Introducing SJCC’s Transfer Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics

With new developments in the Health at Every Size (HAES) and intuitive eating movements, it’s an exciting time to get into nutrition and dietetics.

San José City College has offered nutrition classes for many years, but it was only in 2019 that we established our first AS-T Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. Today, we are thrilled to provide you with the ins and outs of this new transfer degree. 

This two year associate’s degree can get you started on the path to a 4-year university of your choice. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Here’s everything you need to know if you’re thinking about becoming a nutrition major at SJCC.

“Nutrition is an exciting field. It draws from many of the biological and behavioral sciences for its knowledge base: biology, physiology, microbiology, anthropology, sociology.”

Sharon Antonelli, SJCC Faculty

What is Nutrition and Dietetics?

Let’s explore what we mean when we say “nutrition and dietetics.”

Medical News Today states that “Nutrition is the study of nutrients in food, how the body uses them, and the relationship between diet, health, and disease.” The Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition, says that Dietetics is “‘the application of the science of nutrition to the human being in health and disease.’”

Essentially, Nutrition is the scientific knowledge and Dietetics is the practical application of that knowledge. This part is simple, but when we start talking about careers in the field, things can get a little confusing.

A smiling woman with long brown hair stands in front of a countertop and stove in a large, well-lit kitchen. She cute vegetables above a large pot. Around her on the granite countertop, we see lemons, lettuce, bread, and fruit. Learn how you can start your career as a dietitian or nutritionist at San José City College.

What’s the Difference Between a Nutritionist and a Dietitian?

In practice, nutritionists and dietitians may do similar things, but not always. Officially, there is a major distinction between the two, but it’s a little less obvious. 

Let’s break it down.

Most would agree, the defining difference is that in the United States, “dietitians must receive certification from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) in order to practice.” They can get accredited as a Registered Dietitian (RD) or a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). The second may seem like a hybrid, but we’ll call both of these dietitians.

Nutritionists may have a similar educational background, but their training varies more, and they don’t need to receive accreditation to practice. Here’s how some of the major differences play out in the real world.

  • Training: While both may hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, their education tends to differ toward the end. Dietitians will obtain more medical and clinical background, while nutritionists will focus on nutrition education.
  • Patients versus clients: A hard and fast rule is that dietitians treat sick people and nutritionists work with healthy folks. A dietitian might help treat diabetes, eating disorders, or folks in cancer remission. While a nutritionist helps relatively healthy individuals who want to promote health through their diet. Of course, there can be overlap here if a dietitian is doing both.
  • Licensing: As we mentioned before, the title of dietitian requires certification or accreditation and is therefore more regulated. The vast majority of states require a license. This is not the case for nutritionists.
  • Workplace: Dietitians usually work in hospitals or clinics, while nutritionists are more entrepreneurial. Nutritionists often work in fitness or wellness centers, but they may also run their own private practice. They have the flexibility to specialize in certain areas since they are not beholden to state and national regulations.

Fun fact: sometimes people spell it dietician, with a c. Both are correct, but dietitian is more common.

Now that you know the difference, let’s explore SJCC’s exciting new opportunities for anyone interested in an associate’s degree in nutrition.

From above, we see a large breakfast spread. There are waffles, two bowls of oatmeal with berries, and a bowl of yogurt with assorted fruit. There's also coffee with a splash of milk, a jar of honey, and a white ceramic teapot. Learn how you can start your career as a dietitian or nutritionist at San José City College.

Why Become a Nutrition Major at San José City College

San José City College is thriving as it continues to celebrate its Centennial. There’s never been a better time to become a Jaguar. And with national health a priority in the near-wake of COVID-19, public interest in health and nutrition is sure to increase. There are plenty of reasons to choose our Nutrition Program, which provides a solid foundation for anyone interested in the field.

Nutrition is a Dynamic and Diverse Field

Sharon Antonelli, who served as a full time faculty member in the Family and Consumer Studies Department at SJCC for 35 years (also teaching Early Childhood Education) is passionate about the complexity and urgency of nutrition education.

“Nutrition is an exciting field. It draws from many of the biological and behavioral sciences for its knowledge base: biology, physiology, microbiology, anthropology, sociology,” she said in an interview. Antonelli retired in 2009 but continues to teach nutrition at SJCC as an adjunct instructor. She remains a champion for the dynamic and interdisciplinary education that nutrition and dietetics encompasses. 

With this fascinating blend of science and humanities, students who choose nutrition and dietetics will never be bored. But more importantly, they’ll always be in demand.

“As more is understood about the relationship between nutrition and health, there are more dietetics jobs available in the medical field.”

Sharon Antonelli

Pursue a Rewarding Career in Nutrition and Dietetics

Food is something that everyone needs, so the possibilities for helping people in this field are truly endless — and they are not going away! 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for dietitians and nutritionists is fantastic. In the next ten years, job opportunities are expected to grow by 11%.

“As more is understood about the relationship between nutrition and health, there are more dietetics jobs available in the medical field,” Antonelli said. “Nutrition is an expanding area of study and application.”

“Students learn to critically evaluate information about nutrition and to develop a healthy approach to food in their lives.” Antonelli continued. With this valuable knowledge under your belt, you’re bound to improve your life as you aim to do the same for others.

Save Money & Transfer with Your Associate Degree in Nutrition

Like all our Associate’s Degrees for Transfer (AD-T), the Nutrition and Dietetics Degree at SJCC is part of the Degree with A Guarantee Program. This means that when you finish your general and major requirements with a 2.0 or higher, you’re guaranteed a spot at a select number of California State Universities (CSUs). 

Starting your education at a bay area community college will also significantly reduce your education costs if you want to get your bachelor’s degree, and you’ll be on the right track to a fulfilling career in nutrition and dietetics.

A woman sits in fron of a chickpea dish with sweet potatoes, broccoli, and a wedge of lemon. She also has a cup of chia pudding topped with strawberries, thin pita wraps, and some sort of orange smoothie. Learn how you can start your career as a dietitian or nutritionist at San José City College.

Study Nutrition and Dietetics at SJCC

So if you’ve always dreamed about becoming a registered dietitian or helping people heal their relationship with food as a nutritionist, look no further!

The first step to both of these careers is an associate degree in nutrition. So check out our AS-T Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics today. And if you’re interested in making your way to a 4-year university, check out additional transfer degrees in biology, kinesiology, and communication studies.