Applicants to graduate-level training in nutrition will generally need to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited nutrition program. Specific grade point averages and GRE scores may also be needed. Students may choose a pediatric specialization in order to focus on pre-term or full-term infants, healthy children or children with nutrition-related diseases. Along with coursework, students will participate in internships and clinical experiences. The program may also require a thesis or, alternatively, additional coursework.
Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics
Students take departmental and science core classes in advanced nutrition, including biological chemistry, nutrigenomics and phytonutrients. Other core courses include diet therapy, research and statistics. Additional research and/or a comprehensive written examination may be required. Coursework in pediatric nutrition includes the following:
- Specialized nutritional needs of healthy infants through adolescents
- Pre-term and full term infant nutrition
- Nutrition for high-risk infants
- Medical nutrition therapy
- Leadership in the profession
- Individual study in pediatric nutrition
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for dietitians and nutritionists should increase 16% from 2014-2024, which is above average compared to other career fields. The average salary for these professionals was $58,410 as of May 2015, reports the BLS.
Demand for dietetics and nutritional counseling, treatment and service continue to grow in public as well as private delivery systems. Dietitians and nutritionists work in such settings as industry and business, hospitals and clinics, government agencies, colleges and universities, international health organizations and agencies and research firms.
Degree programs in child nutrition are uncommon. Students who want training in this specialty area will usually need to pursue a pediatric nutrition concentration or graduate certificate offered within a nutrition and dietetics master's degree program. Program coursework in areas like medical nutrition therapy and professional leadership can prepare students for careers within the field.