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Online Nutrition Degree

When researching nutrition programs, you will find that some schools offer a specific degree track in dietetics that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Dietetics is the study of using foods to improve health and to treat disease. ACEND provides accreditation to nutrition programs that prepare students to obtain the credential of Registered Dietitian (RD) or Dietitian Technician, Registered (DTR). Other nutrition programs, even within the same school, may prepare you for graduate-level nutrition research or food service administration careers, for which ACEND accreditation is not necessary. Read More

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At the undergraduate level, online nutrition programs are not ideal. Although a significant amount of nutrition coursework is theoretical and can be learned in online nutrition schools, traditional brick-and-mortar schools provide students with lab components in areas such as physiology, organic chemistry, and biology. Online students will miss out on these core components of nutrition programs, so you should opt for a campus-based program if possible. Also, online nutrition degrees don’t offer students unique track programs that can be found in some brick-and-mortar schools.

Graduate students, however, may find that an online nutrition program is a viable option since they have usually completed all necessary lab requirements and are focusing on the more advanced theoretical components of nutrition, as well as nutrition research.

Check the Guide to Accreditation in Higher Education to learn more about accreditation and how to determine if the program you select meets the necessary standards.



Students who enroll in a nutrition degree program can expect to take a variety of science courses that will help them understand the process of human digestion, metabolism, and food absorption. Additionally, nutrition students can expect to take a number of theoretical and health administration classes. Some of the courses required for nutrition degrees include:

  • Health Science
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Food Safety
  • Microbiology
  • Nutritional Analysis and Assessment
  • Nutritional Planning and Management
  • Nutritional Biochemistry
  • Human Life Cycle Nutrition

Associate Degree in Nutrition

  • Credit hours/length of study: two years
  • Employment prospects: dietetic or food science technician; preparation for bachelor’s degree

Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition

Enroll in a bachelor’s nutrition degree program if you want to meet the entry-level requirements for most jobs within the field.

  • Credit hours/length of study: four years
  • Employment prospects: entry-level nutritionist, dietitian, or health educator

Master’s Degree in Nutrition

A master’s degree in nutrition will prepare you for most careers within the field of nutrition. Pursuing a graduate degree is ideal if you want to build upon your undergraduate education and seek higher-paying positions within the industry. T

  • Credit hours/length of study: two years
  • Employment prospects: private practice nutritionist or dietician, manager in a community health program

Doctoral Degree in Nutrition

If you want to pursue advanced careers within the industry, earning your doctorate in nutrition is a good idea.

  • Credit hours/length of study: four years
  • Employment prospects: food scientist, nutrition professor


Use this directory to find Nutrition programs

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While nutritionist and dietician are the most common professions for those with a nutrition degree, you can also pursue jobs as a health educator or food scientist. As a nutritionist, dietitian, or health educator, you can expect to regularly assess the diet and health of individuals. Nutrition is also an education-intensive career, requiring you to teach patients in approachable language what foods they can safely eat according to their medical conditions. For example, you can expect to teach diabetic patients not only about sugar control but also about other nutritional components that can negatively affect their health, such as starches and carbohydrates. You will also spend a great deal of time helping patients create meal plans, taking into consideration the cultural and economic factors of each patient.

As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), career opportunities for students pursuing a nutrition degree are on the rise. The profession is projected to see 20 percent growth in employment, which is significantly higher than the 14 percent seen with most other occupations. If you choose to pursue this career path, you can anticipate earning an average salary of $53,250 per year.