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Old 07-01-2012, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been brainstorming possible careers for a while now.  I have my bachelor's in Literature, but haven't found anything that really calls to me that I would want to go back to school for (I am not considering WOH right now for various reasons, just brainstorming and considering going back to school at some point in the next couple of years). 

 

FYI, I am currently a WAH mom who works after kids are in bed and weekends, I homeschool, kids have pretty much never been away from me at all.  it would be a BIG adjustment for all of us to have me suddenly be in a 9-5 type of situation.

 

Becoming a dietitian is one of the few things that sounds like it would be a really good fit for me, both something I am interested in and think I would enjoy. 

 

However, the schooling program and internship looks pretty...intense! Has anyone done this with small kids at home, homeschooling, etc.?  How do you afford to pay for everything without working (I currently WAH almost full-time and don't make a ton of money, but still it is something to live on!) I think the class part would be managable, but the internship looks pretty killer (and expensive!) Of course, my kids would be several years older by the time I even get to that point, so obviously it will be a little easier all around then.

 

Would love to hear stories/advice/experience from any RDs out there, either students or currently working.  If a certified RD, what type of jobs/schedules are out there? Is it feasible to be self-employed right off the bat or work part-time? Eventually  I would love to do freelance RD work and possibly some nutrition writing. 

 

TIA!


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Old 07-01-2012, 09:48 PM
 
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I sent in my financial aid forms and filled out my application to the program today!! I am so excited.  I am going to work for one more semester (and pay off all my debt) and then quit my job and go to school full time.  Between Pell grants (I qualified for the full amount), the dirt poor grant and a dirt poor scholarship I should have tuition almost completely covered.  Child support,  my rental income, a medium food stamp package, medicaid and working one day a week should keep us afloat.  barely but something has got to give.  Hopefully my parents will take pity on me and send me grocery money.

 

It is going to be intense.  When I went to school last time it was literature and history and biblical studies.  This time is Chem and chem and more chem.  and some biology, statistics, math, anatomy and a  couple more chem classes for good measure.    I am sure there must be some food and nutrition classes in there somewhere.  I am hoping to get it done in 5 semesters, 2 summers and 2 J terms (i am one class short of completing my freshman year).  But that is a lot of chem.  I can do it...I can do it....

 

And then when I finish I am also going to take the IBCLE to get my lactation certification.  to birth and beyond....I either want to work in a retail setting (grocery store.  it sounds lame but the lady who does it at the grocery store kicks ass.  She is that person who takes people from panic to owning their health in a very practical way.) and/or working with low income families to help them get the most of limit food budgets.

 

My children are older - 15, 12, 10 and in public school and I share custody with their dad.  They will likely see more of me.  I am not sure how I will handle the commute.  I can do about half my classes here but the other half are at the university an hour away.  But it has to work and I have to succeed.  I have no other options.  There is really nothing else I want to do.  :) 


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Old 07-02-2012, 07:37 PM
 
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Check with your school/state about internships. As you know, RD's need a 9 month, unpaid internship. At least for my university, it is super, super competitive. They only select something like 6 out of hundreds of students every year. You pretty much have to have a 4.0 - which is hard, especially with organic chem I and II. A lot of grads never get into an internship, which really, really limits any possible employment related to dietetics.

Also, check out the dietitian forum. Job prospects aren't the greatest, neither is the pay.

I don't mean to be a downer; it's just that I was also interested in becoming an RD and realized the chances would be slim that I'd land an internship and find a decent job afterwards. You need dietary experience, too, to be remotely competitive.


Best of luck!

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Old 07-02-2012, 07:39 PM
 
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dietitiancentral.com

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Old 07-03-2012, 05:08 PM
 
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i think there are more jobs than are listed on that site.  And I do think it is a growing field just in its infancy.  

 

It is a challenging education.  


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Old 07-03-2012, 05:50 PM
 
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Here is some light reading regarding what is involved...

 

http://www.sdstate.edu/hns/specializations/upload/Dietetics-Student-Handbook-September-2010.pdf

 

http://www.eatright.org/BecomeanRDorDTR/content.aspx?id=8143#

 

 

http://catalog.sdstate.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=20&poid=3153


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Old 07-03-2012, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the input and the websites! I had seen the eatright.org site and have been looking at my local universities info as well.  I am concerned that it looks like most internships require work or volunteer experience-how on earth do you also fit that in while going to school?! 

 

Lots to think about-as I said, this is not really feasible right now (schedule-wise and financially), so I will keep thinking about it and decide whether the end result is worth such a major time and money commitment.  There do seem to be jobs available locally when i search (though not on the site listed above). 

 

Lilyka, good luck with your schooling-I would love to hear how it is going! 


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Old 07-03-2012, 08:01 PM
 
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Best of luck to you both! I wasn't listing the dietitian website for job hunting (I never even looked at that area), but for the discussion posts. It's not too active, but I found it to be the most active RD forum. There's a student section- though, again, it doesn't have tons of recent posts.

I would definitely talk to an advisor who is actually part of the dietetics program (vs one who does general student advising), to get a feel for how competitive the internship is, and the job market, etc. ditto for current or past students in the program.

Honestly, at some schools it's harder to get an internship than it is to get into med school - which sounds crazy, but it's true for some areas. Also, the hard sciences are comparable to many of the pre-reqs needed to apply for medical school. It's definitely not the easiest path, but most RD's I've talked to have found it to be worth it in the end. Especially if they are passionate about nutrition and don't mind the to government's (ie the food pyramid) idea of healthy eating. That was another of my own personal issues with the work, but I may just have issues. ;-) lol.

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Old 07-04-2012, 05:07 PM
 
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Haha I was kinda thinking "well if the dietitian thing doesn't work out I can always go on to med school...."  I won't lie.  I did not know about the internship until you brought it up.  That is terrifying.   (mostly because it adds another year on to school at the minimum.  If i get in on the first round.  And volunteer where....?  I could probably stay on with company I work at now and be the side kick for when the dietitian does classes would even provide income....LLL?  I cannot even think of anything else.   ugh!!!  What is so frustrating is i can do a lot of the actual work stuff already.  My dietitian friend assured m I would never need to be able to use the science...just get through it.

 

another thing i noticed, and maybe this is only in a hospital setting is that it seemed to be a player in the whole career politics, same as nursing and that is one of the top reasons i do not want to be a nurse.  i do not want to play into the med system.  I really want to do my own thing but if maintaining my registration means joining organizations and unions are required it is such a turn off.

 

Well I suppose I have a year of gen ed ahead of me to make up my mind.


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Old 07-08-2012, 11:40 AM
 
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I am a dietitian, but I did all my schooling pre-children so I can't speak well to that part.  The undergrad part wasn't too awful, I think it was pretty standard for what you'd expect being in college.  The internship was very intense and it was essentially working for free for several months.  I learned SO MUCH in that time.  Schedule-wise it would be just like working full time with a bit of schoolwork added on, too.  I know the internship matching process is very intense and I think there is a 50% match rate.  But even if you weren't matched you would still have a degree in nutrition and be able to do some nutrition writing, since you indicated that's one of your interests.  You could try again the next year.  For volunteering I drove for Meals on Wheels for several months, it was 1-2 hours per week.

 

Now I am working part-time and have been for about three years.  I took a part-time (3 days/wk) position because I knew I wanted a family some day - and now I have one! - and I wanted to be home as much as possible while still helping to provide for my family.  We are also on my benefits because they're better than my husband's.  There is also an option to work per diem, so you wouldn't have regular hours but would be called in for vacation time or sick days or whatever.  I work in a hospital with the inpatients, but there are lots of places for dietitians to work.  You could work in a clinic providing outpatient education, you could set up your own practice, you could work in foodservice or in research.

 

Ok, DD is starving so I can't write too much more, but I would be glad to answer any other questions you have if I can.


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Old 07-08-2012, 12:21 PM
 
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The internship here has about a 20% placement rate.   If your GPA is under 3.2 you are not encouraged to even apply.   You are instead encourage to rethink things.  (from what i hear the school here loves it when you have to rethink and retry things.  Keeping standards high is more about generating more income than generating people better prepared for doing the job the seek)  and you cannot begin your internship until you have graduated.  i wold still love to do it but ended up declaring another major which I think will make school more enjoyable and less panic stricken, and will actually contribute more to doing what I want to do.   I will still be able to counsel people in nutrition and lifestyle choices but will not be able to speak with authority (which is fine).  I planned to work more non-profit anyway.  It will also allow me to do crisis counseling (option B) without actually calling myself a counselor (or having that degree although I will be able to go to grad school with my degree if i choose to be certified).  And I can still minor in nutrition and still perhaps get my lactation consulting certification.


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Old 07-08-2012, 01:30 PM
 
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Wow, 20% is very tough!  I'm not sure the rate of the school I ended up being placed with.  I went out of state for my internship and moved back home when it was done.  I had the flexibility to do that before but would not be able to do it now.  Staying with my local university would mean I would have to get a master's degree, because their internship and master's program go together.  So I guess it depends on the OP's location and internship options there.


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Old 07-10-2012, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by LorienEllen View Post

I am a dietitian, but I did all my schooling pre-children so I can't speak well to that part.  The undergrad part wasn't too awful, I think it was pretty standard for what you'd expect being in college.  The internship was very intense and it was essentially working for free for several months.  I learned SO MUCH in that time.  Schedule-wise it would be just like working full time with a bit of schoolwork added on, too.  I know the internship matching process is very intense and I think there is a 50% match rate.  But even if you weren't matched you would still have a degree in nutrition and be able to do some nutrition writing, since you indicated that's one of your interests.  You could try again the next year.  For volunteering I drove for Meals on Wheels for several months, it was 1-2 hours per week.

 

Now I am working part-time and have been for about three years.  I took a part-time (3 days/wk) position because I knew I wanted a family some day - and now I have one! - and I wanted to be home as much as possible while still helping to provide for my family.  We are also on my benefits because they're better than my husband's.  There is also an option to work per diem, so you wouldn't have regular hours but would be called in for vacation time or sick days or whatever.  I work in a hospital with the inpatients, but there are lots of places for dietitians to work.  You could work in a clinic providing outpatient education, you could set up your own practice, you could work in foodservice or in research.

 

Ok, DD is starving so I can't write too much more, but I would be glad to answer any other questions you have if I can.

Thanks so much for your input! It is so helpful to hear from someone who has already done/is doing it!  That is a good point about using the degree in a different way (i.e. writing, etc.) if the internship doesn't work out right away. 

 

I'm sure I will have a million questions for you at some point, but for now, I would love to hear what you think about doing the degree online (either all of it or part of it).  I have found a few schools that are accredited, but would be curious to know how that impacts getting an internship and getting a job, if you have heard anything about that out in the field.  I have very little in the way of childcare help and doing the work online would also allow me to keep one of my jobs so we wouldn't be flat broke the whole time, but I hate to think of putting all that time and effort in adn then finding out that nobody wants me because they don't trust the work I have put in online!

 

Thanks again!  Lilyka, I hope your new major works out for you, good luck and congrats on getting started!


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Old 07-11-2012, 04:52 PM
 
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LorienEllen  - What are your thoughts on the ADA?  One of the reasons it was so easy for me to change directions is because it did not sound like an organization i was comfortable aligning myself with.  

 

I read an article yesterday that confirmed my suspicions about their motives. (some concerns that had kept me from pursuing this before.  The dietitian I work with seems to blow off professional organizations and government rhetoric fairly easily and inspired me to go that direction.  Other concerns had arisen since i decided to go back to school)

 

I do not see how this program can be completed online.  Of course you can get some/most of your cores and gen ed done.  but for course work relating to the major, besides the obvious science/lab component the program here has a lot of practicums, lectures, on location and hands on work.  But if someone is offering it online....why not? .You will want to look into how that can effect you getting an internship though.  and depending on how much school you need you will want to consider child care during your internship.  it is 9-12 months of full time work possibly with quite a commute.  being a dietitian offers you a lot of flexibility and self structure.  Becoming one does not.


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Old 07-12-2012, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, the online program seems almost too good to be true, right? But it is listed on the eatingright.org website as being accredited, which makes me think it must be legit?  I just worry about not being competitive enough for an internship having not done a local, hands-on school.  I'm beginning to think this may all be happening sooner rather than later, though, so I will be looking into it further.  Oh, and yes, I am absolutely planning on using childcare of some sort for the internship, but that is a few years away and my kids will be bigger than (and hopefully mama will be able to let go a little more-sob!) 

 

I am trying to talk myself into just letting go and doing it, kind of diving in, but I want to make it count, KWIM?! 

 

Off to research scholarships/grants/etc.....


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Old 07-12-2012, 10:15 PM
 
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I would call ad talk to an admissions director or the program director of the online program and just ask what the internship process looks like, what their placement rate is, how competitive is it etc...get the details of their program.  Of course it is going to be competitive here.  We are one of the few schools in the entire midwest and the only one in the state that offers the program and most people are probably fighting over local internships.  If you are online yo may be one of the only people in your area trying to get an internship and if there is no competition who wouldn't want a free intern full time for a year....  Check it out.  i would be interested to hear what you find out.


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Old 07-13-2012, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I looked online further and it looks like there is a pretty extensive "experience" portion of the online program where I would have to go find RDs locally to shadow, etc. and get some hands on experience during the didactic portion. 

 

There is a local university with a popular RD program, as well as a large food service company who offers an internship locally, so I would imagine competition is pretty hardcore, but I will have to look into that further. 

 

So much to consider!


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Old 07-15-2012, 02:03 AM
 
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I really wanted to go that route but could not afford to take 9 months off to do an internship, so I just started a Master's in Public Health and Nutrition. I won't be a RD, but I'll have a lot of the same knowledge and hope to find a job that works for me; my goal is to work part time. There are jobs out there, my work just hired some fresh out of school dieticians; I think it varies by region, though. 


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Old 08-26-2012, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just reviving this thread as I continue my research... :)

 

Just found an online Master's coordinated program that includes the "internship" portion into the program.  It sounds like it is pretty tough to get into, and I would have to find all my own preceptors for the internship part, but the actual program is only 24 months long (I would have some preqs to do that would add on another year, so close to 3 years to finish).  Still, that seems pretty reasonable.  I would have to borrow ALL the money though, which scares me to death.  I would still keep working parttime for as long as I could, but it looks pretty intense time-wise and I don't know if I would continue homeschooling and find childcare or end up putting the kids in school while I was doing the supervised experience parts. And again, who knows if I would even make the cut, it is pretty competitive. 

 

I guess I still can't decide if it is worth it or not.  Some of the stuff I have read online makes is sound like a lot of dietitians end up not liking their jobs, not making enough money, have very inflexible hours, etc, which makes me afraid that I will end up way in debt and in a job that I hate! My dream would be to work part-time and then do nutrition writing in my other "free" time to make ends meet, but it is such a gamble to take to get started on this, KWIM?  I saw a lot of dietians going back to school for nursing, but I just can't talk myself into wanting to be a nurse *sigh*.  There is a great accelerated program nearby that I could do, lots of job opportunities, great pay, hours that I could work around homeschooling, but the job itself-I just don't think that is what I want to do.  

 

I am thinking about finding a dietitian and/or a nurse to talk to and maybe even shadow for a day to see what the jobs entail. 

 

Another part of me thinks I should just use the degree I have and figure out something based on that! 

 

Thanks for letting me ramble, I'd love to hear more thoughts from anyone in this career or thinking about it.


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