Dietitians and nutritionists are experts in food and nutrition. Appalachian State University’s Nutrition and Foods (BS) - Dietetics degree prepares entry-level professionals to serve as competent experts in translating the science of food and nutrition to the enhancement of the health and well-being of individuals and groups and to the development of food consumer products and services for the public.
The dietetics concentration meets the requirements to prepare students for entrance into a Dietetic Internship, which is a major step toward becoming a Registered Dietitian.
Nutrition and dietetics is a rapidly expanding field. The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment in this career field to grow 21% by 2022, faster than average for all occupations. The role of food in preventative medicine is now well known and the need for dietitians is on the rise.
To become a registered dietitian, you do not currently need a master’s degree, but you do need to complete a post-baccalaureate dietetic internship. Some schools offer these independently, but Appalachian combined the two experiences into one convenient program.
Employment: Most students will pursue their Registered Dietician license and go to work in hospitals, private medical practices or health departments. Some may choose to specialize in particular medical issues, such as cancer or diabetes, and align themselves with clinics focused on those areas.
Students not choosing to pursue the Registered Dietitian credential find work in public health, such as WIC or SNAP programs, or in community organizations such as the YMCA. The Dietetic Technician Registered (DTR) is a credential that all graduates are eligible to obtain and may be of interest for these areas of practice. Appalachian dietetics graduates have also worked for many third-party companies that provide nutrition and dietetics services to hospital systems, such as Morrison or Sodexo. Many students have also been interested in sustainability and whole foods, which has led to employment with local food cooperatives and sustainable “farm to table” organizations.
Graduate School: Graduates with this major may choose to pursue advanced study to become a registered dietician or obtain a graduate degree in business or hospitality management. Many undergraduates also pursue master’s degrees in related fields, such as public health, nursing or physician assistant programs. Appalachian offers a master’s degree in Nutrition.
Core courses include:
- Basic Food Science
- Nutrition and Health
- Organization and Management in Food Service
- Nutrition Assessment
- Profession of Dietetics
- Food Purchasing and Product Mgmt.
- Nutrition and the Life Cycle
- Nutrition Counseling
- Advanced Nutrition I
- Advanced Nutrition II
- Medical Nutrition Therapy I
- Medical Nutrition Therapy II
- Foodsystems/Dietetics Administration
- Quantity Food Production
- Medical Terminology/Records
- Community Nutrition
- Professional Development
The dietetics concentration has a very rigid course structure and does not offer many opportunities for minors in other disciplines. However, it is possible, and dietetics students who do pursue minors often choose Exercise Science, Health Promotion or a related field.
Engagement Outside the Classroom
Appalachian Student Dietetics Association (ASDA) - an active professional and academic organization that focuses on promoting nutrition and health within the community and on campus.
Appalachian is committed to introducing students to different cultures and teaching them how to live and interact in a global society.
There are no admission requirements beyond admission to Appalachian State University.
- Since the beginning of the dietetics program at Appalachian, the emphasis has been on general dietetics in order to meet the needs of the region.
- Appalachian’s program requires a 300-hour undergraduate internship in dietetics before graduation. The internship gives students vastly more hands-on experience during their undergraduate education than other programs in the region.
- The average match rate for students wishing to pursue a Dietetic Internship in 2017 was 67% (well above the national average). The first-time pass rate for the Registered Dietitian exam is 92% for Appalachian graduates.
- The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Alumni support the program by providing training opportunities for students in the undergraduate internship and serving as guest speakers on campus. In fact, nearly every Registered Dietitian in the local district has a relationship or connection with the Nutrition and Foods program at Appalachian.
- This program is housed in the Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management.
Number of Students
Approximately 275 in the two Nutrition and Foods (BS) concentrations combined.
Method of Delivery
On campus only
Dr. Melissa Gutschall