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Nutrition and Dietetics
1. ACCREDITATION: Are your programs accredited?
The Dietetic Technology Program is accredited by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Accreditation information and a list of accredited programs are available on the CDR web site. More infomation on the AND can be found at www.eatright.org. CADE is located at 120 South Riverside Plaza, Chicago, IL, 60606-6995, phone 312-899-0040 X5500, FAX 312-899-4772.
Graduates of the program receive a Verification Statement from the Program Director and are eligible to sit for the national exam to become a "Dietetic Technician Registered (DTR)."
California has defined a scope of practice for and limits the use of the "DTR" credential. Find more information on the web site of the California Dietetic Association www.dietitian.org.
The Dietary Manager/Dietetic Service Supervisor Program is approved by the State of California, Department of Health, Licensing and Certification and the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals. For more information see www.anfponline.org.
The Dietary Assistant Program prepares students for entry level employment in the profession. There is no accreditation, nor approval at this level.
2. When are students accepted into the Dietary Manager or Dietetic Technology Program?
Students are accepted into the Dietary Manager or Dietetic Technician Program after their application has been accepted into the supervised practice level/internship portion of the program. All Nutrition coursework must be completed prior to applying. (Some exceptions may exist if there is space in NUTR 71 -Level A; and some students may be allowed in with one course still pending and it is taken concurrently with either NUTR 32 Supervision and Training in the Fall Semester and NUTR 31- Food Producton in the Spring Semester). If a student is planning to earn the Associate of Science degree in Dietetic Technology, he/she needs to meet with a counselor prior to applying to the supervised practice/internship portion of the program and prove that all general education, and major specific coursework will be completed at the same time that the last level of the supervised practice is finished, Level C. This is done by developing a Student Education Plan (SEP) that is signed off by the counselor. A student should list his/her major as either the Certificate of Dietary Manager/ or an Associate of Science (AS) in Dietetic Technology at the time they enter Merritt College and prior to being accepted into the supervised practice/internship portion of the program.
3. When can students apply for the Supervised Practice/internship portion of the program?
Applications dates are as follows and are dependant on the semester:
**For the Fall Semester: Applications are available in October and due at the mandatory application orientation meeting the first week in December.
**For the Spring Semester: Applications are available in March and are due at the mandatory application orientaiton meeting the first week in May.
4. Where can I pick up an application?
Applications are available in D116 - the NUTR Dept.office and will be passed out in NUTR classes in the month of October for the following Spring, and in March for the following Fall Semester.
5. CALENDAR: Where can I find the program’s calendar?
The program follows the academic calendar of the Peralta District. The current calendar is available on the district web site: www.peralta.edu or in the Peralta College Schedule of Classes for the current semester.
6. CAREER AND SALARY INFORMATION: Where can I find additional career and salary information?
For Dietary Manager information, visit the ANFP site at www.anfponline.org or Merritt's Dietary Manager page. For Dietetic Technology information visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. To learn more about the scope of practice for dietetic professionals in the state of California go to the California Dietetic Association web site at www.dietitian.org.
7. COMPLAINTS: What is the procedure for complaints against the program and how are student rights protected?
Program grading policy is described in FAQ #9. Details are provided to every student in the course syllabus on the first day of class.
Students are encouraged to communicate informally with any program instructor and/or the Program Director regarding any problem, concern, or complaint. If the problem is not resolved, the student may follow a formal procedure for a complaint/grievance described in the Merritt Catalog .
If due process is not followed, a Dietetic Technology student (admitted into NUTR 70-71 B-C), may also file a complaint with the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Program students have a right to access their own program records maintained in the program office by program faculty and the Program Director.
8. COST: How much does it cost?
Tuition for California residents at all California community colleges is $46 per unit + other student fees. You can calculate the cost of a course by multiplying the number of units times $46 and then add $2 per semester for student fee. Out-of-state or international students can check fees on the district web site. Fees are subject to change. This fee schedule is for academic year 2012-2013.
More costly are the text books which vary with each course. You can compare prices on the internet and search for used books. Typical book cost is $50 - $ 180 per course.
It is highly recommended that students retain all textbook from courses in Nutrition & Dietetics as a resourse.
Additional expenses for the students in the Supervised Practice courses (NUTR 70-71 A-C) include:
- Transportation to and from your site. Expect to commute up to one and a half hours, one to two days per week.
- A uniform, as specified by your site, which usually includes closed toe shoes, white clothing and lab coat.
- Insurance (workers compensation, liability, and malpractice) is included in your tuition payment.
- Medical tests as specified by individual sites. TB screening is required every six months in health care. Screening is provided by the Merritt College Student Health Services. Additional tests such as rubella, rubeola, tetanus and hepatitis may be required and are the student's responsibility.
- Supplies include a 3 ring notebook, a memory flash drive, computer access (Merritt Room D178 and the library), and a professional Email address (available free).
- Required text books for NUTR 70 B and C cost approximately $100/semester. Textbook adoptions with price can be accessed at www.efollett.com and purchased anywhere.
- Finger printing may be required by your site of anyone who interacts with residents and are administered by the site. The charge is approximately $85.
- Upon graduation exam application fees are paid directly to the Dietary Managers Association and/or the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the ADA.
9. CREDIT PRIOR EXPERIENCE: Do you give credit for work experience previously completed?
Once you are enrolled in Merritt College, you may register for NUTR 246, Occupational Work Experience in Nutrition and Dietetics, for 1 to 4 units (70 hours per unit of paid employment over the 17 week semester) for the nutrition-related job you now perform. You must be registered for a total of at least 7 units (including the occupational work experience) at Merritt to qualify. Unfortunately, Merritt College does not grant academic credit for previously completed experience. The knowledge and skills you bring with you will enlighten others and enrich your academic experience while making your task easier.
10. DISCIPLINE: What student behavior is expected and how is discipline handled?
Every Merritt student is expected to abide by the Code of Conduct in the Merritt Catalog at all times. A procedure for disciplining violations of the code is also described in the Catalog.
Once students have been admitted to the Supervised Practice courses, they are required to
- Continue honoring the Merritt Code of Conduct
- Also agree to abide by the Code of Ethics of the DMA
- Also agree to abide by the Code of Ethics of the CDR/ADA
- Also agree to abide by state law (including scope of practice) under Business and Professions Code Section 2585-2586.8.
- Also agree to abide by applicable federal law (including HIPAA)
The details of these guidelines are reviewed and approved by the Program's Advisory Board, which consists of faculty, college administrators, preceptors, community representatives, alumni, and students. The details are included in the student handbook which is provided to every student upon admission to supervised practice, with ample opportunity for question and discussion. A copy of the student handbook is universally available in the Program Office, Room D116.
A violation of the above may result in a student's immediate suspension from the program, pending inquiry. A hearing, including program faculty, the Program Director, Dean, and Advisory Board member could result in dismissal from the program.
Any violation outside the Supervised Practice courses will proceed as described in the Merritt Catalog.
If due process is not followed, a Dietetic Technology student (enrolled in NUTR 70-71 B-C) may file a complaint with the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals.
11. DISTANCE: Is your program offered by Distance Education?
No, although we accommodate our commuting students by offering our courses in blocks to minimize the number of trips that they make each week. Our supervised practice courses (NUTR 70/71 A-C) utilize electronic communication to further reduce commute time. You may transfer equivalent courses offered through distance education at other accredited, degree-granting institutions. You can find other accredited dietetics programs listed on the web site of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at www.anfponline.org and the Commission on Dietetic Registration at www.eatright.org/ACEND/.
12. GRADING: What is the program’s grading policy?
The following policy has been developed and agreed upon by the Nutrition and Dietetics faculty and the Program Advisory Board. It is designed to support the Program mission, goals, and outcome measures.
- Mimic the workplace as much as possible and encourage RELIABILITY as a core value.
- Regular and prompt attendance is expected and encouraged.
- Participation, teamwork, and collaboration are required and can only be practiced and evaluated when a student is present.
- Communication with the instructor regarding any obstacle to attendance, punctuality, or persistence (to the end of class) is expected.
- RESPECT AND COURTESY are core values in our learning community. Disruptive student behavior is subject to Merritt College disciplinary action.
- Make up exams must be arranged promptly (preferably before the exam is given) and completed before the exam is returned to students (usually one week).
- Extra credit is used sparingly and only to support learning activities.
- Reasonable penalties are given for late assignments.
- Respect is shown for Merritt College policy, which prohibits food/beverage and unregistered guests in the classroom. Rules may vary from class to class depending on extenuating factors.
- PERSONAL INTEGRITY is a core value. Dishonest behavior such as cheating, plagiarism, theft, and misrepresentation are grounds for course failure and suspension or dismissal from the department programs.
- PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY is a core value. Students are required to keep their own grade sheet with current points earned, so that at any point in the semester a student can calculate their own grade.
Individual instructors may differ in the procedures and rules they use to implement department policy. All instructors strive for clear communication in the course syllabus and in the classroom, along with consistent and fair enforcement.
13. HIPAA: What is HIPAA and how does it affect students?
Program participants are required to abide by the provisions of US Health and Human Services for Protecting the Privacy of Patients' Health Information (HIPAA), as interpreted by each supervised practice facility. A fact sheet may be viewed at www.hhs.gov/news/facts/privacy.html. A violation of confidentiality according to federal law is grounds for program suspension pending inquiry and possible dismissal.
14. INSURANCE: Are students covered by insurance?
The Peralta District purchases liability, malpractice, and Worker's Compensation insurance coverage for Merritt College students. Each supervised practice student and preceptor is provided with certificates of liability and malpractice insurance. They are also supplied with the following instructions in the event of an accident or injury when the student is in route or at at a Merritt supervised practice site:
- Notify the preceptor/supervisor immediately and follow the facility reporting procedure.
- Seek treatment in any hospital emergency room or at clinics specified on the information sheet.
- Bill for treatment to Alameda County Schools Insurance Group, PO Box 2487, Dublin, CA 94568, phone 510-803-1346.
- Notify your instructor and the Program Director (510-436-2521) immediately since report forms must be received within 24 hours and submitted within 48 hours.
- If you are unable to call, request that a family member or the treating physician call on your behalf.
15. LOCATION: Where are you located?
Merritt College is located in the beautiful Oakland Hills at 12500 Campus Drive, Oakland, California, 94619. Convenient to Bart, exit at the Fruitvale station and take the #54 bus to Merritt. For driving directions, visit www.mapquest.com. Merritt has lots of parking for a $.50 fee (bring change). The Nutrition and Dietetics Program is in Room D116. The classrooms are also in Building D.
A campus map can be found at www.merritt.edu.
16. PROGRAM DIRECTOR: How can I communicate with the program director?
You can leave a voice mail message for Mary Louise Zernicke, MS, MPH, RD, CSG at 510-436-2521. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Register for NUTR 1 for a thorough discussion of career and academic options in the profession. We will also formulate a plan individualized to your unique needs.
17. PROGRAM LENGTH: How long does it take to complete your programs?
Most of our students are employed full time. How long it takes will depend on how many courses you can successfully complete each semester. The minimum completion time for a full-time student is 1 semester for Dietary Assistant, 3 semesters for Dietary Manager, and 4 semesters plus one summer for Dietetic Technology, unless you have previously completed some of the course work.
19. SPECIAL SERVICES: What special services are available to students?
Merritt College provides a full range of student services, including Disabled Students Program, High Tech Center, Learning/Tutorial Center, Library, Counseling, Puente Program, EOPS program, Financial Aid office, and Career/Transfer Center. Theses services are fully described on Peralta'sweb site www.peralta.edu select studens.
20. SUPERVISED PRACTICE: What are the additional requirements of the supervised practice component (NUTR 70-71 Level A-C) of the Dietary Manager and Dietetic Technology Programs?
A detailed explanation of requirements is provided to every student accepted into the Supervised Practice courses in the Nutrition and Dietetics Student Handbook, which has been reviewed and approved by the Program's Advisory Board. Any one may request a copy of the handbook at any time from the program office. The following is a summary of requirements:
- Ability to spend about 10 hours/week at your rotation, typically done on Thursday.
- Attendance at mandatory class meetings.
- Frequent access to a computer for internet access and word processing.
- Participation in course email communications. Email must be checked at least every 3 days for communication with the program, and possibly more often at certain sites where the preceptor's main mode of communication is email.
- Documentation of the activities you perform to demonstrate and practice each competency. Expect to spend a minimum of one hour each week word processing and entering information into your course binder. You must provide the preceptor with a written description of the competency activity before you request her/his verification and evaluation.
- Reliable transportation or the ability to find alternative methods.
- Willingness to spend up to two hours in transit to some sites.
- Acquisition of a uniform as required by the facility.
- Acquisition of supplies including a 3 inch, 3 ring binder with dividers, and a flash drive/memory
- Provision of current TB clearance (within six months). Rubella, rubeola, hepatitis and other medical tests may be required. Allow at least one month to obtain TB clearance. Finger printing may also be required.
- Completion of all prerequisite courses with a grade of "C" or better prior to admission to the supervised practice courses. At the first level, NUTR 70-71 A, you may take one course concurrently: either NUTR 32 in the Fall or NUTR 31 in the Spring. You must be within two semesters of graduation when you are admitted to Supervised Practice Level B. The B Level must be successfully completed prior to proceeding to the C Level.
- Documentation of at least 150 hours per level A-C at at least two different sites per level, pre-approved by the program faculty.
- Up to 20% of hours (no more than 30 hours per semester) may be completed outside the assigned rotations, if the activities are related to a competency, the instructor grants prior approval, the activity is appropriately documented and signed off by the person agreed upon in prior approval.
- Successful completion of the course with a grade of "C" or better requires that 100% of both the hours and the documented competencies be submitted to the instructor at least one week before the last day of the semester. If you are missing less than 10% of the hours and documentation, you may receive a grade of "incomplete." The incomplete must be cleared by the date designated on the incomplete form by the instructor or the grade will automatically become a "D" or an "F." If you have completed less than 90%, you will receive less than a "C" grade or a "withdraw" (watch the deadline) or "no credit." In either event you may register and complete the same level the following semester.
- One third of the total hours in level A and up to half of the total hours in level B and C may be completed at your place of employment if pre-approved by the program.
- Placement at a site of your own choice is possible, but please be aware that the site application process may take up to six months and the site must be pre-approved by the program director or clinical coordinator. The site must provide a quality learning experience and a Registered Dietitian or other equally qualified preceptor willing to oversee the experience.
- Evaluation each semester by your preceptor based on the following criteria: ethical behavior, confidentiality, honesty, dependability, knowledge, commitment, maturity, image, punctuality, cooperation, and professionalism.
- Evaluation each semester by your instructor based on the above plus participation, reliability, punctuality, cooperation, and professionalism.
- As in all Nutrition courses, attendance and punctuality are required and participation will impact your grade. If you must miss a scheduled time at a site, you are required to notify your preceptor and the instructor at the earliest possible time. The student is responsible for 150 total supervised practice hours per semester.
- Any violation of the ADA Code of Ethics, Merritt College Code of Conduct, local, state and federal laws, will be grounds for suspension pending inquiry. (See FAQ 10). A currency evaluation will be submitted to all students who have had a time lapse of five years or more since taking Nutrition specific course work.
- Provision of insurance by the PCCD to cover all Merritt College students when they are enrolled in supervised practice. This coverage includes Workers Compensation, liability, and malpractice. Copies of the coverage and directions in the event of an accident or emergency (Workers Compensation) are provided to each preceptor and each student. (See FAQ 14.).
21. WHAT IS THE PROGRAM POLICY ABOUT STUDENTS OBTAINING AN INCOMPLETE FOR A COURSE?
Students may request an incomplete only under extraordinary emergency circumstances that arise within the last 2 weeks of the semester and at least 90% of the class work has been completed. An incomplete grade must be resolved by the date designated on the petition by the instructor or within 3 weeks from the beginning of the following semester if not specified.
22. TRANSFER CREDIT: Do you accept college credits completed elsewhere?
There is a formal process to request that courses completed at a regionally accredited, degree-granting institution be substituted for the required courses or count toward the total unit requirement. Substitutions will be granted on a case-by-case basis. A Merritt College counselor or the program director can help you initiate the process.
23. What are the pass rates for your programs?
ServSafe Exam is given at the end of the NUTR 30 Safety and Sanitation Coures - the pass rates were:
Date of exam pass rate March 2011 87% November 2010 87.1% March 2010 87.5%
Certified Dietary Manager exam is offered only twice each year. the pass rates were:
Date of exam pass rate national average March 2011 78% 68.8% November 2010 87.5% 70.5% March 2010 72.7% 72.5%
Registered Dietetic Technician exam is taken as scheduled:
Date of exam pass rate January-June 2011 100% January-December 2010 65%
24. VERIFICATION STATEMENT: What is a verification statement?
Every student who successfully completes Merritt's AS Degree (Pathway 1) or Certificate (Pathway 2) in Dietetic Technology will receive multiple, original Verification Statements, as specified by CDR/AND and provided by Merritt's Program Director.
The Verification Statement is an official document that verifies that the program graduate has demonstrated knowledge, skills, and competencies required of an entry level Dietetic Technician.
One original Verification Statement is required when a graduate applies to sit for the national Dietetic Technician Registered Certification Exam of the CDR/AND. Additional Verification Statements are supplied to the graduate and one is maintained in the program office.
Students who enter Merritt College having recently earned a Verification Statement from an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) will be admitted directly into Merritt's Supervised Practice courses (NUTR 70-71 A-C). The Verification Statement guarantees that the student has previously successfully completed all foundation knowledge and skill requirements specified by the CDR/AND. After the student has supplied an original Verification Statement, an official degree transcript, and successfully completed the 450 hours of supervised practice, he/she will receive a Certificate in Dietetic Technology and another Verification Statement from Merritt's Program Director allowing him/her to apply to take the DTR certification exam.