BS in Nutrition and Dietetics in the Philippines

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Program Overview

Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics (BSND) is a four year degree program designed to equip students with knowledge and skills in the three key areas of nutrition, namely Hospital Nutrition, Community (Public Health) Nutrition and Food Service.

The BSND program teaches students the principles and procedures of the use of food for therapeutic purposes in the management of persons suffering from a disease. Students of this program are also taught techniques and management of food production, particularly the phases of the food service cycle: menu planning, purchasing, receiving, storage and issuance, pre-preparation, production, merchandising and service, food safety and sanitation and cost control.

Subjects and Curriculum

The subjects in the BSND curriculum are divided into three main categories:
  • General Education Courses:
    Language/Literature/Philosophy, Mathematics/Natural Sciences/Information Technology, Social Sciences, Mandated Subjects, Physical Education, NSTP-CWTS
  • Pre-Requisite Courses:
    Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology and Parasitology, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Basic Accounting, Principles and Strategies of Teaching
  • Core Courses:
    • Nutrition and Dietetics:
      Basic Nutrition, Nutrition in the Life Stages, Nutrition Therapy, Public Health Nutrition, Assessment of Nutritional Status, Food and Nutrition Research, Nutrition Education
    • Foods:
      Basic Foods, Meal Management, Fundamentals of Food Technology
    • Institutional Management Subjects:
      Food Service Management (1 and 2)

The BSND program is taught through classroom lectures, hands on exercises, cooking workshops and seminars.

During the second semester of the fourth year students are exposed to three supervised field experiences, namely Hospital Dietetics, Food Service and Public health Nutrition Practicum in hospitals, clinics or other nutrition and diet related institutions.

As a requirement for graduation, a student must accomplish an undergraduate research paper. This is supervised by a research adviser and culminates when the student faces a panel composed of faculty members and an expert on the field of nutrition and dietetics.

Is Nutrition/Diatetics a profession?

Nutrition is a profession. A graduate of BSND who passes the Nutritionist-Dietitian Licensure Examination is called a Registered Nutritionist–Dietitian.

The responsibilities of a Nutritionist-Dietitian include:
  • Assessing nutritional needs, diet restrictions and current health plans to develop and implement dietary-care plans and provide nutritional counseling.
  • Consulting with physicians and health care personnel to determine nutritional needs and diet restrictions of patient or client.
  • Counseling individuals and groups on basic rules of good nutrition, healthy eating habits, and nutrition monitoring to improve their quality of life.
  • Monitoring food service operations to ensure conformance to nutritional, safety, sanitation and quality standards.
  • Inspecting meals served for conformance to prescribed diets and standards of palatability and appearance.
  • Preparing and administering budgets for food, equipment and supplies.
  • Managing quantity food service departments or clinical and community nutrition services.
  • Testing new food products and equipment.

What are the admission requirements for the BS in Nutrition and Dietetics program?

Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate.
    Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers
  • College entrance exam: must pass the college entrance examination with a specified rating set by the school.
  • Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college dean/faculty.
(See sources 1, 2, 3)

What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?

  • Being People Oriented – enjoy working with diverse groups of people. You must sense and understand clients’ reactions to a plan or to new information. Also, a personable and patient demeanor builds rapport and trust with clients.
  • Service Orientation – the willingness to help people.
  • Communication skills – since your work involves scientific information, you must be able to turn complicated details into language clients can understand.
  • Some technical skills – technical know-how is very important because you will use tools and equipment including calorimeters to gauge metabolism, glucose meters to evaluate blood sugar and bioelectric impedance machines to electronically measure body fat.
  • Basic Analytical skills – the ability to work with ideas and look for facts, apply nutritional knowledge to craft eating plans for clients and patients.
  • Being Non-Judgmental – must possess the ability to listen to people with an open mind and use that information to help them with their eating.

How difficult is BS in Nutrition and Dietetics?

BS in Nutrition and Dietetics is not a difficult course. Except for some chemistry classes, the rest of the subjects are generally easy. Many students enjoy this course because it helps them develop their culinary skills and at the same time apply their knowledge in nutrition.

How long does it take to complete the BSND program in the Philippines?

The BSND program takes four years to complete (Note: this may change due to the K-12 integration). The program may be completed in a shorter time in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.

On the Job Training (OJT)

There are three types of OJT that a BSND student must accomplish.
  • Hospital Dietetics Practicum
    Under this practicum, students experience interviewing patients on their diet history, reading and interpreting nutrition related data in medical charts, participating in ward rounds and interpreting and carrying out diet prescriptions.

    The hospital practicum should be in a tertiary level hospital with at least 100 bed capacity and accredited by the Department of Health (DOH) supervised by a registered Nutritionist – Dietitian. The total number of hours required for this practicum is 200 hours.
  • Foodservice Practicum
    There are five aspects of Foodservice that students must experience in this practicum: food production, foodservice, personnel management, cost control and sanitation and safety. The number of hours required of this practicum is 150 hours.
  • Public Health Nutrition Practicum
    Under the Public Health Nutrition Practicum, students get to assist the community nutritionist-dietitian to define nutritional problems and plan appropriate actions to address them. These tasks include the assessment of nutritional status and implementing programs to improve the overall health of the community. The required number of hours for this practicum is 250 hours.

The on-the-job training programs are done under the supervision of a faculty member who is a Licensed Nutritionist-Dietitian and a designated authority in hospitals, food establishments and food companies. (See source)

Nutritionist – Dietitian Licensure Examination

To become a Registered Nutritionist–Dietitian (RND) in the Philippines, a graduate of BS in Nutrition and Dietetics needs to pass the Nutritionist–Dietitian Licensure Examination. The examination is conducted by the Board of Nutrition and Dietetics under the supervision of the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC). The exam is conducted once a year in the month of July.

The Nutritionist-Dietitian licensure exam covers the following topics:
  • Nutritional Biochemistry and Clinical Dietetics
  • Community and Public Health Nutrition
  • Foods and Food Service Systems

To pass the examination, a candidate must obtain an average of 75%, with no rating below 50% in any subject. (See source)

The passing rates of the Nutritionist–Dietitian Licensure Exam can be viewed here.

Career opportunities for BS in Nutrition and Dietetics graduates

  • Jobs for Registered Nutritionists-Dietitians (board exam passers)

    • Entry Level jobs

      Jobs requiring no prior to minimal level of experience:
      • Clinical Nutritionist–Dietitian – responsible for planning dietary treatment programs for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities, prisons and ambulatory facilities and providing therapeutic nutritional care, education and counseling in accordance with established procedures and regulatory requirements.
      • Gerontological Nutritionist–Dietitians – often assigned in nursing homes, community sponsored homes for the aged and hospitals for people aged 60 and above whose health constitution requires special diet considerations due to their diminished metabolic rates.
      • Neonatal Nutritionist–Dietitians – registered Nutritionists – Dietitians who have specialized training and experience in newborn nutrition.
      • Sports and Fitness Nutritionist – give private consultations to assess their client's lifestyle, eating habits, training schedule and use of medications and supplements, along with setting short and long-term goals.
      • Therapeutic Nutritionist-Dietitian – plan and conduct food service or nutritional programs to assist in the promotion of health and control of disease; supervise activities of a department providing quantity food services, counsel individuals, or conduct nutritional research.
      • Public Health Nutritionist – an expert in both food and nutrition. These professionals advise people in at risk communities about how they can better lead a healthy way of life.
    • Mid-Level Positions

      Require trainings and prior job experience of a few years:
      • Nutrition Teacher – a Nutritionist-Dietitian who teaches at a college or university
      • Food Service Supervisor – responsible for the day to day management of food services in health care facilities, cafeterias, catering and hospitality establishments.
      • Canteen Supervisor – directly supervise and coordinate activities of workers engaged in preparing and serving food.
      • Research Nutritionist-Dietitian – conducts research studies on existing and emerging disease conditions with the main focus of creating new nutritional plans to improve the overall health of patients having the disease.
      • Food Scientist – apply scientific expertise and technological principles to the study of food products and processes within manufacturing and research settings.
      • Nutritionist-Dietitian in Quality Control Department – supervises workers in the process of food production, ensures safety and sanitation and creating products that are of high quality
      • Nutritionist-Dietitian in the test kitchen (Product Development) – incharge in overseeing that food products are prepared properly not only considering palatability but as well as observing the nutritional content in each item.
      • Menu planner – well-versed in basic nutrition, differing dietary needs, appropriate and palatable food pairing options and seasonal food availability.
    • Advanced Positions

      Require years of extensive experience and practice:
      • Food Service Manager – work in a wide variety of restaurants, including fast food, hotels and institutional cafeterias, such as hospitals and schools. In a small establishment, the food service manager may responsible for most of the activities in the kitchen and with service staff.
      • Culinary Nutrition Specialist – use their expert knowledge of nutrition to help others learn to make healthy food choices and plan meals that support their overall health and longevity. Nutritionists also plan and prepare meals for individuals and groups in various environments.
      • Corporate Wellness Program Consultant – helps people to lead physically as well as mentally healthier lifestyles. Wellness consultants advise people on healthier lifestyle choices in various areas including exercise, nutrition and stress management.
      • Weight Loss Consultant – also known as personal care consultants, advise clients on weight loss and healthy living. They may also provide advice on nutrition and relaxation.
      • Dietary Director – a front-line manager who runs the daily operations of a kitchen and dining area. Typically works in large institutions such as corporate dining halls, hotels, hospitals, senior homes and universities.
      • Chief Nutritionist-Dietitian – head of the Nutrition department in a hospital or nutrition facility
  • Jobs for Non Board Passers:

    • Food and Beverage Checker – computes food or beverage service bills and verifies completeness of customer orders in hotel kitchen, dining room, restaurant, or service bar: Examines food on tray enroute from kitchen or beverages enroute from service bar and compares items with listing on customer order to verify completeness and accuracy of order.
    • Health Care Sales Representative – responsible for selling medical products and services to hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices, and healthcare professionals. Sells products such as medicines, drugs, and medical equipment to be used in general practices, primary care trusts, hospitals and pharmacies.
    • Food Clerk – does clerical work in hospital and food establishments.
    • Diet Cook – receives instructions and guidance from the Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian regarding food menu served for the day. They are responsible for preparing daily food served in hospitals and other institutions.
  • Salary Levels

    A Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian in the Philippines can expect a monthly salary of P12,000 to P17,000 (see source).

Reviews of BS in Nutrition and Dietetics graduates:

G. A.
◈ Studied B.S. Nutrition (slightly different course)
◈ At University of the Philippines Los Banos
◈ Graduated 2006

list bulletWhy did I choose Nutrition:
I was thinking of having my own food business or working in the government to help in the improvement of the diet and nutrition of the Filipinos, especially the poor. I chose this course because the new world trend is in the area of security and nutrition/food.

list bulletAbout my college education:
The course of Nutrition has opened my eyes to the unlimited opportunities in producing enough nutritious food for all Filipinos at a lower price. If only the government concentrated in the production of staple food, all of the Filipinos would have 3 meals a day. With the help of government funds, the problem of malnutrition and food hunger would be solved.

Being inspired, I really worked and studied with such great effort to finish this course in this far flung school.With determination and discipline I was able to finish this course.

list bulletMy current job:
As of now, since the pay in the government is very low and I am about to be a mother, I decided to accept the online work of teaching tutorial English to some Japanese students. The income is sufficient to support our family. The work is most convenient in the sense that I am earning while I work inside my house. This way I can take good care of my child.

list bulletAm I using what I learned in college:
The novel ways of planting HMOs and making an organic farming were some of the practical things I learned when I was in UPLB. If given the chance, I like to cultivate my own farm and produce high-quality food and show the other farmers on how to make a food industry in their own communities.

list bulletHow long did it take to find a job after graduation:
Within six months after graduation I worked in an NGO for awhile. But the pay was not enough for me to stay in Metro Manila.

list bulletDo I recommend studying Nutrition:
I am strongly endorsing this course of Nutrition to the many young and idealistic people who would like to help in reducing food poverty among our fellowmen. I am hopeful that those who are considering in taking this course will really do something helpful by joining the government and the non-government organizations in producing more food products at very much reduced prices.
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