It takes unwavering determination to push through the Coordinated Program in Dietetics at CHES but the rewards are great. Students who complete the program, get two of the requirements for becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist out the way at one time. This option combines the theory presented in class with experience in health care settings under the supervision of faculty or other health professionals. After graduation, students are eligible to take the national examination to become registered dietitians.
Admission to the Coordinated Program, which is currently accredited by The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, is competitive. Students apply in the fall or spring semester of their junior year. Admission decisions are based on overall GPA, grades in relevant courses, score on the admission exam, work/volunteer/leadership experience, class attendance, professionalism, and letters of reference.
Once admitted, students spend 12-16 months in the program depending upon when they apply. They enter a unique phase of their college education. No longer traditional college students, they have accepted the additional role of “professional-in-training.” This new role carries a greater responsibility and commitment to class attendance, timeliness, attire and other factors which directly relate to job performance and professional presentation.
The junior and senior years require more time on the student's part than normally would be encountered in a traditional college program. Students take a full class load each semester while working at a supervised practice facility. They complete many hours of practical or supervised practice hours in clinical, community nutrition, foodservice management, long-term care, and dietetics management and communication rotations. For most, a 40-hour work week is the norm in the fall and spring semesters of the senior year. Students work alongside dietitians in hospitals, nursing homes, health departments, employee wellness programs, and non-profit agencies.
On Thursday, May 2, seniors from the coordinated program in dietetics participate in a special graduation ceremony that recognizes the hard work and dedication it took to accomplish this feat.
“Our 20 coordinated program graduates not only complete their degree here at UA, but also complete over 1200 hours of supervised practice at healthcare facilities in the community. I am so proud of their hard work this past year and cannot wait to see what their future holds as Registered Dietitian Nutritionists,” says Lori Greene, MS, RD, LD, director of the Coordinated Program in Dietetics.