Interested in being a Dietician/Nutritionist

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Interested in being a Dietician/Nutritionist

Postby achubaeva » Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:30 pm

Hi, I'm currently a rising high school junior and I am interested in having a career in the medical field. I enjoy learning about nutrition and different aspects about the human body. However, I don't know how to "start." I have never really done anything scientific outside of school and I haven't really done any programs. Just this summer I did a French language program and I started volunteering at a Science Center, but that's really it. Many high school programs and internships are research based and very selective so I don't really know whether or not I should apply because I don't have any significant research experience. What should I do?
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Re: Interested in being a Dietician/Nutritionist

Postby donnahardy2 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:43 pm

Hi,

The timing for your question is excellent because in your junior year, you will be thinking about college applications for next year. With your interest in nutrition, you will probably want to start looking at schools that have specific degree programs in nutrition. Here is a description of the basic educational requirements.

http://education-portal.com/articles/Di ... ments.html

A career in nutrition will require knowledge of human physiology and lots of chemistry, as well as the ability to work with people and knowing how to cook in large scale for institutions. It’s a combination of a lot of different fields, so it’s not surprising that you can’t find a high school program that meets your specific interest.

However, there are lots of things you can do now. With your career goal, the French language program would be helpful if you to work for an international company or anywhere in Canada. The volunteer position at the Science Center will be helpful in giving you contacts in science, good experience in working with people, and perhaps a good reference for a scholarship or school application.

There is lots of research being done the area of nutrition, so it would be helpful if you gained some experience in this area. Research positions are usually Ph.D. level, so it would be worthwhile finding out if you would want to pursue an advanced degree eventually. Do you have time to do a science fair project this year? Here is the list of nutrition-related projects from the Science Buddies website and most of them are based on chemistry. Or, you could do a completely original project if you are interested in a particular topic.

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... g77bgclmby

It might be helpful to contact a professional organization like the American Society of Nutrition for additional information. If there is a local branch of this society, try to attend a meeting to find out more about your field and meet people who can help you with your career goal.

http://www.nutrition.org/

This fall, look for summer science internships that you could attend. Here is an example of internships that were available for the summer of 2012. You might not find one with a nutrition label, but apply for anything that is in chemistry, biochemistry, or health-related. Please note that the deadlines start in January and the programs are very competitive, so apply for more than one position. Search for “high school science internships.” in your geographic area to find out what will be available.

http://oso.stanford.edu/files/programs_57.pdf

What classes are you taking this year? Make sure you are taking classes that will meet the requirements of the schools you want to apply to. Writing and public speaking skills are an asset in your field so pay attention to these subjects also.

Good luck! Please post again if you have more questions.

Donna Hardy
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