Step 1: Earn a Degree
Earn a Certificate, Bachelors or Masters in Nutrition Science or Dietitian
Step 2: Internship
Complete your optional (nutritionist) or mandatory internship (dietitian).
Step 3: Certification Exam
For Certified Nutritionists, the NANP, or Registered Dietitians, the CDR.
Step 4: Seek Employment
Salary range: $62,870 — $71,720 (BLS 2022).
Best Online Nutrition Science Degree Programs
Nutrition Science Degree programs are offered at the certificate, associates, bachelors and master’s degree levels. Offered in both campus and online nutrition science degree formats, getting a degree in nutrition science can lead to careers such as, clinical nutritionist, nutrition counselor, educator and dietitian.
- Below you’ll find accredited online nutrition science degree programs:
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Nutrition Science?
Nutrition science is the study of the nutrients and other substances found in food, how they interact with the body, and how they impact overall health and well-being.
It encompasses a wide range of topics, including the chemistry and metabolism of nutrients, the role of nutrients in preventing and managing disease, the impact of food on human behavior and cognition, and the cultural and societal factors that influence food choices.
Nutrition science also includes the study of nutrition education and policy, food safety and security, and the development of new technologies and products to improve nutrition and health. It is a multidisciplinary field that draws on knowledge from biology, chemistry, psychology, sociology, and other related fields to understand how food and nutrition impact human health and well-being.
How To Get Certified As a Nutritionist
The process for becoming a certified nutritionist may vary depending on the specific certification organization and the state in which you plan to practice, but here are some general steps to consider:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field from an accredited college or university.
- Complete any required coursework or practical experience needed to meet the eligibility requirements for the certification organization you plan to pursue.
- Obtain the required amount of supervised practice hours or clinical experience, as required by the certification organization.
- Pass the certification exam administered by the certification organization.
- Maintain your certification by meeting continuing education requirements, such as completing a certain number of hours of continuing education or renewing your certification every few years.
It’s important to note that different certification organizations may have different eligibility requirements, exam formats, and continuing education requirements, so it’s important to research and choose an organization that aligns with your career goals and interests. Additionally, some states may have specific licensing or certification requirements for nutritionists, so be sure to check your state’s regulations before pursuing certification.
School Selection Criteria
When selecting a school to study nutrition science at, here are some factors to consider:
- Accreditation: Look for programs that are accredited by a reputable accrediting organization, such as the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) or the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). Accreditation ensures that the program meets certain standards of quality and rigor, and may be essential if you plan on becoming licensed or continuing your education beyond your current degree.
- Curriculum: Review the curriculum to ensure that it covers the areas of nutrition science that interest you and align with your career goals. Look for programs that offer a strong foundation in basic sciences, such as biology and chemistry, as well as courses in nutrition and related fields, such as public health or food science.
- Faculty: Research the qualifications and experience of the faculty to ensure that they are experts in the field and are actively engaged in research and scholarship.
- Facilities and Resources: For traditional brick and mortar programs, look for programs that offer state-of-the-art facilities, such as research labs or clinical facilities, as well as access to resources such as libraries, databases, and professional organizations. For online nutrition science degree programs, look for schools with a track record of success in online education, and which supplement course materials with other online learning resources.
- Career Preparation: Consider programs that offer opportunities for hands-on experience, such as internships or clinical rotations, as well as career services, such as job placement assistance or networking opportunities.
- Cost and Location: Tuition and total costs for obtaining a nutrition science degree vary wildly depending on the school you select. Carefully evaluate the cost of the program, taking into account factors such as tuition, fees, living expenses, and the availability of scholarships or financial aid. Should you choose an on-campus experience, consider factors such as the location of the program, the campus culture, and the surrounding community.
Online vs. Campus
Online nutrition certification and degree programs have grown tremendously in popularity over the last decade. But is getting a nutrition degree online right for you?
Attending a nutrition science program online has advantages and disadvantages, and how these stack up depends on your learning style and goals. Here are some potential pros and cons of attending a nutrition science program online:
- Flexibility: Online programs offer flexibility in terms of scheduling and location, allowing students to balance their studies with work or other commitments.
- Convenience: Online programs eliminate the need for commuting and provide access to coursework and materials 24/7, making it easier for students to fit studying into their busy schedules.
- Cost savings: Online programs can be more affordable than traditional on-campus programs, with lower tuition fees, no commuting costs, and the ability to continue working while studying.
- Personalization: Online programs often offer a wide range of courses and electives, allowing students to personalize their degree to their interests and career goals.
- Networking opportunities: Online programs often have a diverse student body from different locations and backgrounds, providing opportunities to build a professional network and connect with peers and mentors.
- Limited face-to-face interaction: Online programs may have limited opportunities for in-person interaction with instructors and classmates, which can hinder communication and collaboration.
- Technology requirements: Online programs require access to reliable internet and computer equipment, which can be a barrier for some students.
- Self-discipline and motivation: Online programs require self-discipline and motivation to stay on track with coursework, which can be challenging for some students.
- Limited hands-on experience: Online programs may have limited opportunities for hands-on experience, such as laboratory or clinical rotations, which can be important for building practical skills and experience.
There are several nutrition science degree and certificate options, each with different time requirements, prerequisites, and career opportunities. Here are the primary degrees available in nutrition science:
- Associate Degree in Applied Science in Nutrition and Dietetics: This degree typically takes two years to complete and prepares students for entry-level careers in the field of nutrition, such as nutrition assistants or health coaches.
- Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Science: This degree typically takes four years to complete and provides students with a comprehensive understanding of nutrition, including courses in anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. Graduates can pursue careers as nutritionists, dietitians, or health educators.
- Master of Science in Nutrition Science: This degree typically takes two years to complete and provides students with advanced knowledge and skills in nutrition research, public health, and clinical nutrition. Graduates can pursue careers in research, academia, or clinical practice.
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nutrition Science: This degree typically takes four to five years to complete and focuses on research in nutrition science. Graduates can pursue careers in academia or research.