8 Tips To Get A Job As A Dietetic Educator
“Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students,” – Solomon Ortiz. Working in education can be rewarding even if it may be very difficult. We can all relate to the importance of having the right teacher guide us towards success and accomplishment. With that said, finding a job as a dietetic educator might be the right path for you to take to help others learn, grow, and excel.
Here are 8 tips to get a job as a dietetic educator.
1. Get Experience. “For those that work in the field of dietetics but want to move into education, it is important to demonstrate your ability to teach. For myself, my first education position was teaching a basic nutrition class at a community college while still keeping my clinical dietitian position. Then, I got the opportunity to teach clinical nutrition at a university. Now, I am a dietetic internship director and I also have teaching responsibilities,” explains Wanda Siu-Chan, MS, RD, Dietetic Internship Director/Lecturer at San Francisco State University department of Consumer & Family Studies/Dietetics.
2. Be Proactive. “Pursue the job you want rather than hoping to stumble upon it in the classifieds. First, determine the topics you are interested in teaching (nutrition education, food science, etc.). Then, decide at what level of education you are most interested in teaching (pre-school, elementary, high school, college),” advises Chenoa Bol, BS, RDN, lecturer for San Francisco State University.
3. Make Connections. “Get to know the people who are working in the areas you are interested in. Introduce yourself if you see them at a meeting/conference, email them, follow them over social media, and be someone who becomes top-of-mind to them. If and/or when a job or opportunity to work with them (or in their area) becomes available, they are most likely to contact you,” suggests Christy Wilson, RDN, Nutrition consultant, Writer, and Culinary Nutritionist.
4. Stay Connected. Bol explains, “Always be on the lookout for networking opportunities and new ways to cultivate professional relationships. When that time comes to search for a new job, you already have a large pool of resources to draw from.
5. Put Yourself Out There. Wilson notes, “Let people know what you are doing. If you are doing any work that you feel makes you stand out among the crowd of potential competitors, let it be known. As RDNs we typically do not boast about what we do, but in many cases we should. Whatever work you are doing, whether it’s paid work or volunteer work, put it out there in a community newsletter, DPG email, social media, wherever. Set yourself apart from the rest by letting your colleagues, community and potential employers know all about the amazing work you are doing.”
6. Believe In Yourself. “Oftentimes we come across positions that we are interested in but don’t feel like we have the necessary knowledge and or experience. Don’t let this stop you from applying. Do the research (through reading, interviewing others in the field or subject, speaking with colleagues, etc.) and don’t be afraid to work out of your comfort zone,” recommends Bol.
7. Keep Up the Hard Work. “Keep doing quality work. It will get noticed. Don’t get discouraged. Collaborate with those who have made a successful career out of the job you’d like to have. Don’t burn bridges…build them,” concludes Wilson.
8. Job Searching. Siu-Chan lists the following resources to find an actual job such as searching websites like NutritionJobs, Indeed, higher education job postings, and Craigslist. Siu-Chan also suggests joining the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Dietetic Practice Group, Nutrition and Dietetic Educators and Preceptors (NDEP). NDEP has an electronic mailing list that often lists job opportunities in dietetics.
Remember: “Teachers are our nation’s builders. The strength of every profession in our country grows out of the knowledge and skills that teachers help to instill in us.” – Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education at the US Department of Education.