Best Online Nutrition Degrees

by Thomas Broderick
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Best Online Nutrition Degrees

Individuals wanting to help others make better food choices can explore nutrition online degrees. These four-year programs prepare enrollees for careers as nutritionists. Some graduates use their education to work as dieticians. Applicants typically need a high school or GED diploma. Some colleges may also require standardized test scores and recommendation letters.

Learners pursuing online nutrition degrees study topics like food safety, nutrition for special populations, and nutrition across the human lifecycle. Some classes require in-person labs. Most programs conclude with a capstone class. Degree-seekers can work with a professor to develop an original project synthesizing their knowledge and skills.

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Questions About Nutrition Degrees


What kind of jobs can you get with a nutrition degree?

Nutrition degree-holders may work as fitness and wellness coordinators, community health workers, or dietetic technicians. Dieticians may need additional training, depending on the state.

Are nutritionists in high demand?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for nutritionists to grow 11% from 2020-2030, which is faster than average.

Can nutritionists specialize?

Yes. One option includes specializing as a clinical nutritionist. These professionals evaluate clients' unique health needs and create nutritional plans. People with kidney disease or diabetes often turn to clinical nutritionists for advice.

Do I need a license or certificate to be a nutritionist?

Requirements vary by state. In some states, only licensed dieticians can provide nutrition advice, regardless of work setting. States that include Washington and Arizona do not regulate the profession through certification or licensure.

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Why Get a Degree in Nutrition?

Nutritionists help people live healthier, longer, and more active lives. Helping clients reach these goals can bring great personal satisfaction. The BLS reports that nutritionists make a median salary exceeding the national median by about 50%. However, please note that the BLS classifies nutritionists and dietitians in the same job category. This fact affects salary reporting.

Online nutrition programs offer flexibility. Many programs run asynchronously, letting enrollees schedule their education around work or family. An online format also lets students enroll in a top out-of-state program without relocating.

How Much Does a Nutrition Degree Cost?

Students pursuing an online nutrition degree at a public, in-state school pay an average of $25,490 annually in tuition, fees, and related expenses, according to EducationData.org. Learners attending private or out-of-state schools typically pay much more.

Learners can limit their student debt by enrolling in a college with merit- and need-based financial aid. Some schools award this aid automatically to incoming first-year and transfer students. Degree-seekers should also submit the FAFSA annually. The federal government uses FAFSA results to determine financial aid eligibility.

Additional Online Student Fees

Students researching affordable nutrition online degrees should ask whether colleges charge technology fees. Some schools use these fees to pay for online learning delivery, IT support, and other resources. Online enrollees should also budget for textbooks and required class materials.

Graduates living in a state requiring certification or licensure must pay one or more fees. As of April 2022, anyone in California may provide nutritional advice without a license. However, >registered dieticians must pass a state exam. This >exam costs $200 for first-time test-takers and $330 for >individuals retaking the exam.

How Much Do Nutrition Majors Make?

U.S. dietitians and nutritionists earn a median $61,650 annually, according to the BLS. Professionals working for government agencies, outpatient care centers, and hospitals earn the highest salaries. Workers in Hawaii, the District of Columbia, and California earn much more than their peers in other states. These professionals earn a median $75,020-$82,380 annually.

A master's in nutrition or a similar subject can help professionals advance their career. A master's makes earning a professional certification much easier. Other advantages include access to more job opportunities, such as industry consultant and postsecondary teacher. The latter career may require a doctorate.

Courses in Nutrition

Many nutrition online degrees train learners for careers as nutritionists or dieticians. Some programs offer this choice as a specialization. Nutrition programs feature general education and core classes. Typical core classes include applied nutrition, nutrition across the lifespan, and nutrition research. These and other graduation requirements prepare graduates to help clients with different needs.

See below for a sample curriculum for many online nutrition degrees. Please note that academic expectations vary among schools. Students should thoroughly research online nutrition programs before applying.

How to Become a Nutritionist

Nutrition online degrees feature in-depth coursework and hands-on training. Enrollees typically complete a practicum experience or internship. Most online nutrition programs meet licensure or certification requirements for the states requiring it. Degree-seekers can work with academic and career advisors to create a licensure or certification plan and prepare for the examination.

Nutritionists and dieticians share many overlapping responsibilities. They work with clients, develop meal plans, and create educational materials. These professionals may also lead group sessions and maintain paperwork. Nearly a third of nutritionists and dieticians work at a hospital. Seven percent of nutritionists and dieticians work for themselves.

Best Online Nutrition Degrees

  1. Kansas State University
    Location

    Manhattan, KS

    Tuition

    $18002

    Founded in 1863, K-State offers a customizable program designed to introduce students to the complex world of nutrition.

    K-State offers an online bachelor of science in nutrition and health. Students take courses in basic nutrition, the science of food, and nutritional assessment to complete their degrees. Motivated students can apply up to nine credits of their bachelor of science to a later master of science degree.

    To apply, students need a minimum GPA of 3.25, a minimum ACT score of 21, or a minimum SAT score of 1060. Students must submit all transcripts and a completed application to begin.

  2. The University of Alabama
    Location

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    Tuition

    $20465

    UA offers an online bachelor of science in food and nutrition, providing a path for an established career as a registered dietitian. Major courses include an introduction to human nutrition, food science, nutrition counseling, and a directed professional independent study.

    UA requires a minimum 2.0 GPA to qualify for admission, with standardized test requirements waived through fall 2021. UA accepts applications for online programs year-round, making it easy to get started.

  3. Arizona State University
    Location

    Tempe, AZ

    Tuition

    $14166

    A public university with innovative degree programming, ASU offers a unique nutrition degree, mentoring students interested in the intersection of food, science, and research.

    ASU offers students the chance to earn an online bachelor of science in food and nutrition entrepreneurship. Students learn to develop an online presence and build the expertise needed to build nutrition-based startups or initiatives. Courses include applied food principles, community nutrition, and nutrition entrepreneurship.

    ASU requires a minimum 3.0 GPA to start. Standardized tests depend on residency, with an ACT score of 22 required for in-state applicants, an ACT score of 24 for out-of-state applicants, an SAT score of 1120 for in-state applicants, and an SAT score of 1180 for out-of-state applicants.

  4. University of Arizona
    Location

    Tucson, AZ

    Tuition

    $15594

    Founded in 1885, UArizona online offers students a competitive education without stepping onto campus.

    The school offers an online bachelor of science in nutritional sciences. Students choose the dietetics or nutrition track and take courses in science and best practices for health. Dietetic-track students take courses such as lifecycle nutrition. Nutrition-track students choose options like sports nutrition.

    Applicants do not need to submit standardized tests but must possess a minimum 3.0 GPA to qualify for admission.

  5. Eastern Michigan University
    Location

    Ypsilanti, MI

    Tuition

    $15687

    EMU offers an online bachelor of science in dietetics and human nutrition. The program helps students build meaningful careers in nutrition or continue on to further research.

    Students finish 120 credits solely online, taking courses such as nutrition therapy, community nutrition, and food services systems management. The degree can also lead to an additional online master's degree for motivated students.

    Students must complete the application and send relevant academic transcripts to apply.

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