Chadron State College
Chadron State College
 

Chadron State and Wayne State partner to propose a new Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics

Jan 14, 2020

LINCOLN – The Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State Colleges has approved a proposal for a new baccalaureate program in Nutrition and Dietetics, which was jointly submitted by Chadron State College and Wayne State College.  This collaborative degree program will be available via a hybrid delivery, with both Colleges offering the required courses via both face-to-face and online.

The primary goal for this new Nutrition and Dietetics program is to prepare graduates to earn the Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered (NDTR) credential, which will allow them to either enter the workforce or enroll in a graduate level nutrition program after the completion of the program. In addition, the offering of a number of the required nutrition courses via online delivery will allow individuals across the state to complete pre-dietetics courses currently required for admission to accredited graduate programs in this field.

This new Nutrition and Dietetics program will provide access to an accredited baccalaureate program for individuals who wish to earn the NDTR credential, especially for those who wish to remain in rural regions of the state and serve those communities. In conversations with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), it became clear that rural, small town areas of Nebraska are the regions that are most in need of nutrition/dietetics professionals. 

There are no programs currently in Nebraska that lead to the NDTR credential and are accredited using the Future Education Model Accreditation Standards recently established by the accrediting agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  As such, Chadron State and Wayne State developed the Nutrition and Dietetics program based upon the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics’ (ACEND) standards for Bachelor’s Degree Programs.  

Next steps for moving this program forward are to gain approval of the new program from both Nebraska's Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education (CCPE) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Chadron and Wayne State’s goal is to seek ACEND accreditation of the new program once approval is fully granted and begin offering the Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics in Fall of 2020.

“The collaborative nature of this joint program between Chadron and Wayne State Colleges, and the response of potential employers from across Nebraska show the value of this degree program,” said Dr. Paul Turman, Chancellor of the Nebraska State College System. “In addition, the partnership between the State Colleges and the University of Nebraska on the development of the required coursework for the Nutrition and Dietetics baccalaureate program will ensure that individuals who complete this program will be prepared to meet the entrance requirements for the graduate programs being offered by UNL and UNMC to earn the Registered Dietitian (RD) credential.”

Both CSC and WSC have held conversations with potential employers and nutrition-related organizations in their regions and have received consistent feedback that the education and training that this program provides is needed in Nebraska and can fill a critical workforce void, particularly in the rural communities. Many have indicated that they have been trying to fill nutrition-related positions for “years”.

The Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) includes Dietitians & Nutritionists within its 2016-2026 High Wage, High Demand, High Skill (H3) occupations. This occupational field is expected to see an increase in employment of 14.6%, from 680 to 779 individuals needed by 2026, and an average of 54 position openings in the field each year.  NDOL data reflect an average hourly salary for individuals in this field within Nebraska is $26.71, an annual average salary of $55,561.

Like many other health care professions, the nutritionist employment is expected to grow faster than average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for dietitians and nutritionists are expected to increase 15% through 2026, while the national average for all occupations rests at 7%. In addition, professionals currently serving in the nutrition fields across the state have indicated that there is a critical deficit in the state for this type of educational programming. 

As the new accrediting requirements from ACEND are implemented, individuals who wish to work in the nutrition field will need access to a baccalaureate program that develops their knowledge and skills and prepares them to meet the NDTR credentialing requirements.  This new jointly offered program paves the way to respond to the wide variety of workforce needs that currently exist within and beyond Nebraska.

—NSCS Office