Ending Type 2 Diabetes One Exercise, Nutrition, and Gardening Class at a Time

Where have all the Registered Dietitians Gone?

In About the Program on February 6, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Interestingly, the Fair Haven Community Health Center has struggled to find a registered dietitian (RD) for our Diabetes Prevention Program vacancy. At the outset, we had no concerns about our ability to obtain qualified candidates. And yet, as search stretched from weeks to months, we discovered that we were sorely mistaken. It turns out that a “Bilingual (Spanish/English) Registered Dietician” is a rare commodity.

Why, we wondered, is it that bilingual dieticians are scarce?

Theory: the return on investment is too low.

Many folks coming from underprivileged backgrounds are interested in working in the health field. When they explore their options, two professions seem to fit their criteria: becoming a nurse and becoming a registered dietician. There is a demand in the market for both, the living is decent in either case, and in each profession provides an opportunity to make a difference in people’s health. So how do they choose?

They look at the cost and duration of each degree.

At Gateway Community College, located not far from the Fair Haven Community Health Center, a state resident can earn an associates nursing degree in 2 years, or 4 semesters, for a grand total of $6,192. This is one of many community, state, and private institutions that offer nursing degrees.

Now take a registered dietitian degree. First off, there is just one such program in Connecticut, located in Storrs at UCONN. In order to earn this degree, read the following passage taken from the program website:

To become an RD, a student must earn a four year degree and complete a didactic program in dietetics that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Dietetic Education(CADE).  Upon completion, a verification statement that verifies you completed a didactic program in dietetics.  You are then eligible to apply to a supervised practice program, also called a dietetic internship that is accredited by CADE.  An internship typically lasts 9 months and consists of at least 1200 supervised practice hours in the field.   Upon completion of an internship, he/she is able to sit for the national registration examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). http://www.canr.uconn.edu/nutsci/nutsci/dietetics.html

Four years of study at $8,256 equals $33,024.

Now look again at your choices: two years to become a practicing nurse in the field for $6,192, OR a minimum of 4 years plus a 9-month internship to become a registered dietitian, at a minimum cost of $33,024.

You may be thinking yes, but I can make a lot more money as a registered dietitian once I have the degree! Think again. A registered nurse makes between $21-$45/hour. An RD earns between $15-$36/hour.

There may be many reasons that people become registered dietitians; but cost and duration of the degree are certainly not two of them. The result of these aggravating factors is a scarcity of registered dietitians. Those who are bilingual often come from economically disadvantaged conditions, and although they are precisely the kinds of job candidates we are searching for, they are the people who can scarcely afford the 4 years 9 months and $33,024 cost of becoming registered dietitions.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: