Online Studies - Right for You?

Online Handbook: Is an Online Graduate Program Right for You?

NYIT's program in Clinical Nutrition is 100% online. The convenience and interactivity of online learning can be of tremendous advantage to you as you work to advance your career in nutrition. However, having taught online courses for years and having studied online myself, I know how important it is to ask the right questions before you commit to an online course of study. Make sure you review this online study checklist before you apply.

Mindy Haar, PhD., RD, CDN
Director, Clinical Nutrition and Didactic Program in Dietetics, NYIT, mhaar@nyit.edu
Dr. Haar has written on the topic of online learning for Today’s Dietitian (Sept. 2008)

Online Checklist:

1. What do I think having this degree will accomplish?

  • Increase in my nutrition knowledge:
    Programs vary in emphasis between public health, nutrition education, and clinical nutrition. Choose a program closely aligned with your interests. The NYIT program emphasizes all aspects of Clinical Nutrition.

  • RD status:
    For those already possessing a DPD verification statement and now seeking acceptance to a DI, having an M.S. may improve your application profile. The NYIT program does NOT include the prerequisite coursework and clinical experience for becoming an RD.

  • Salary increase:
    This varies by region of the country and individual employers. While some employers have set raises for dietitians with master's degrees, others place higher value on work experience. Check with employers in your area.<

  • Specific jobs:
    Again, this varies by region and specific employers and it's wise to check before starting a program. For those not having an RD, earning an M.S. does not usually compensate for lack of an RD in terms of employment or state licensure/certification requirements. Many dietitians are interested in college teaching, and while it is not difficult to attain an adjunct position with a master's degree, it is more challenging to secure a full-time faculty position without a doctorate.

2. What are my time constraints?
If you are working full time or part time, and/or have family obligations, take out your weekly calendar and realistically ask yourself how many hours you can devote to your studies. Decide how much of your leisure time you are ready to give up.  You may want to start with just one course your first semester to get acclimated, especially if you haven't been in school for some time. While you may be eager to complete the program, taking fewer credits per semester may take longer to finish but assure success. On average students devote 9-12 hours a week for each 3 credit course. Be realistic and do not overextend yourself.

3. What type of student are you?
Those who are motivated, independent learners and good at time management have the odds on their side. However, those who have had difficulties in this area, can succeed with proper expectations and preparation. Since you are not actually "there," it is very easy to push aside work and to procrastinate. Some instructors penalize for late submission of assignments and will only give grades of "incomplete" to those with extenuating circumstances, while other instructors may be more liberal with adhering to assignment due dates.

4. What will my total expenses be? 
Please click here for current tuiton rates. Partial scholarships are available to those who have graduated from other NYIT programs (Graduate Scholarship Award), as well those with undergraduate GPAs above 3.3 (Alumni Recognition Award) (see details about these scholarships). Books and software required are other expenses to be factored in and can be purchased from online sources.

5. Do I have access to appropriate hardware and software?
More up-to-date computers with larger memory and high speed internet will make viewing pages and submitting assignments more efficient. Some courses require purchase of specific software.

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