Krista Kerlinske received her Online Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition while holding down a part-time job. That was no easy task, but it helped that the University of Wisconsin-Madison program caters to working professionals with busy schedules.
“The online format allowed me to be flexible with my schedule,” says Kerlinske. “There were deadlines, but it could be done at night, after work, and on the weekends.”
Kerlinske recently graduated from the Online Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition program, attending UW-Madison’s spring commencement ceremony at Camp Randall Stadium. The program is among the first of its kind in the U.S., meeting the growing demand for nutrition professionals with advanced credentials. The curriculum covers advanced nutritional science, clinical nutrition, and professional skills over four semesters—or two semesters for students who already have a certificate in clinical nutrition from UW-Madison. Emphasizing projects, discussions, and other active learning strategies, it’s designed for practicing registered dietitians and others who require continuing education to remain competitive.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of dietitians will increase 16 percent between 2014 and 2024, more than double the growth in demand for most occupations. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development predicts a nearly 11 percent increase in dietitian and nutritionist jobs by 2022. An advanced degree is increasingly important for dietitians competing for internships and jobs, and starting in 2024 a master’s degree will be required for licensure.
A strong support system
Therese Bredemus also graduated last spring, having completed the Online Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition from her home in Minnesota. Even from a distance, she enjoyed the opportunity to engage with instructors and fellow students.
“It was nice to connect with students and professors in the live lectures,” Bredemus says. “There is a strong support system, and with the online discussions students talk with each other and get through challenges together.”
Leanna Schwartzlow felt lucky to study clinical nutrition at a prestigious university while keeping her day job.
“I was planning on getting my master’s, and given that this program was from UW-Madison, I knew it would have good professors and I would get a good education.”
Students pictured above: Therese Bredemus (left), Leanna Schwartzlow (third from right) and Krista Kerlinske (second from right). With them are representatives from the Online Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition program (left to right): faculty associate Nathan Johnson, faculty associate Julie Thurlow, Nutritional Sciences department chair David Eide, faculty associate Makayla Schuchardt, and student services coordinator Erika Anna.