Top Online Nutrition Degrees 2020
Dietitians and nutritionists play a crucial role in our society. They advise people on what to eat in order to live a healthy lifestyle or achieve a specific goal related to their health.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dieticians and nutritionists is expected to increase 11 percent by 2028, which is “much faster than average.” That’s not all: these workers are also well paid. The median salary for a dietician or nutritionist was $61,270 in 2019, according to the bureau.
Students who earn an online degree in nutrition can pursue a wide range of careers. You could work as a nutritionist in a hospital, cafeteria, clinic or community center; or you could become a sports nutritionist, supporting athletes who have specific dietary needs.
Online nutrition degrees have grown in popularity over the past few years. In these programs, you’re able to study nutrition while attending school online. This gives you more flexibility over your schedule and allows you to study from anywhere in the world.
In this guide, we’ll break down the top five online nutrition degree programs. We’ll discuss the background of each program, its tuition and how the program is structured.
Online Nutrition Degree Rankings in 2020
Nutrition degrees are offered online by a vast number of schools. To help you determine which online nutrition degree is right for you, we’ve compiled a list of the top online nutrition degree programs.
- Degree: Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition
- Tuition: $375 / credit
- Duration: 4 years
- Credit Requirement: 120 credits
The University of Alabama offers a Bachelor’s of Science in Food and Nutrition which will give you all the skills you need to turn your passion for nutrition into a career.
In this course, you’ll learn about everything from food science to community nutrition to producing food in large quantities.
The 2019 freshman class at the University of Alabama includes 256 National Merit Scholars. In addition, 29 current members of the university’s faculty have received CAREER Awards from the National Science Foundation, which is the nation’s most prestigious recognition of top-performing young scientists.
- Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences
- Tuition: $525 / unit
- Duration: 4 years
- Credit Requirement: 120 credits
The University of Arizona’s online Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences includes courses such as foundations in medical nutrition therapy and diet which will help you develop a well-rounded set of skills in nutrition.
There are two pillars for the school’s Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences: nutrition and dietetics.
The dietetics specialization prepares you for a career as a registered dietician. The dietetics track explores topics such as disease prevention, community health and wellness, and food science.
The nutritionist track offers a broader curriculum which prepares you for a career in the health or food industry. On this track, you’ll study topics like therapeutic diets and nutrition assessment.
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- Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nutrition
- Tuition: $732 / credit
- Duration: 4 years
- Credit Requirement: 120 credits
Arizona State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nutrition degree program. This program will prepare you for a range of careers in nutrition, such as being a community health worker or a food service manager.
ASU’s nutrition program offers a unique food entrepreneurship track, which will help you learn more about the food industry as a whole, how to manage and market food, and how to prepare menus that meet nutritional needs. If you’re thinking about starting a business in the food or hospitality industry, this program could be useful.
ASU Online offers their students access to electronic learning resources such as research databases, journals and e-books. That’s not all: you can also access ASU’s Career and Professional Development Service which offers year-round support to help you strengthen your job search skills and prepare for your career.
- Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Health
- Tuition: $436.40 / credit
- Duration: 4 years
- Credit Requirement: 120 credits
Kansas State University’s Global Campus offers a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Health degree. This program will prepare you for a job as a health nutritionist who develops community programs to promote nutrition.
In this course, you’ll cover topics such as the human body, basic nutrition, the science of food, personal wellness and public health nutrition. There are also a range of electives, both restricted and unrestricted, from which you can choose to round out your degree.
Kansas State University offers a range of career support services to its students. Through the school’s Career Center, you can connect virtually with advisors to help you prepare for your job search and job interviews.
The school also offers advice on finding an internship, as well as many volunteer opportunities so that you can apply what you’ve learned in the classroom.
- Degree: Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition
- Tuition: $800 / credit
- Duration: 1 year
- Credit Requirement: 30 credits
The University of Wisconsin Madison offers an online Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition. This program is ideal for students who have a strong background in clinical nutrition and are looking to advance their skills.
In this program, you’ll learn how to read and translate research, contribute to clinical nutrition policy and research, and lead professional teams to design nutrition services. These skills will be developed by studying topics such as micronutrients, personalized nutrition, nutrition informatics and advanced community nutrition.
UW-Madison offers a range of career services to students. For instance, the school has developed a series of career guides for students and offers career counselling with a professional advisor.
As a student at UW-Madison, you’ll be required to take an international studies course. This will help you develop a broader understanding of different cultures and prepare you to be an active global citizen.
Online Nutrition Degree Offerings
An online degree in nutrition is perfect for anyone considering a job as either a dietician or a nutritionist.
Online full-time and part-time sciences degrees provide more flexibility than traditional in-person programs, allowing you to study from anywhere and on a less rigid schedule.
In addition, online degrees attract students from across the country, sometimes even from across the world. This will allow you to interact with a more diverse group of students in your program.
There are four main types of online nutrition degrees. These are:
- Associate Degree
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Master’s Degree
- Doctoral Degree
Online Nutrition Associate Degree
An associate degree in nutrition will prepare you for an entry-level job working as either a nutritionist or dietician. In an associate’s program, you’ll learn the basics of nutrition and how it affects the health of children and adults.
Online Nutrition Associate Degree Admission Requirements
Most programs ask that you have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent certificate to enroll in an online nutrition associate’s degree program.
Online Nutrition Associate Degree Curriculum
The exact topics you’ll study in an online nutrition degree program will vary, but there are a few common topics that you can expect to come up. Here are a few topics you may study while earning your degree:
- Human Nutrition: This course covers how nutrients impact our health at different stages in our life.
- Food and Culture: This course explores the traditions of food in both Western and non-Western diets. This will help you understand how cultural and geographic factors impact how food is prepared and sourced.
- Vitamins and Minerals: This course discusses the vitamins and minerals humans must consume to maintain a healthy diet. You’ll learn which foods are the best sources of certain vitamins and minerals.
Online Nutrition Associate Degree Progression
After you earn an online nutrition associate degree, you can pursue an entry-level job in nutrition and health. You could become a nutrition coach, a health food retailer, a wellness coach or a nutritionist. Most people who graduate from an associate degree in nutrition will work in a hospital or a fitness center.
You can also use your associate degree as a springboard into further education in nutrition, which involves studying toward a bachelor’s degree.
Online Nutrition Bachelor’s Degree
Online bachelor’s programs in nutrition will prepare you for more advanced roles in the field of nutrition. You’ll develop a deeper understanding of nutrition and how it relates to health. You will also be prepared to attain registered dietician certification.
Online Nutrition Bachelor’s Degree Admission Requirements
Schools usually require their applicants to hold a high school diploma or equivalent certificate. Some online programs, however, only admit students who have already attained an associate degree in nutrition.
Online Nutrition Bachelor’s Degree Curriculum
Bachelor’s degrees in nutrition explore nutrition and human health on a deeper level. Here are a few of the courses you can expect to take as part of this degree:
- Sports Nutrition: This course explores how nutrition impacts the performance of athletes. You’ll learn how to provide nutritional advice to athletes training for a range of different sports.
- Diet Genes: In this course, you’ll study how different foods interact with genes to ultimately impact human health.
- Public Health Nutrition: This course discusses how public policy impacts nutrition. You’ll learn about how governments can educate students on nutrition to keep them healthy.
You may also explore topics such as nutrition communication and clinical nutrition as part of your degree.
Online Nutrition Bachelor’s Degree Progression
The next step after completing a bachelor’s degree in nutrition is to either continue your studies or pursue a job using your degree.
Many degree holders go on to pursue jobs as a nutritionist or dietician. The bachelor’s degree in nutrition often prepares graduates specifically for Registered Dietician certification, which will allow you to officially practice as a registered dietician. You may work in a school, at a hospital or for a local wellness center or gym.
You could also advance to study toward a master’s degree in online nutrition, which will allow you to explore advanced nutrition and dietetics.
Master’s Degree in Nutrition
Do you want to enter into a managerial or advanced position in nutrition? If so, a master’s degree can be a good investment. Master’s degrees typically require about 30 hours of coursework and take about one or two years to complete. You can usually study part-time toward a master’s degree, meaning you can study while still working.
Master’s Degree in Nutrition Admission Requirements
Most programs require applicants to possess a bachelor’s degree in nutrition. You may also be asked to submit your GRE scores and there may be a minimum undergraduate GPA which is required to enroll in a program.
Master’s Degree in Nutrition Curriculum
Master’s degree programs usually involve specializing in a particular field of nutrition. This is because you’ll be expected to produce a capstone project or written thesis on a particular subject as part of your course.
Here are a few of the topics you may cover in your master’s degree in nutrition:
- Plant-based Nutrition: In this course, you’ll learn about plant-based diets and how to consume the right minerals and vitamins while using this diet.
- Eating and Wellness psychology: This course will discuss how psychology impacts how humans eat and how to treat eating disorders.
- Global Food and Nutrition Policy: In this course, you’ll learn about global policies being used to boost public health.
You may also study topics such as local public health, gastrointestinal imbalances, pediatric nutrition and clinical nutrition management.
Master’s Degree in Nutrition Progression
Most graduates of an online nutrition degree will pursue a career in nutrition or a particular specialty within dietetics. For instance, you could pursue a job in eating and wellness psychology or as a pediatric nutritionist.
You could also go on to study toward a doctorate, which is the highest level of degree available in nutrition.
Doctoral Degree in Nutrition
A doctoral degree in nutrition will prepare you for a leadership position in nutrition. For instance, your degree could help you break into a role as a nutrition expert, educator, researcher or public health advisor.
These programs are typically open only to students who have a master’s degree in nutrition or a related field. In your course, you’ll study a wide range of nutritional topics such as minerals and nutrition policy.
You may be expected to complete an extended internship or residency to graduate. You’ll also have to write and defend a dissertation related to an issue in the field of nutrition.
What Can You Do With an Online Nutrition Degree?
Graduates of an online nutrition degree can pursue a wide range of careers. While most people who study nutrition choose to become either a dietician or nutritionist, there are other career paths you can pursue.
Here are a few of the career options available to nutrition degree graduates:
- Health Educator: Health educators teach people about the behaviors that promote good health and wellness. They’ll develop an understanding of what issues may affect a community or individual and come up with ways to tackle those issues.
- Director of Food Services: Directors of food services manage food operations such as hospital food programs. They need to have strong experience in nutrition, as well as a good understanding of food health and safety regulations.
- Dietician: Registered dieticians help people create their own diet that will allow them to achieve health goals. They’ll also ensure their patients stay on track with that diet and check in over time to ensure the diet is working as expected.
- Community Dietician: Community dieticians work with groups of people such as local community members to help them develop good nutritional practices.
- School Nutritionist: School nutritionists make sure that the foods offered at schools meet the needs of a child and that those foods will promote academic success.
Career Prospects for Online Nutrition Degree Graduates
Graduates of an online nutrition degree have strong career prospects. It’s difficult to predict the exact salary you will be able to earn with your degree; there are too many factors to consider. With that said, most jobs in nutrition and dietetics offer good salaries.
Indeed, many jobs in nutrition require extensive training and study, so employers are willing to pay people who work in these jobs well. To help you better understand what salary you could earn with an online nutrition degree, consider these average salaries collected from Glassdoor:
As you can see, jobs in nutrition can offer good salaries. If you’re just getting started in your career, the salary that you’ll earn may be lower on account of your experience. Once you start to gain more experience, you can position yourself for higher earnings in the field of nutrition.
Some jobs in nutrition have variable salaries depending on the nature of your work. If you work as a wellness coach, you may choose to start your own business and provide services to your own clients. This may allow you to earn even more money than the salaries listed above, depending on what services you provide. If you decide to become a sports dietician, you may be paid highly depending on the caliber of the athletes you support.
Many states require that dieticians and nutritionists earn a state licence before practicing. Before you graduate from your school, make sure you know the certification requirements for the state you intend to practice within. Here are a few of the licenses you may have to attain:
- Certified Nutrition Specialist: The CNS certification demonstrates an advanced level of experience in the field of nutrition. You must have a master’s or doctoral degree, pass an exam and work in the field for 1,000 hours in order to qualify.
- Registered Dietician Nutritionist: The RDN is a credential administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration that is mandatory in most states in order to practice as a nutritionist. To qualify for this certification, you’ll need to pass an exam, possess a bachelor’s degree and have work experience.
- CDR Speciality Certification: The Commission on Dietetic Registration offers specialty certifications in certain fields such as pediatric and sports nutrition. While these certificates are often not required to practice nutrition, they are a valuable addition to any resume.
Do you enjoy thinking about health? Are you interested in how the foods we eat impact our health? If so, a job in nutrition may be a good fit for you.
Online nutrition degree programs provide you more flexibility over your studies than you would receive if you were to study in-person. This is because you don’t have to physically attend lectures; you can attend them all online and many of them will be pre-recorded so you can study on your own terms.
If you’re considering a career as a nutritionist or dietician, studying toward an online nutrition degree could be a good investment.