Online Nutritionist Degree Programs - Bachelor's Guide

Updated November 2, 2022

Explore our top-ranked online nutrition degree programs and learn about careers that help people lead healthier lives through diet.

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Nutritionists can play a big role in helping people eat and live healthier. According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, "good nutrition is essential for keeping Americans healthy across the lifespan."

Nutritionists help us decide what to eat and explain the science behind why certain foods make us feel better. But nutritionists have to be highly educated to know how to lead people to a healthier lifestyle.

A bachelor's in nutrition is a popular path. Getting an online nutrition degree can make your education more convenient and customizable.

Why Get a Nutrition Degree? Is It Worth It?

A nutrition degree is essential if you want to become a nutritionist, but also worth it in the long run. The following benefits of a bachelor's in nutrition explain why:

  1. 1

    Improve the Health and Wellness of Others

    If you're passionate about the health and wellness of others, it's a good sign that a bachelor's in nutrition may be right for you.

    Nutritionists are all about helping people make smarter and healthier choices with their diets. They can impact someone's life — from creating healthy meal plans that give them energy to breaking bad eating habits that drag them down or cause certain diseases.

  2. 2

    You Can Pursue Variety of Career Paths

    Nutritionists' skills can apply to various careers and work settings. Most nutritionists work in hospitals, but others are employed by the government, in nursing facilities, or are self-employed.

    The type of work also widely varies, depending on your passions. For example, many nutritionists specialize in promoting wellness and preventative care. Others help athletes reach their peak performance through healthy dieting.

  3. 3

    Earn Much-Needed Qualifications

    While becoming a nutritionist without a degree is possible, it's a much tougher path. A bachelor's in nutrition will qualify you for the certifications and licenses you need to apply for most jobs in nutrition.

    Most employers are looking for candidates with the skills and knowledge only a certification can give you. A nutrition degree will help you get there.

Featured Online Nutritionist Programs

What Types of Nutrition Degrees Are There?

There are a few degrees to choose from if you're considering becoming a nutritionist. Each comes with different job opportunities, time commitments, and salaries.

Consider which of the following help you meet your goals:

  • Associate Degree in Nutrition

    An associate degree in nutrition covers the basics of nutrients, nutritional needs, and the relationship between nutrition and lifestyle. It usually takes about two years to complete.

    Getting an associate in nutrition can lead to specific entry-level jobs, such as nutrition technician. It can also qualify you for a higher level of education, like a bachelor's degree.

  • Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition

    A bachelor's in nutrition is a four-year degree and a comprehensive study of nutrition, health, and sciences. Most nutrition-related careers and nutrition credentials require it, so it's often the go-to choice.

    Bachelor's nutrition programs give students the knowledge and skills to work in hospitals, clinics, and sports medicine or meet requirements for graduate-level degrees. Specific concentrations include dietetics, nutrition entrepreneurship, and nutritional science.

  • Master's Degree in Nutrition

    A master's degree in nutrition goes deeper into nutritional science, dietetic practices, and research methods. Master's degrees usually take 1-2 years to complete.

    Master's nutrition programs boost students' credentials, lead to more advanced skills, better earning potential, more clinical work opportunities. Master's graduates can also qualify for doctoral programs.

  • Doctorate Degree in Nutrition

    A doctorate degree in nutrition combines coursework and research in specialized fields. Doctoral nutrition programs can take up to six years or longer to complete.

    Because of their expertise, nutritionists with doctoral degrees go on to work in academia, research institutes, and governmental agencies.

What's the Difference Between a Nutritionist and Dietician?

At first glance, nutritionists and dietitians have similar jobs. Both help people make healthier food and diet choices. But it's their qualifications that can set them apart.

Dieticians must have a national board certification to practice. Dietitians can then intervene with evidence-based nutritional therapy to address clinical conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Nutritionists are not always required to be certified, but many are. Most states require it before they can practice. But some allow anyone interested in diet or nutrition to call themselves a nutritionist.

Bachelor's Nutrition Degree Curriculum & Courses

Nutrition programs feature general education and core classes. Typical core classes include applied nutrition, nutrition across the lifespan, and nutrition research. See below for a sample curriculum for many online nutrition degrees. Please note that courses vary among schools.

  • Applied Nutrition

    Applied nutrition refers to how nutritionists use their education to help others. Class topics emphasize how eating habits, exercise, and other factors impact individuals' health.

    Students explore community programs' roles in raising nutrition awareness. Learning outcomes include developing programs aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles and preventing illness.

  • Nutrition Across the Lifespan

    People's dietary needs change throughout their lives. As a result, nutritionists provide custom-tailored advice to people of different ages.

    This class prepares them for this role with coursework in basic nutrition fundamentals and the relationship between health and nutrition. Degree-seekers also research the impact culture and faith make on people's dietary decisions.

  • Nutrition Research

    Nutritionists provide their clients with the best advice by keeping up with the latest nutrition research. This class trains students in academic research fundamentals.

    Other assignments cover the topics nutrition researchers explore, like food production, sustainability, and epidemiology. Some graduates use what they learned in this class to perform original research at the graduate level.

Bachelor's in Nutrition Admissions Requirements

Each school handles admission requirements differently. The requirements may change if you're a first-year, transfer, or international student.

Most bachelor's in nutrition programs require at least the following criteria:

  • Course Competency

    Course competency means you've earned up to four college credits in subjects including English, social sciences, mathematics, natural science, foreign language, and fine arts.

    You may already meet all requirements for course competencies if you've graduated from high school, passed the General Education Development (GED) test, or have completed two years of college.

  • Official Transcripts

    You'll need to submit official high school or GED transcripts to prove you have high school-level academic skills. Transfer students may need to submit transcripts from their previous schools.

    Grade point average (GPA) also matters. Minimum GPA requirements range from 2.0-3.0.

  • Test Scores

    Standardized ACT or SAT test scores may or may not be required for the admissions process. Some schools make it optional; however, not submitting them may make other parts of your application more important.

  • Program Requirements

    Before you can declare nutrition as your major, certain classes may be required or recommended. The general goal is to build a foundation around nutrition and ways to express your understanding of it.

    For example, you may need to take biology, chemistry, and English composition. But each program is different. You can usually find the admission requirements for a nutrition program on your school's website.

Best Online Nutrition Degrees & Programs

#1 Online Nutritionist Degree Programs – Bachelor’s Guide

Kansas State University

  • Manhattan, KS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Kansas State University, a public, four-year institution, offers competitive bachelor's degree programs. Located in Manhattan, the college supports distance learning across 13 remote bachelor's programs. Distance learners interested in the nutrition field can enroll in the school's bachelor's program in nutrition and health.

Nutrition students can maximize flexibility through modified coursework and the option to pursue part-time study. Learners can work with their academic advisor to adjust the curriculum to meet their academic and career goals. Enrollees can benefit from elective classes, minors, and other modifications.

Undergraduates pay a tuition rate of $25,251 at the school. The institution's accreditation status enables enrollees to benefit from financial aid. Students at the college are awarded an average of $6,227 in financial aid.

Kansas State University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 5,850

Total Online Programs: 73

Online Bachelor's Programs: 13

Admission Rate: 95%

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,735
Out-of-state
$25,251
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
95%
Students Enrolled
21,719
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Online Nutritionist Degree Programs – Bachelor’s Guide

The University of Alabama

  • Tuscaloosa, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Alabama supports 5,041 distance learners across 43 fully online programs. Of these programs, 11 are available to undergraduate students. Learners seeking advanced online study in nutrition can enroll in the school's online bachelor of science in food and nutrition program. Working professionals and busy students will benefit from the program's flexible study options and class customization.

Throughout the program, students attend industry-relevant lectures while completing nutrition-specific coursework. This curriculum consists of general education and advanced classes. With help from their academic advisor, students can customize their studies through electives, minors, and concentration areas.

A bachelor's degree often greatly increases one's earning potential. The college boasts a median salary of $42,400 for graduates six years after completing their studies. The average undergraduate student pays $20,623 in tuition and fees every year, after aid. To learn more about admission requirements and financial aid opportunities, prospective students should contact the department.

The University of Alabama at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 5,041

Total Online Programs: 43

Online Bachelor's Programs: 11

Admission Rate: 83%

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,780
Out-of-state
$30,250
Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
38,100
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
13% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Online Nutritionist Degree Programs – Bachelor’s Guide

Arizona State University

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Arizona State University, a public, four-year school in Phoenix, boasts a robust online learning community. Students looking for an individualized education relevant to the nutritional sciences field can enroll in the online bachelor of science in food and nutrition entrepreneurship program. Students in the nutritional sciences program can complete classes at their own pace, with the option for part-time study.

Throughout the program, students complete 120 credits of coursework. Classes equip students with nutrition-specific and broad knowledge and skills. With assistance from their academic advisor, degree-seekers can customize their studies through electives, minors, and concentration areas.

Graduates easily grow their earning potential with a bachelor's degree. The institution reports a median salary of $42,200 earned by graduates six years after completing their studies. Nutritional sciences students can expect to pay $13,764 in tuition and fees per year. Prospective enrollees can learn more about the opportunities available at Arizona State University, including admission requirements and financial aid eligibility, by connecting with the nutritional sciences department.

Arizona State University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 6,565

Total Online Programs: 1

Admission Rate: 82%

Transfer Credits Accepted: Accepted

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,710
Out-of-state
$28,800
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
11,420
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Online Nutritionist Degree Programs – Bachelor’s Guide

University of Arizona

  • Tucson, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Arizona, a public, four-year institution, offers competitive bachelor's programs. The college boasts 24 fully online bachelor's programs. Distance learners interested in the nutritional sciences field can enroll in the school's bachelor of science in nutritional sciences program.

The nutritional sciences program balances rigor with flexibility, proving beneficial to working professionals, busy students, and other learners. After consultations with their academic advisor, students can modify their course load to suit their needs. Students can benefit from electives, minors, and other modifications to the curriculum.

Undergraduates pay about $33,273 in tuition at the school. Learners can access numerous funding opportunities through the accredited institution. The college awards an average financial aid award package of $11,157 per degree-seeker.

University of Arizona at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 18,590

Total Online Programs: 95

Online Bachelor's Programs: 24

Admission Rate: 85%

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,990
Out-of-state
$33,273
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
44,577
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
42% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Online Nutritionist Degree Programs – Bachelor’s Guide

Eastern Michigan University

  • Ypsilanti, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Eastern Michigan University supports 8,958 distance learners across 13 fully online programs. Online undergraduate students can benefit from pursuing one of three online bachelor's programs. For students looking to advance in the nutrition field, the school's dietetics combined program is a wise choice. Students in the dietetics program can complete classes at their own pace, with the option for part-time study.

During the program, students complete foundational and advanced coursework relevant to the nutrition field. The program curriculum prepares students for the demands of careers. Enrollees can customize their degree by choosing electives, minors, and concentrations.

With a bachelor's degree, graduates can increase their job opportunities and earning potential. The institution reports that graduates six years out from their degree earn a median salary of $35,300. Nutrition students can expect to pay $16,078 in tuition and fees per year. Students can meet with leaders in the department to discuss application materials, admission requirements, and other relevant information.

Eastern Michigan University at a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 8,958

Total Online Programs: 13

Online Bachelor's Programs: 3

Admission Rate: 74%

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,658
Out-of-state
$13,658
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
17,784
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Nutrition Licensure & Certifications

Most online nutrition programs meet licensure or certification requirements for the states requiring it. Once you graduate, you can work on preparing for the examination to get your license or certification.

Licensing requirements vary by state. In some states, only licensed dieticians can provide nutrition advice, regardless of the work setting. States such as Michigan and Arizona do not regulate the profession through certification or licensure.

Nutritionist Salary and Specialities Information

Career options are wide-ranging if you have a bachelor's or a more advanced degree in nutrition. These are some of the jobs and salaries you can expect to find:

  • Registered Dietitian (RD)

    Registered dieticians help people make healthy food and diet choices. An RD usually needs at least a bachelor's degree, a supervised internship, certification, and a license. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, their median pay was $61,650 as of May 2021.

  • Management Nutritionist

    Management nutritionists handle meal plans for individuals, businesses, or food services. They typically need at least a bachelor's degree, internship training, and a certification, and license. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2021 Compensation Survey, the median salary for registered nutritionists and dietitians with management responsibilities is $64,770.

  • Sports Nutritionist

    Sports nutritionists create and oversee meal plans to help athletes optimize their performance. To become one, you need at least a bachelor's degree, supervised training, a certification, and license. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, their median salary is $74,900.

  • Public Health or Community Nutritionist

    Public health or community nutritionists design nutrition programs and policies and educate the public on food, health, and nutrition. They usually need a bachelor's degree, internship training, certification, and licensure. These professionals make a median salary of $70,500, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

  • Clinical Nutritionist

    Clinical nutritionists provide and consult clients with medical nutrition therapy. A clinical nutritionist needs at least a master's degree, supervised training, certification, and a license. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, their median pay is $63,000.

QA Section with Katherine Tom (Licensed Dietitian, Nutritionist)

  • Why did you decide to pursue a degree in nutritional science?

    The ability to toggle between clinical, research and private practice environments appealed to me. I knew a degree in nutritional science would afford me the flexibility to make these career moves.

  • In your opinion, what is the value of earning a degree in nutritional science?

    Everybody eats, and therefore, everybody must answer the question, "What should I be eating?" This question is asked on an individual level, community nutrition level, and even on a broader food sustainability level. The value of earning a bachelor's degree in nutritional science is that it prepares you to answer that question for one person or for a very specialized group of people.

  • What kind of courses did you take in your nutritional science program? Are there fieldwork or internship requirements?

    A good amount of the core curriculum that I took consisted of biology and chemistry followed by psychology and anatomy. An internship is required to sit for the RDN certification exam, which consists of fieldwork in community and clinical dietetics work areas.

  • What is some advice you would give aspiring nutritional science students?

    Be open to gaining experience in fields that interest you right now. For example, if you want to become a sports nutritionist, volunteer now to work with sports teams and gain knowledge in that area. It's never too early to start connecting with professionals in the nutrition science field!

  • Generally speaking, is a nutritional science degree worth it?

    If a person enjoys working in environments where new research and understanding about the human body is ever evolving, they will find a nutritional science degree worth it.


Katherine Tom MS, RD, LD, CDCES

Katherine Tom is a private practice registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist for her nutrition consulting business, North Texas Nutrition Associates. She is currently based outside of Dallas, Texas. Katherine has over 15 years of experience in outpatient and tele-nutrition counseling, clinical research, diabetes self-management education, and leadership. She is passionate about helping adults and children gain access to evidence-based nutrition information so they can be empowered to make informed health decisions for themselves.


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