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From: Mark Rifkin (
Subject:         Re: becoming an expert
Date: August 31, 2006 at 7:44 pm PST

In Reply to: becoming an expert posted by sandy on August 27, 2006 at 10:10 am:


Thanks for your excellent questions.
RE: the labs, most programs will require labs in:
1) anatomy and physiology (dissection may be involved, but raising the right objection in the right way to the right person should get you what you want).
2) microbiology
3) organic chemistry
4) biochemistry
5) food science, likely involving meat (no one will force you to eat it), which you should expect to be required to study and handle

Which of these you'd be required to take depends on the program and how much they accept from your AAS degree. Check out the approved programs at the ADA's website If you're in New England, there's numerous options. Honestly, I'm not that good at lab courses either, and the labs are minor compared to the academic courses.

Ultimately, the answer depends on what you'd like to do in your career:
1) do you want to counsel individuals on good nutrition? Are you good at giving advice in a constructive and thoughtful way? Are you good at documentation? If yes, then RD will be necessary.

2) do you want to provide group education? RD helpful, but not necessarily required. Check out a health education degree. Guessing you're from New England, there should be plenty of these programs up there. I chose this option in addition to RD.

3) do you want to write? This can be for consumer media, for a food company or indiustry group, for websites, etc. RD helpful, but not required.

The RD credential, in my opinion, does bring automatic credibility, which is immensely valuable and not burdened by excessive competition.

Also check out the options available at a local community college. Frequently the credits are transferable without the unnecessary academic challenges of 4-yr schools.

Hope that helps,

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