As the country’s population of seniors increases, so does the need for nutrition professionals with advanced skills. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 16 percent increase in dietitian employment through 2024 as nursing homes and residential care facilities ramp up hiring. But by the time 2024 arrives, a master’s degree will be required to become a licensed dietitian. UW-Madison is responding to these needs by launching an online master’s program in clinical nutrition in fall 2017.
This four-semester master’s of science program is among the first of its kind in the U.S. Designed for busy professionals and offered in a convenient, completely online format, it focuses on clinical nutrition research and practice, advanced nutritional science, and professional skills such as leadership and communication. In addition to enhancing essential skills and knowledge, the program opens doors in the job market. Students will graduate prepared to work in senior-care facilities, hospitals, cafeterias, schools and universities, sports nutrition offices, corporate wellness programs, research environments, government agencies, and more.
“This degree will benefit professionals who want to advance in the field and better serve the public,” adds David J. Eide, chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences.
Flexibility, convenience, community
Students can take clinical nutrition courses from just about anywhere and access course materials at any time. Coursework includes projects, discussions, and other opportunities to connect and collaborate with classmates. Some classes also incorporate counseling videos, community education and research projects, and case studies. Every course delivers research-based information and helps students develop advanced skills in the areas where employers need them most.
Faculty who teach clinical nutrition on the UW-Madison campus lead the online program’s courses as well. All are registered dietitians, and many also work in clinical environments, gaining firsthand knowledge about patient care, institutional challenges, and emerging issues.