This study investigated the relationship between a graduate versus a bachelor's degree during entry-level practice within the profession and for other job factors. The guiding research question was whether there was a difference in job satisfaction as measured by the Job Satisfaction Score instrument, in professional involvement as measured by the Professional Involvement Marker score, and in compensation between registered dietitian/nutritionists with a graduate degree versus a bachelor's degree during entry-level practice. Using a survey design comparing entry-level registered dietitian/nutritionists, data were collected via e-mail from both bachelor's and graduate trained registered dietitian/nutritionists (n = 96). The results indicated that entry-level registered dietitians with a master's degree had significantly higher job satisfaction and professional involvement (P < .05). In addition, a larger proportion of dietitians with master's degrees earned within the “greater than $50 000” annual income categories than dietitians with a bachelor's degree (P < .05). Raising the minimal entry-level educational requirements may promote greater career satisfaction, professional involvement, and compensation among dietitians.
Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, University of Virginia, Charlottesville (Dr Abad-Jorge); and Richard W. Riley College of Education, Walden University, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Dr Butcher).
Correspondence: Ana Abad-Jorge, EdD, MS, RDN, CNSC, Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, University of Virginia, 104 Midmont Ln, Charlottesville, VA 22904 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Both Ana Abad-Jorge and Michael J. Butcher report and certify that they have no conflicts of interest related to this research. Ana Abad-Jorge is a “Speaker Consultant” for Mead Johnson in the area of Infant Nutrition.