College of Agriculture & Human Ecology

Nutrition and Dietetics


The Nutrition and Dietetics area of study was first identified as a concentration at Tennessee Technological University (TTU) in 1975 as part of the Home Economics major. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has continuously approved the program since 1975. The name of the School was changed to the School of Human Ecology (SOHE) in 1997. The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) received initial Accreditation in 2003. Dr. Cathy Cunningham served as DPD Director from 1975-1999, and again from 2002-2007. In October of 2007, Dr. Melinda Anderson was appointed DPD Director. Dr. Terezie Mosby served as DPD Director from August 2014-2015. Dr. Melinda Anderson was appointed Director in August 2015, and continues as the current DPD Director.

ACCREDITATION STATUS

The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) at Tennessee Tech University is currently granted Accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, (Phone: 800-877-1600 ext 5400) or www.eatright.org/acend ACEND is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education as a Title IV gatekeeper. The DPD program is scheduled for a site review of its accreditation status in 2020.

DPD PROGRAM MISSION STATEMENT

The Nutrition and Dietetics Didactic Program (DPD) at Tennessee Tech University seeks to provide a high quality curriculum that prepares students for supervised practice leading to eligibility  for the CDR credentialing exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

DPD PROGRAM GOALS

  1. Prepare graduates to be qualified and competent to pursue careers in food, nutrition and dietetics using a curriculum that conforms to the ACEND 2017 Accreditation Standards for Nutrition and Dietetics Didactic Programs; and the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences Body of Knowledge (2010 Version).
  2. Prepare graduates to improve quality and quantity of food and nutrition for individuals, families and communities through successful completion of the Registration Examination for Dietitian Nutritionists.

DPD Objectives

Program Goal 1 Objectives

  1. Over a three year period, at least 80% of DPD students will complete program/degree requirements within 3 years (150%) of the program length.
  2. Over a three-year period, 75% of DPD graduates will apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
  3. Over a three-year period, 60% of DPD graduates are admitted to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.
  4. Over a three-year period, in surveys from internship directors, 80% of respondents will indicate above average (or higher) satisfaction with respect to TTU graduates' preparation for supervised practice. 
  5. Annually, TTU DPD students will participate in at least one professional development activity during their senior year.

Program Goal 2 Objectives

  1. Over a three year period, in surveys from field experience preceptors - 80% of respondents will indicate above average (or higher) satisfaction with respect to TTU senior dietetic students preparation in understanding and demonstrating ways to improve quality and quantity of food and nutrition for individuals, families and communities.
  2. The TTU DPD Program's one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.

INFORMATION TO PUBLIC

Program outcomes data are available on request. Please send a written request to Dr. Melinda Anderson, DPD Director, at email: manderson@tntech.edu or mail to School of Human Ecology, Dr. Melinda Anderson, 715 Quadrangle Drive, Cookeville, TN 38505

Requirements and Process to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Educational and professional requirements

Registered Dietitians (RDs) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are food and nutrition experts who have met the following criteria and earned the RD or RDN credential:

  • Completed a minimum of a bachelor's degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college or foreign equilvalent, and coursework through an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) or Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CP).
  • Complete 1200 hours of supervised practice through an ACEND accredited Dietetic Internship. Coordinated Program in Dietetics or an Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) offered through an ACEND accredited program.
  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). For more information regarding the examination, refer to CDR's website at www.cdrnet.org. In order to maintain the credential, an RD or RDN must complete continuing professional educational requirements.

Some RDs or RDNs hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice. These are awarded through CDR, the credentialing agency for the Academy, and/or through other medical and nutrition organizations. These certifications are recognized within the profession, but not required. Some of the certifications include pediatric or renal nutrition, sports dietetics, oncology, gerontological, nutrition support and diabetes education.

In addition, many states have regulatory laws (i.e. licensure) for food and nutrition practioners. All states accept the RD or RDN credential for state licensure purposes.

CURRENT NATIONAL SHORTAGE

According to data from  ACEND, during the Spring 2018 DI Match Process, a total of 4,724 applications were submitted, and 2,712 matches occurred for a match rate of 57%. It is important for all students who desire to pursue a career as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to be informed of this shortage of internship positions, and that graduation from an accredited BS program does NOT guarantee acceptance into an internship program. Application to any dietetic internship program is extremely competitive, and students should realize that GPA is very important along with work and volunteer experiences as measures of student success.

DOCUMENTATION OF EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

VERIFICATION STATEMENT

In addition to earning the BS degree, students who satisfactorily complete all DPD program requirements receive a ACEND Verification Statement from the DPD Director signifying the completion of the academic qualifications required by ACEND to be eligible to apply for a ACEND-accredited dietetic internship.

In order to receive a verification statement, students enrolled in the DPD program at TTU must:

  1. Achieve and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, with no grade lower than a B in all HEC DPD required courses, and no grade lower than a C in all required Science Courses. A list of DPD required courses is found in Appendix A of the DPD Student Handbook.
  2. Complete a minimum of 21 hours of upper division food and nutrition courses from TTU, to specifically include: HEC 3240 Quantity Food Production, HEC 4271 Medical Nutrition Therapy, and HEC 4994 Field Experience - Health Care.

Students not awarded the ACEND verification statement are NOT eligible to apply for any ACEND accredited dietetic internships, and thus, will NOT be able to take the examination to become a registered dietitian.

Transfer students (without a BS degree) must complete at least 21 hours of upper division food and nutrition courses at Tennessee Tech University (to specifically include: HEC 3240 Quantity Food Production, HEC 4271 Medical Nutrition Therapy, and HEC 4994 Field Experience - Health Care) in order to be eligible to receive the verification statement. Transcripts from universities/colleges will be reviewed by the DPD Director to determine whether previous coursework satisfies any of the DPD program requirements.

All coursework meeting upper division (3000 and 4000 level) food and nutrition course requirements must be completed within five years of receiving the verification statement. Students who completed upper division food and nutrition courses five or more years ago will be required to retake all of the 3000 and 4000 level food and nutrition courses, in addition to satisfying all of the requirements listed above.

APPLICATION AND ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DPD PROGRAM

The School of Human Ecology at TTU uses a self-managed application process for admission to its undergraduate didactic program (DPD) in Nutrition and Dietetics. It is the student's responsibility to collect and prepare all forms, applications, and to submit them at one time to the DPD Director. Fulfillment of specific requirements does not ensure admission into the program, effective Fall 2014.

Effective Fall Semester, 2009, students interested in pursuing a ACEND Verification statement from the TTU DPD program will be required to complete an application process and be admitted to the TTU DPD program.

A complete listing of the courses required in the FND/DPD program is found in the undergraduate catalog: Curricula and Course Descriptions

Costs- the estimated expenses for travel, housing, books, liability insurance, medical exams, drug testing, background checks, uniforms, and other program-specific costs/fees is clearly described in the DPD Student Handbook.

Financial Aid- availability of financial aid and loan deferments (federal or private), scholarships, stipends and other monetary support is described here https://www.tntech.edu/financialaid/