According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for dietitians and nutritionists will increase by 11 percent in the next 10 years. If you have a passion for health, taking advantage of a nutrition college certificate is an excellent way to jumpstart your career. To get you started, we have compiled a list of the best nutrition certificate programs in this article.
While there are many online nutrition college courses for adult learners and distance students, a certificate can give you added exposure to your chosen career field’s scope of practice. We have also provided a list of careers you can land with a nutrition certificate, featuring both the salary and job outlook to help you determine if this is the most suitable career path for you.
What Is a Nutrition Certificate College Program?
A nutrition certificate college program is a specialized training program lasting up to two years. It equips nutrition professionals with in-demand knowledge and skills to help advance their careers in health. In these programs, students learn about health behaviors, physical fitness, dietary management, weight management, food science, and food service management.
What’s the Difference Between a College Nutrition Certificate and Professional Certification in Nutrition?
The difference between a college nutrition certificate and a professional certification in nutrition is in the purpose of their acquisition. If you want to showcase knowledge-based training, you should pursue a nutrition certificate. However, if you intend to validate a set of skills against an industrial standard, you should look into professional certifications.
Nutrition College Certificate vs Nutrition Certification: Key Differences
|You need to complete a particular number of course credits to acquire the certificate.
|You must pass a skill-based professional certification exam to acquire the certification.
|It takes anywhere from three months to two years to acquire a nutrition certificate, based on the type of certificate and specialization.
|To earn a nutrition certification, you need to complete the professional examination. The time taken to prepare for the exam depends entirely on the professional.
|Once you acquire a nutrition certificate, you do not have to renew it for validity.
|Nutrition certifications have explicit expiration dates. It’s important to check on their renewal date, so you can update it for extended use.
How Long Does It Take To Get a Nutrition Certificate at College?
It takes three to 24 months to get a nutrition certificate at college, based on the number of credits you take to acquire the certificate. On average, both in-person and online nutrition certificate programs feature 30 academic credits, although most also offer specializations for additional credits.
Best Nutrition Certificate Undergraduate Programs
|American River College
|Dietary Manager/Dietary Service Supervisor Certificate
|$46 per credit
|Central Arizona College
|Undergaduate Certificate in Nutrition and Foodservice
|$86 per credit (in state); $172 per credit (out of state)
|Community College of Denver
|Certiicate in Food, Nutrition, and Wellness
|$247.35 per credit (in state); $629.25 per credit (out of state)
|Undergraduate Certificate in Health Sciences
|$390 per credit
|Missouri State University
|Undergraduate Certificate in Foundations of Nutrition
|$267 per credit (in state); $572 per credit (out of state)
|Southern Arkansas Community
|Technical Certificate in Pre-Health Sciences
|$114 per credit (in district); $127 per credit (in state); $202 per credit (out of state)
|University of Arizona
|Undergraduate Certificate in Dietetics
|$541.50 per credit
|University of Kentucky
|Certificate in Nutrition for Human Performance
|$506 per credit (in state); $1,290 per credit (out of state)
|University of Massachusetts Global
|Undergraduate Certificate in Nutrition and Wellness
|$500 per credit
|University of North Dakota
|Undergraduate Certificate in Health Communication
|$456.31 per credit
Best Undergraduate Nutrition Certificate Programs: Explained
Nurtrition certificates come in a wide variety of formats, especially at the undergraduate level. Here, we take a deep dive into the cost, length, learning format, and minimum education requirements of some of the best undergraduate nutrition certificate programs in the country.
Nutrition College Certificate Program vs Nutrition Associate Degree
Both nutrition college certificates and associate degree programs are similar in their structure. However, there is a huge difference between the two programs in terms of content. Students who wish to specialize in a particular nutritional niche often go for nutrition certificates, whereas learners interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nutrition choose associate degrees. Below is an overview of the key differences between a college certificate program and an associate degree in nutrition:
- Specialization. As indicated above, certificate programs are an excellent choice when specializing in one niche. Associate degree programs in nutrition, on the other hand, feature general courses that provide a holistic approach to the health industry.
- Program length. While nutrition certificate programs can last up to two years depending on their rigor, they are typically shorter than the average two-year associate degree programs in nutrition.
- Cost. Tuition fees for a certificate program in nutrition are almost always significantly less than for their associate degree counterparts. This is also in part because certificate programs require fewer courses for completion.
- Student demographic. Most working professionals prefer taking nutrition certificate programs to jumpstart their careers as the learning style offers a more flexible schedule. Associate degrees are typically chosen by high school graduates who wish to seek employment before pursuing higher education.
- Requirements. Undergraduate nutrition certificate programs at community colleges tend to have fewer and less stringent education requirements from prospective students than associate degrees. However, certificates offered at premier universities often face the same level of strict scrutiny as any other undergraduate admissions process.
Best Online Associate Degrees
Best Associate Degrees
Is an Undergraduate Nutrition Certificate Worth It?
Yes, an undergraduate certificate is definitely worth it for those seeking to propel their careers in nutrition. The certificates’ curricula often emphasize a hands-on approach that provides students with ample training in nutrition to build a solid foundation. They can also use accredited certificates to qualify for professional certifications and licenses, which greatly improves their chances of getting employed.
Best Nutrition Certificate Graduate Programs
|Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education
|$1,182 per credit
|Colorado State University-Global Campus
|Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Sciences
|$627 per credit
|San Diego State University Global Campus
|Advanced Certificate in Public Health
|$543 per credit
|Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Science for Health Professionals
|$2,796 per course
|University of Arizona
|Graduate Certificate in Applied Nutrition
|$650 per credit
|University of Cincinnati
|Graduate Certificate in Human Nutrition
|$7,451 per term
|University of Kentucky
|Online Graduate Certificate in Applied Nutrition and Culinary Medicine
|$759 per credit
|University of Maine
|Graduate Certificate in Human Nutrition
|$590 per credit
|University of Southern California
|Graduate Certificate in Food Safety
|$2,029 per credit
|University of Wisconsin at Madison
|Capstone Certificate in Clinical Nutrition
|$800 per credit
Best Graduate Nutrition Certificate Programs Explained
Below, we have featured crucial details of some of the best graduate nutrition certificate programs, including certificate cost, length, learning format, and minimum education.
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Nutrition Graduate Certificate Program vs Nutrition Master’s Degree
A nutrition graduate certificate program can equip you with in-demand skills that will help you navigate the job market better. It features both in-person and online formats of instruction, which you can use to get ready for professional examinations whilst working.
In contrast, a nutrition master’s degree helps learners advance their skills and knowledge to very high proficiency. Although these degrees have better job prospects and career outlooks, they also have very rigorous curriculums and take much longer to complete. Below, you will find the main factors that distinguish a nutrition graduate certificate from a master’s degree:
- Requirements. Graduate or master’s degrees often come with specific accreditation requirements and subject prerequisites that tend not to apply to nutrition graduate certificates. Master’s degrees are also more competitive and have higher GPA requirements than their certificate counterparts.
- Curriculum structure. There is a big difference between the structures of master’s degrees and graduate certificates in nutrition. Master’s degrees in nutrition require students to take more credits for successful completion, including a capstone project or a master’s thesis, which is not required in certificate programs.
- Program length. Master’s degree programs tend to be longer than nutrition certificate programs because of the bulky coursework and projects. In fact, master’s degree programs in nutrition tend to last almost a year longer than the average graduate certificate in the same field.
- Recognition. Nutrition master’s degrees hold a lot more credibility with employers compared to nutrition graduate certificates. This means both a higher probability of getting hired as well as improved chances of a salary raise or a promotion.
- Difficulty of completion. It is significantly more challenging to complete a master’s degree in nutrition than a certificate program. Not only does it feature a more competitive curriculum, but a master’s degree also requires a thesis project on cutting-edge research that can take anywhere between six months to a whole year.
Best Online Master’s Degrees
Best Master’s Degrees
Is a Graduate Nutrition Certificate Worth It?
Yes, a graduate nutrition certificate is worth it. It prepares you for a career in nutrition within a shorter period of time and at comparatively less than degrees do. You can also take advantage of graduate certificate programs to gain familiarity with the field before committing to a higher education degree. Moreover, certificate programs are much more flexible, making them easier for working professionals to access.
Nutrition Certificate Program Coursework
Nutrition certificate program coursework can vary based on the kind of instruction the program offers. However, key topics commonly included in most curricula are managing weight, emerging issues in nutrition, nutrition diseases, and macronutrients and micronutrients. Find out more about these coursework topics below.
Managing Body Weight
In this topic, you learn about the various body types and metabolisms, as well as the different ways to manage their weight. It not only teaches you a core foundation in nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle but also grows your knowledge in behavioral sciences, as well as social and psychological mechanisms and their impact on your eating habits.
Emerging Issues in Nutrition
Most certificate programs feature emerging issues in nutrition to help learners keep abreast of developments in the industry. This course is crucial for an incoming batch of professionals as novel discoveries in sports nutrition, food safety, food systems, supplements, and micronutrients can affect their daily practices on a massive scale.
Innovation in Nutrition
Nutrition certificate programs equip learners with essential skills to identify and improve consumer needs when they actively work within the industry. Certificate programs also include chemical modeling and coding courses as part of this topic to make sure students can navigate the growing tech field in research with ease.
Coursework for this topic helps students learn the wide variety of nutritional diseases that affect the human body. In addition to covering theory in malnutrition and metabolic diseases, the best nutrition certificate programs also cover case studies on obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. They also train students to become familiar with the symptoms and prevention strategies of various lifestyle diseases.
Macronutrients and Micronutrients
You will gain an understanding of the different types of macronutrients and micronutrients and the various contexts they are used in. The coursework also focuses on the basics of biochemistry in carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins, and fats. However, instead of approaching these topics at a molecular level, these programs teach students to look at these compounds in the context of metabolism and energy production.
Best Online College Courses for Credit
What Can You Do With a Nutrition Certificate from College?
With a nutrition certificate from college, you can start a career in the health or nutrition field. An undergraduate certificate program in nutrition helps learners become nutrition coaches, nutrition specialists, or dieticians. To increase your salary potential and carer prospects, you can go for a nutrition graduate certificate. Moreover, you can also use a graduate certificate to pursue higher education degrees.
Best Nutrition Jobs and Careers With a Certificate
|Community Health Workers
Best Nutrition Certificate Jobs and Careers: Explained
The best nutrition certificate jobs and careers acknowledge your skills and provide fair remuneration for the same. Below, we have featured the top-paying nutrition certificate jobs for you to explore, including details about their average salary, job outlook, and required education experience.
Should I Also Get a Nutrition Certification?
Yes, you should get a nutrition certification. As a professional certification, it will help you validate your expertise to employers and peers in the field of nutrition and health science. It will also give you a competitive edge in the job market, with more employment opportunities and often a higher salary.
Best Nutrition Certifications
- AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant Certification. Recognized by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP), this certification teaches healthy eating habits, including making plans, setting diet goals, and counseling.
- National Council On Strength And Fitness (NCSF) Sports Nutrition Specialist Certification. Offered directly by the NCSF, this certification proves your skills in dietary analysis, behavior modification, and nutrition coaching. It is an ideal path for proven expertise in sport and fitness nutrition.
- AFPA Holistic Nutritionist Certification. This certification will showcase your proficiency in studying, curating plans, and consulting clients in holistic nutrition. Coursework includes anatomy, physiology, metabolism, as well as issues and innovations within nutrition.
- ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist Certification. The American Council On Exercise (ACE) offers this certification to showcase a profound understanding of nutrition in the context of sport and fitness. The curriculum covers not just healthy eating but also fitness performance analysis and diet planning for athletes’ nutritional requirements.
- ISSA Fitness Nutrition Certification. To acquire this Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification, you will need to get 150 correct out of 200 questions. However, passing this high-rigor exam indicates proficiency in health coaching and fitness training.
Best Professional Certifications
Is a College Certificate for Nutrition Worth It?
Yes, a college certificate in nutrition is worth it. Going through a college certificate program for nutrition is one of the key steps to becoming a nutritionist or dietician. If you are a complete beginner in the field, the best way to gain foundational knowledge is through an undergraduate nutrition certificate program. If you are a bit more adept and want to learn industry-relevant skills, a graduate certificate is an excellent choice.
Nutrition Certificates FAQ
Yes, you can use your nutrition certificate to enroll in a master’s program. However, not all nutrition certificate programs provide easy access to higher education degree programs. Often, the nutrition certificates provided by a particular university can be used to advance into a master’s degree only within the same university.
Nutrition certification exams are not very hard if you adequately prepare for them. These exams cover a vast amount of portions, which can be difficult to tackle on your own. However, attending an accredited nutrition certificate program makes it significantly easier as the curriculum is designed to get students ready for certification exams.
Yes, you should get certified in nutrition. Professional certifications validate professionals’ skills to prospective employers, helping them attract more job opportunities or increase their salaries. These certifications are also quite often available in a virtual format, making them all the more convenient for adult learners looking to upskill.
Yes, a nutrition certificate can land you a well-paying job. For instance, a graduate certificate in nutrition can help you get certified as a registered dietician. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a dietician is $61,650. However, if you want to increase your job and salary prospects, you should pursue a bachelor’s degree or higher.
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