a wide variety of employment settings, including clinical/health care, community/public health, food service, business and industry, education, research, government agencies and private practice. Many work environments, particularly those in medical and health-care settings, require that an individual providing nutrition care to individuals and the public be credential as a RD or RDN.

For more information about career opportunities, salary and benefits, and job outlook for RDNs, visit http://www.eatrightacend.org/ACEND/content.aspx?id=6442485467 and http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm

How does Clemson’s Dietetics Program align with the steps for becoming a RD or RDN?

Successful completion of Clemson University’s B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition with a concentration in Nutrition and an emphasis in Dietetics fulfills only this first step in the three step process to become a RD or RDN. To complete step two, students must apply to an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice (i.e., dietetic internship) program. Clemson University does not offer an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice, or dietetic internship, program, so following Clemson DPD completion, students will need to complete a post-baccalaureate supervised practice program outside of Clemson University. Application to a supervised practice program (i.e., dietetic internship) typically occurs the semester of graduation, which for most students is spring semester of the senior year. Completion of Clemson University’s B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition with a concentration in Nutrition and emphasis in Dietetics will not guarantee acceptance into an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice program.

For more information about ACEND®-accredited dietetic education programs and dietetic internship programs, visit http://www.eatrightacend.org/ACEND/content.aspx?id=6442485414.

How do I apply to an ACEND®-accredited Supervised Practice Program, such as a Dietetic Internship?

Application to an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice program, namely a dietetic internship (DI), is a two-step fee-based process: (1) Completing a formalized application through the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS) and (2) Ranking programs to which one has applied in order of preference for acceptance using D&D Digital. The process of student application and program applicant selection is facilitated through a computerized matching process. The computerized matching process occurs only two times per year – once in the fall (annual deadline of material submission September 25) and once in the spring (annual deadline of material submission February 15). Students are eligible to apply during the semester in which they intend to graduate from the DPD. For most students, this time would be spring semester of the senior year.

Through the computerized matching process, an applicant is “matched” with the highest ranked program that offers the applicant a position. Each applicant has the potential to receive only one program match per matching time period, also called a match cycle. Receiving up to one match per cycle simplifies the decision-making process for both the applicant and the DI program. Students who do not match during one match cycle are eligible to reapply during a subsequent match cycle without limitation on the number of times one may apply. Resubmission of application materials and fees are required with each application period.

For more information about the DI application and matching process, visit: http://www.eatrightacend.org/ACEND/content.aspx?id=6442485425.

What is the acceptance potential into an ACEND®-accredited Supervised Practice Program, such as a Dietetic Internship?

The demand for dietetic internships, essential to becoming a RD or RDN, greatly exceeds the number of current internship slots.  Therefore, appointment to a dietetic internship is very competitive. Nationally during Spring 2016, 51% of students who applied to a DI through the computerized matching process received a match.  That means for every two students who applied, one secured a dietetic internship appointment.  For the 2015-2016 academic year, Clemson’s computer match rate was 55.6%, which is above the national average but still demonstrates the competitive nature of applicant selection.

To be competitive for an internship appointment, it is important to maintain a solid GPA (typically 3.4 or greater) and obtain significant dietetics-related paid and volunteer experience (at least 200 hours prior to internship application).  Achieving an acceptable GPA and obtaining volunteer and/or work experience does not guarantee placement in a dietetic internship, but failure to meet them will typically preclude placement. Many programs also require students to take the GRE® prior to application. Students are encouraged to take the GRE® either the summer before the senior year or fall of the senior year prior to DI application.

How much does a Dietetics Supervised Practice Program (i.e., Dietetic Internship) cost?

Both application to and completion of an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice program (i.e., dietetic internship) costs money. It is important to be aware of these costs in order to plan ahead.

During the dietetic internship application process, application fees are assessed at multiple points – during submission of application materials through the centralized application system called DICAS, during ranking of dietetic internship programs through the centralized ranking system called D&D Digital, through separate program application fees in addition to DICAS application fees, and through college and university transcript request fees. Students applying to dietetic internships that either offer graduate credit or are combined with a graduate degree should expect to pay additional application and transcript request fees associated with graduate school application. Completion of the GRE® may be required.

DICAS Application Fees:

$ 45.00 1st application + $20 each addition application

D&D Digital Application Fee:

$ 55.00 (one-time fee per application cycle)

DI Program Application Fee:

$ 75.00 (average, varies by program)

Transcript Request Fee:

$   5.00+ per transcript (varies by college/university)

GRE®

$205.00

                     *The fee schedule is as of Fall 2016 and is subject to change.

Most supervised practice programs require students to pay tuition in addition to paying for education and program materials such as textbooks, a lab coat, physical assessment equipment (i.e., stethoscope and pen light), immunizations, a criminal background check, health and drug screenings, and student professional liability insurance. Tuition and associated educational fees are determined by each program and vary by program. The average tuition for a supervised practice program without a graduate degree is $7500 to $10,000. Programs that offer graduate credit or are combined with a graduate degree cost $20,000 or more.

Dietetics Program Contact Information

For more information about the dietetics program contact:
Ms. Kim Collins
Administrative Assistant to FNPS Department Chair
Clemson Univeresity
Department of Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Sciences
223 Poole Agricultural Center
Clemson, SC  29634
(864) 656-3397
Email: kcllns@clemson.edu 

For more information about program accreditation contact: 
Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL  60606-6995
(800) 877-1600 ext. 5400
Email: acend@eatright.org 
Website: www.eatright.org/ACEND

For more information about dietetics credentialing contact:
Commission on Dietetic Registration
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL  60606-6995
(800) 877-1600 ext. 5500
Email: cdr@eatright.org 
Website: https://www.cdrnet.org/ 

For more information about the dietetics profession contact:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL  60606-6995
(800) 877-1600
Website: http://www.eatright.org/ (public site)
or http://www.eatrightpro.org/ (professionals site)