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School of Human Ecology

Nutrition and Dietetics

Students prepare food in a food lab

TN Tech's Nutrition and Dietetics concentration, within the Human Ecology Bachelor of Science degree (also known as the DPD Program or Didactic Program in Dietetics), prepares students to be eligible to enter a dietetics supervised practice program, following graduation from TN Tech. This program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

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Becoming a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN)

Students who wish to become a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN) must complete these requirements:

1. Complete a Bachelor's Degree
Complete a minimum of a Bachelor's degree at a U.S. regionally accredited university or college or foreign equivalent, and coursework through an Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) accredited Didactic (DPD), Coordinated (CP), Future Graduate (FG) or Foreign (FDE) or International Dietitian Education (IDE) program. For a list of accredited programs, see www.eatrightpro.org/acend. Effective 1/1/2024, a master's degree will be required to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration RDN credentialing exam.

2. Complete a Supervised Practice/Experience
Complete a required supervised practice/experience through an ACEND accredited Dietetic Internship (DI), Coordinated (CP), Future Graduate (FG) or International Dietitian Education (IDE) Program or an Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) offered through an ACEND- accredited program. Information on ACEND-accredited programs at www.eatrightpro.org/acend.

3. Pass the CDR Examination
Pass 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 RDN must complete continuing professional educational.

 

  • Accreditation Status

    Tennessee Tech's DPD program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend/about-acend/acend-mission-and-vision); 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 800-877-1600, ext 5400.

  • Mission, Programs Goals, and Objectives

    Mission

    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.

    Program Goal 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 and Consumer Sciences Body of Knowledge (2010 version).

    Program Goal 1 Objectives:
    1. At least 80% of DPD students will complete program/degree requirements within 3 years (150%) of the program length.
    2. At least 75% of DPD graduates will apply for admission to a supervised practice program prior to or within 12 months of graduation.
    3. At least 60% of DPD graduates are admitted to a supervised practice program within 12 months of graduation.
    4. TN Tech Graduates will be scored as above average or higher (80%) in preparation for supervised practice by program directors. 
    5. Annually, Tennessee Tech DPD students will participate in at least one professional development activity during their senior year.

    Program Goal 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.

    Program Goal 2 Objectives:
    1. TN Tech Students will be scored as more than competent or higher (80%) on field experience evaluations  by site supervisors to indicate preparation in improving quality and quantity of food and nutrition for individuals, families and communities.
    2. The Tennessee Tech 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%.

    NOTE: Program Outcomes data are available by request. Please send an email message to the program director, Dr Melinda Anderson, at manderson@tntech.edu.

 

Application and Admission Requirements

Students interested in pursuing the Nutrition and Dietetics Concentration (DPD Program) must apply to continue into Upper Division. Students must have completed ALL of the following requirements in order to be eligible to submit an admission application.

  1. Must have completed at least 11 hours in HEC including: HEC 1005 (Intro to the Profession), HEC 1010 (Life Span Development), HEC 2020 (Nutrition for Health Sciences), and HEC 2240 (Food Preparation & Management). A grade of “B” or higher is required in HEC 2020 and HEC 2240.
  2. Must have completed and received a grade of “C” or higher in: CHEM 1010, 1020 (General Chemistry I & II); and BIOL 2350 (Intro Anatomy & Physiology).
  3. Must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the time of admission to the DPD program.
  4. Students who wish to transfer to the DPD program in the School of Human Ecology at Tennessee Tech University must have their transcripts evaluated by the DPD Director (at least two weeks prior to application deadlines) in order to determine DPD course equivalency.  Other university courses will be evaluated for equivalency by the Tennessee Tech University Transcript Analyst.

Complete Application and Admission Requirements are found in the DPD Handbook:

The Nutrition and Dietetics concentration follows the Tennessee Tech Academic Calendar:

 

Master's Degree Requirement and Licensure Requirement

Effective January 1, 2024, the minimum degree requirement to be approved for eligibility for the registration examination for dietitians will change from a bachelor's degree to a graduate degree. This decision was made by the Commission on Dietetic Registration based on the recommendations of the Council on Future Practice Visioning Report (2012). 

Elevating entry-level RD requirements to the graduate degree is consistent with the level of education required to gain the knowledge, skills, and research base required in the field of nutrition and dietetics for entry-level practice and is necessary to protect the public. ACEND® accredited program directors may already be receiving inquiries from students and prospective students regarding this change.

Please refer to CDR's list of frequently asked questions, policy rationale, student scenarios and important deadlines.

In most states, graduates must also obtain licensure or certification to practice as a Registered Dietitian. The State of Tennessee has a licensure law for Registered Dietitians.

For more information about educational pathways to become a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist click here or download a PDF of routes to meeting exam eligibility requirements.

 

  • Dietetic Internship Computer Matching Information

    Most supervised practice programs utilize the online centralized application portal called DICAS (https://portal.dicas.org/). The online application to must be completed by the stated deadline for both fall and spring application periods. Applications are typically due in February for the April match, and in September for the November match. Currently, the fee to use DICAS is $50.00 for the first application submitted and $25.00 for each additional application. Note: most internship programs also have separate application fees.

    Students applying to a supervised practice program must be aware of the computer matching requirements during the application process. All supervised practice programs participate in computer matching except those granted an exemption from ACEND. D&D Digital is the company which maintains the computer matching portal. Students must register with D&D Digital (https://www.dnddigital.com/), which has a $55.00 fee. Priority rankings for internship choices are entered as part of the application process.

  • Program Costs and Expenses

    Current university tuition costs and expenses can be found on the Bursar website:

    BURSAR'S OFFICE

    Students enrolled in upper division DPD courses are expected to be Student Members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics ($58.00 annually).

    Transportation costs (mileage) may be incurred when visiting off campus facilities while enrolled in HEC 3201, HEC 3270, HEC 4271, HEC 4272, and HEC 4994.

    A lab coat is required in all food preparation courses; and a lab coat is required in certain off campus learning activities (approx. $50.00).

    Students are not expected to locate their own experiential learning sites which are part of the HEC 4994 Field Experience Class; these sites and arrangements are made by the Instructor of the class.

    Students enrolled in HEC 4994 Field Experience will be required to obtain:

      • Liability insurance (approximately $15.00)
      • Background Check through True Screen ($25.00)
      • Proof of TB skin test ($10.00 if needed)

    FINANCIAL AID  SCHOLARSHIPS

  • Future Education Model Graduate Program

    Tennessee Tech University  has applied to open a new and exciting program to prepare Registered Dietitian Nutritionists/Nutrition in Fall 2021.  

    The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) released the Future Education Model Accreditation Standards for programs in nutrition and dietetics (see www.eatrightpro.org/FutureModel).  These accreditation standards integrate didactic coursework with supervised experiential learning in a competency-based curriculum designed to prepare nutrition and dietetics practitioners for future practice.

    For more information, see the Community Health and Nutrition program page.


    Contact Dr. Samantha Hutson (shutson@tntech.edu) for more information.

 

College of Agriculture and Human Ecology