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Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways
You’re passionate about health and nutrition, and you’ve completed your undergraduate degree in dietetics, but you haven’t secured a vital piece of your education — supervised practice, the critical internship experience necessary to become a registered dietitian (RD). Fontbonne University is piloting an Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways (ISPPs) program made possible by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the accrediting agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Half of the dietetics students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree can’t secure internship opportunities — there are simply too few internships to accommodate the steadily growing field. But the dietetic internship, also known as supervised practice experience, is required in order for students to sit for the national registration exam to become an RD.
In September of 2011, in an effort to address the imbalance in the number of qualified students versus available internship opportunities, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) introduced the ISPP program. Fontbonne immediately applied for a spot as a pilot school — and was accepted to enroll up to 12 students annually. Now, Fontbonne’s ISPP program, the only one of its kind in St. Louis, is connected directly to the university’s Master of Arts degree in human environmental sciences with a concentration in multidisciplinary health communication studies. By enrolling in this graduate program, students with a bachelor’s degree in dietetics can earn a master’s degree, which will help them prepare for a career in health promotion, communication and education, and receive the valuable supervised practice experience they need to become an RD.
Fontbonne is enlisting the expertise of RDs in the St. Louis area to serve as preceptors, or mentors, in the program, many who are alumni of the university. Their years of experience and commitment to excellence bring a whole new level of individualization to the ISPP experience. As a student enrolled in this program, you’ll graduate with a more extensive education and broader experiences, all contributing to your ultimate goal of becoming an RD.
What can I do with my degree?
Upon completion of the master’s degree program and your ISPP, you’ll be eligible to sit for the national RD exam, and you’ll join the more than 45 percent of RDs who hold a graduate degree. As an RD, employment opportunities exist in hospitals, nursing homes or other health care facilities, food companies, schools, research labs, health clubs and restaurants. You can work as a clinical dietitian, food service director, sports nutritionist, regional nutrition manager, nutrition educator, renal dietitian, bionutritionist or consultant dietitian, just to name a few career options.
Fontbonne University is dedicated to providing students with a strong foundation in the liberal arts. Through our core curriculum, students learn how to think critically, solve problems and communicate effectively. No matter what career path you choose, an education from Fontbonne gives you the tools to succeed in both work and life.
How can I find out more?