Students in WCU’s Nutrition and Dietetics program gain an in-depth understanding of anatomy, physiology, metabolism and nutrition and use the knowledge to help people eat foods that will improve their health. Graduates may work in nutrition education or, with additional studies and credentials, become registered dietitians who work as part of a food service team planning menus within a budget, purchasing foods and completing related tasks. Jobs connected to the field include nutritionist, registered dietitian, wellness director, extension agent, a consumer or trade representatives, food service administrator, clinical dietitian or sales representative for a food manufacturer.
Core courses range from human nutrition needs to microbiology in health and nutrition. Students in the program’s registered dietician concentration learn to plan and safely prepare food in large quantities and examine how what people eat contributes to their health, disease prevention and treatment. Students in the community health concentration take courses from how to teach comprehensive health education to how global and cultural disparities affect vaccination programs, drinking water and food safety. WCU students work with professionals in the field and gain hands-on experience while serving the community through working with area schools or volunteering with the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. They also can take part in an award-winning student professional club or undergraduate research.
Hospitals, nursing homes, schools, camps, restaurants and other venues that serve food in large quantities or offer services related to food for health purposes such as weight management employ nutritionists and registered dietitians. Graduates could assist public health initiatives such as the federally funded Women, Infants and Children program or organizations that provide food services such as Meals on Wheels. Students who complete the bachelor’s degree may qualify for jobs such as a nutritionist with a public health department or an assistant to a registered dietitian. To become certified as a registered dietitian, students continue their studies with a graduate-level internship.