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Food, Nutrition and Dietetics

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The Food, Nutrition and Dietetics (FND) major has two options: Dietetics or Food and Nutrition Management.

The Dietetics option is a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD Program) which prepares students for dietetic internships and careers in promoting optimal health by incorporating positive food choices and nutrition strategies which influence the overall well-being of individuals and communities.

The Food and Nutrition Management option combines business and management principles with food service and hospitality skills, and opens the doors to a variety of careers in the food service and management industry. Trained and qualified managers are needed wherever food is served.

Why Study Food, Nutrition and Dietetics?

The Dietetics option prepares students for dietetic internships and careers in promoting optimal health by incorporating positive food choices and nutrition strategies which influence the overall well-being of individuals and communities. Employment opportunities are diverse and include medical centers, corporate wellness, school lunch programs, long-term care facilities, food companies, medical clinics, public relations c ompanies, medical product companies, education and research, sports nutrition, personal wellness training, and others. The food processing industry is one of the largest in the US and throughout the world, so many opportunities exist for students trained in food science.

For the Food and Nutrition Management option, popular career options include restaurant manager, cafeteria manager, caterer, and corporate, hospital, long-term care, or school food service manager. Employment opportunities also exist with companies that produce food, food ingredients, or processing equipment, and in food safety inspection, food sales, marketing, and business management. Consumers spend about 50 percent of their food dollars in restaurants, cafeterias, fast-food franchises, at work, or at school. Food systems managers organize these operations and make sure the foods are attractive, nutritious and safely prepared.

Related Majors

Related Skills

  • Learn to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • Develop strong communication skills both written and oral. Also develop analytical skills and an attention to detail.
  • Effective communication skills
  • Scientific aptitude

Being Successful in the Field

  • Most positions require the Registered Dietitian (RD)credential. Become an RD through an accredited bachelor's or master's program followed by an approved, supervised internship
  • A bachelor's degree is sufficient for some opportunities in applied research and in food processing.
  • Earn a master's or doctoral degree to conduct basic research.
  • Registration Examination for Dietitians
  • The Ph.D. is required for university teaching.
  • A high percentage of food scientists work for local, state or federal government. Learn government application procedures.
  • One should enjoy helping people and working with healthcare professionals and have an interest in good health, nutrition, and fitness
  • Join professional associations and student organizations to stay abreast of current issues in the field and to develop networking contacts.
  • Get involved with the Institute of Food Technologists.
  • Talk to professionals already in your desired field regarding their backgrounds. Arrange a shadowing experience.
  • Develop interviewing and counseling techniques

Related Fields

Business and Technology

  • Quality Assurance
  • Food Safety
  • Quality Inspection
  • Process Inspection
  • Production Management
  • New Food/Flavor Chemistry
  • Sensory Evaluation
  • Applied Food Research
    • Preserving
    • Processing
    • Packaging
    • Storing
  • Delivering
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Consumer Education

Employers

  • Food processing plants
  • Food manufacturing plants
  • Food ingredient suppliers
  • Food equipment suppliers
  • Container manufacturers
  • Large retail chains, e.g. Starbucks, Target
  • Feed companies
  • Dairy, beef, or hog farms
  • Federal government including:
    • Food and Drug Administration
    • Department of Agriculture
  • State governments

Strategies

  • Earn a minor in business or agribusiness.
  • Become adept using computers.
  • Take courses in statistics.
  • Gain relevant experience through internships.
  • Participate in student professional organizations and seek leadership roles.
  • Compete on a meat or dairy products judging team.
  • Join the Institute of Food Technologists to learn more about the field and for networking opportunities.
  • Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Learn to work well in a team.
  • Earn a graduate degree for advanced opportunities in research or management.
  • Demonstrate creativity and curiosity for positions in product or flavor development.

Science

  • Basic Research
  • Food Microbiology/Food Chemistry
  • Product Development
  • Food Engineering
  • Food Safety
  • Quality Inspection
  • Quality Assurance
  • Process Inspection

Employers

  • Federal government including:
    • Food and Drug Administration
    • Department of Agriculture
    • Environmental Protection Agency
  • State governments
  • Food processing plants
  • Food manufacturing plants
  • Food ingredient suppliers
  • Food equipment suppliers
  • Quality-control laboratories
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Universities and colleges

Strategies

  • Join the Institute of Food Technologists to learn more about the field and for networking opportunities.
  • Gain related experience through internships.
  • Assist a professor with research to gain laboratory experience.
  • Take additional courses in the sciences.
  • Become highly detail oriented.
  • Participate in research paper competitions sponsored by professional associations.
  • Research apprentice membership in the Society of Flavor Chemists if that is an area of interest.
  • Obtain a graduate degree to reach higher levels of research and administration.
  • A doctoral degree is required for university teaching.

Federal Government

  • Clinical Dietetics
  • Nutrition Education and Teaching
  • Administration
  • Research

Employers

  • Army
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • NASA (National Aeronautics & Space Administration)
  • US Public Health Service: Indian Health Service, Food & Drug Administration, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control, Bureau of Health Care and Delivery, National Institutes of Health
  • US Department of Agriculture: WIC (Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children)
  • Veterans Administration Hospitals
  • Peace Corps and VISTA

Strategies

  • Learn federal government application procedures
  • Earn a Master's degree for advancement in research or administration
  • Pursue internships in government agencies
  • Maintain a strong grade point average

Consulting

  • Diet Counseling
  • Education and Programming
  • Writing

Employers

  • Private practice
  • Physicians' offices
  • Weight loss clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • Health clubs and spas
  • Restaurants
  • Catering services
  • Food manufacturers
  • Sports teams
  • Health-related magazines and Internet sites
  • Newspapers

Strategies

  • Gain experience and expertise in a specialty area of nutrition
  • Earn additional certifications in fields such as fitness or athletic training
  • Find a need in the community and fill it
  • An entrepreneurial spirit is required!
  • Be prepared to work in several areas at one time
  • Develop excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Learn how to promote oneself

Teaching

  • Teaching
  • Research

Employers

  • Colleges and universities
  • Community and technical schools
  • Nursing, medical, and dental schools
  • Teaching hospitals
  • Medical centers
  • Government agencies
  • Food and pharmaceutical companies

Strategies

  • Earn a master's degree for instructor positions or a doctorate for tenure track professorships
  • Earn a graduate degree for advancement in research positions
  • Gain research experience by assisting professors
  • Develop strong communication skill

Industry

  • Research
  • Product Development
  • Sensory Evaluation
  • Quality Assurance
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Consumer Food Science

Employers

  • Food manufacturers
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Health-related businesses
  • Weight loss programs
  • Restaurant and hotel chains
  • Public relations firms with food industry accounts

Strategies

  • Supplement curriculum with courses in business administration, marketing, or advertising
  • Develop strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Gain computer expertise
  • Seek leadership roles in campus organizations

Pre-Professional

  • Medicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Dentistry
  • Veterinary Sciences
  • Other Healthcare Fields

Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Private or group practice
  • Health networks
  • Nursing homes
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Mental health institutions
  • Federal, state, & local health departments
  • Government agencies
  • Armed services
  • Correctional facilities
  • Colleges and universities
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Retail pharmacy chains
  • Research laboratories
  • Animal food companies
  • Zoos

Strategies

  • Food science is good preparation for professional graduate programs in pharmacy, veterinary science, dentistry, or medicine because of the strong science background that is developed.
  • Research admissions requirements for individual programs.
  • Maintain a high grade point average and prepare for required entrance exams.
  • Secure strong personal recommendations from faculty.
  • Gain exposure to field of interest through volunteering, part-time and summer jobs, or internships.
  • Research accredited institutions.
  • Check graduation rates, success rates on licensing exams, cost, location, etc.
  • If possible, speak with current students.
  • Develop back-up career plans in case admission is denied.

Clinical

  • Clinical Nutrition

Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Home health providers
  • Nursing homes
  • Residential care centers
  • Dialysis centers
  • Diabetes care clinics
  • Exercise and fitness centers

Strategies

Volunteer in hospitals or nursing homes to gain experience working with patients or the elderly. Plan to earn the Hospital Registered Dietitian credential. Several years experience and possibly a graduate degree are required for specialties such as pediatrics, gerontology, sports, or critical care.

Community and Public Health Nutrition

  • Health Promotion
  • Education
  • Program Planning and Implementation
  • Administration
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Consultation

Employers

  • Public and home health agencies
  • Social service agencies
  • Community centers
  • Residential care centers
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Daycare centers
  • Health and recreation clubs
  • Health maintenance organizations (HMO's)

Strategies

  • Gain extensive clinical experience before pursuing public health
  • Earn a master's degree for more opportunities
  • Seek experiences in the public health arena
  • Learn government application procedures
  • Develop strong presentation and public speaking skills
  • Learn to work well with all types of people

Food Service Management

  • Menu Planning
  • Budgeting
  • Purchasing
  • Food Preparation
  • Personnel Management

Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Company cafeterias
  • Correctional facilities
  • Camps
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels

Strategies

  • Gain extensive clinical experience before pursuing public health
  • Earn a master's degree for more opportunities
  • Seek experiences in the public health arena
  • Learn government application procedures
  • Develop strong presentation and public speaking skills
  • Learn to work well with all types of people

Other Professions

  • Child Nutritionist
  • Comparison Shopper
  • Consumer Advocate
  • Cookbook Writer
  • Dietary Specialist
  • Food Critic
  • Food Reporter
  • Food Stylist
  • Food Technologist
  • Nutritionist
  • Product Analyst
  • Program Coordinator
  • Project Manager
  • Quality Control Specialist
  • Researcher
  • Sports Nutritionist
  • Wellness Consultant

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Megan Kayfish  110 Student Services Building  meturne@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-0735 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Michele Ruby  Turner Hall 106  mcruby@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-4608 

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for fall transfer students is September 1-January 15. For the spring semester, the preferred filing period is from April 1-August 1. You are encouraged to apply early in the preferred filing period for best consideration for admission into competitive majors. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Minimum GPA

3.00 for Dietetics; 2.50 for Food and Nutrition Management. Admission to the Dietetics option is highly competitive. Meeting the minimum GPA requirement does not guarantee admission into the program. Admission decisions are based not only on the cumulative GPA of the applicant, but on the quality of the overall pool of applications, and the number of seats available in the department for new students. Students will receive a decision letter regarding their application either before or during advanced registration.

Middle 50% GPA

3.26 - 3.73

Required Courses

None

Recommended Courses

  • Fundamentals of Chemistry and Laboratory (CHE 110/112)
  • Nutrition (FCS 102)
  • Microbiology & Society (BSC 160)
  • Fundamentals of Psychology (PSY 110)
  • Principles of Economics (macro- and micro-) (ECO 105)

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone Note
Clint Smith  Turner Hall 106  cmsmit2@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5011  Current FCS students  
Michele Ruby  Turner Hall 118A  mcruby@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-4608  Prospective FCS students  

Middle 50% GPA

3.26 - 3.73

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Application Period

August 1 - September 21, January 1 - February 21

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on My.IllinoisState.edu.

Admission to the Dietetics option is highly competitive. Meeting the minimum GPA requirement does not guarantee admission into the program. Admission decisions are based not only on the cumulative GPA of the applicant, but on the quality of the overall pool of applications, and the number of seats available in the department for new students. Students will receive a decision letter regarding their application either before or during advanced registration.

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone Note
Clint Smith  Turner Hall 106  cmsmit2@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-5011  Current FCS students  
Michele Ruby  Turner Hall 118A  mcruby@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-4608  Prospective FCS students  
2016-08-03T11:23:40.188-05:00 2016
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