So you finally got your Bachelor’s degree….now what?! If you’ve ever had that thought, you definitely aren’t alone. Many people can agree that you never stop learning, and that’s particularly true in the ever-changing dietetics field with the variety of continuing education opportunities available. So if you’re looking for a way to further expand your horizons, read this list!
Masters degrees are a common way that many RD’s or those in the nutrition field further their education. Besides, all new RD’s will have to have a Masters starting in 2024, so why not get ahead of the game? Many Masters programs are more in-depth and specific to a particular subject in comparison to Bachelor’s programs, so this is your chance to really delve into a subject you love. Many RD’s earn their MPH (Masters of Public Health), MBA (Masters of Business Administration), or Masters of Science (MS).
PhD or Doctorate Degrees
A PhD or Doctorate degree is the highest level of education you can achieve, and it will definitely set you apart from the rest. Only around 5% of RD’s have their PhD, and most are found in the educational or research setting. These degrees are typically grounded in research and take around 3-5 years to complete. A doctorate, such as a Doctorate of Clinical Nutrition, is equal to a PhD but is typically for established professionals who want to increase their expertise in their field.
Don’t want to commit to an academic program but still want to take some classes? Check out Coursera.com, a website that lets you take courses online from renowned universities. There are hundreds of courses available from an endless amount of topics. The best part? You don’t have any homework 😉
Are you already RD and looking to specialize in a certain area and gain expertise? There’s probably a certification for you! The Commission on Dietetic Registration currently has 7 options for certification. You can become a board-certified specialist in:
-Nutrition Support (CNSC)
-Oncology Nutrition (CSO)
-Sports Dietetics (CSSD)
-Pediatric Nutrition (CSP)
-Renal Nutrition (CSR)
-Gerontological Nutrition (CSG)
-Diabetes Educator (CDE)
These certifications are earned after working as a RD for 3 years, have worked at least 4000 hours in the area of your desired specialty, and pass the board certification exam. In addition to boosting your earning potential and making you more marketable to employers, you will also gain expertise in the field and add to your skills as an RD.
Keeping up with Research
What better way to keep up with the field than by reading the latest research? Stay on top of what is happening in the world of nutrition by being aware of current news. As nutrition students and professionals, we are always reminded of how important evidence-based research is. And besides, it will come in handy when your Dr. Oz-loving friend asks you about that new crazy trend.
CEU’s, or continuing education units, are a requirement for all RD’s to maintain their credentialing. CEU’s are offered through attending conferences, local symposiums, or even through taking certified online programs. You never know what you will learn!
Many have often said that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. This is so true! If you are still a student, see if you can become a teaching assistant or volunteer in the tutoring center. If you are an RD, scope out opportunities by teaching a class where you work or at local school or hospital.
What is your favorite thing to learn about? Sound off in the comments!
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