How Can An Online Nutrition Degree Benefit You?


You’ve probably heard this before, “You are what you eat.” Nutrition science takes an interdisciplinary approach to food to understand how diet affects human health. People who want to become nutritionists or dieticians have an option to earn their online nutrition degree.


We’ll take a look at what nutrition science entails, the types of degrees you can earn and share some online options for nutrition degrees.



Healthy bowl of salad for proper nutrition
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash



What Is Nutrition Science?

Nutrition science is a developing field that focuses on diets and health issues around food, illness, and medicine. The degree incorporates chemistry, biology, and social sciences to understand how nutrition affects the body.


It also includes research behind behaviors and people’s relationship with food along that can be impacted by societal factors. Within the evolving field, there are many areas for specialization, including: exercise science, community nutrition, wellness, and nutrition education.



Types Of Nutrition Degrees And Classes You Can Expect

Each field of nutrition science has its own set of requirements to work. As with most fields, the more education you have, the more job opportunities become possible. Here’s a look at the types of degrees you can earn in nutrition science:



1. Associate’s Degree


An AS in Nutrition is typically a 2-year degree that opens the door to entry-level positions for graduates.


Classes May Include:

  • Vitamins and Minerals, Human Nutrition, Introduction to Herbal Science, Food and Culture, and Food Service Management


2. Bachelor’s Degree


This 4-year program prepares graduates to become registered dietitians. Graduates can work as: health educators, nutritionists, or coaches. With a bachelor’s degree, graduates can work in health care facilities, schools, wellness facilities, or fitness settings.


Classes May Include:

  • Diet Genes and Disease, Public Health Nutrition, Nutrition Communication, and Clinical Nutrition


3. Master’s Degree


Students who have earned their bachelor’s degree or are practicing as registered dietitians (RD/RDN) can obtain a master’s degree in as little as 2 years. This degree requires research and a thesis to complete.


Classes May Include:

  • Global Food and Nutrition Policy, Nutrition Practice Strategies, Psychology of Eating and Wellness, and Plant-Based Nutrition


Nutrition Licenses and Certifications

Even with a bachelor’s degree and internship experience, your state may require that you earn a state license to practice as a dietitian. Here’s a look at some of the certifications you could need:

  • RDN: RDN stands for a registered dietitian nutritionist. It is a nationally recognized credential that most states require. To become a RDN, you need to first earn a bachelor’s degree, show internship experience, and then pass the exam (which costs $200 to take).
  • CNS: A certified nutrition specialist is a credential that is granted by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists. A CNS must have a master’s or doctoral degree, pass the $300 exam, and have completed 1,000 hours of experience in the field.
  • CDR Speciality: For anyone interested in specializing in a field like obesity management or sports nutrition, then you must complete a CDR Speciality Certification from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Candidates will need to first complete and document their professional experience in their field of choice. The exam cost ranges between $350 and $400.


Nutritionist consulting with client
Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash



5 Jobs You Can Attain With A Degree

The field of nutrition science is broad and can also be narrow, for those who wish to specialize. After earning your online nutrition degree or a degree from a traditional on-campus university, you can apply for the following jobs (to name a few).



1. Nutritionist


A certified nutritionist can work directly with their own clients or within a healthcare office. They provide guidance to clients on the best diet choices for their respective needs, which could range from weight loss to maintaining a specific diet to help with a disease or illness. The project growth rate for this field is 11% with a median annual salary of $60,370.



2. Food Scientist


Food scientists ensure that the production of food meets safety standards. They can also work to help improve sustainability. Food scientists work in research groups, for manufactures and government agencies. The projected growth rate is 7% with a median annual salary of $64,020.



3. Health Educator


Health educators teach people how to take care of their bodies by developing training, monitoring program budgets, or leading workshops within a community. They can work for communities or within places like schools or even the government to affect policy. The project growth rate for the field is 11% with a median annual salary of $55,420.



4. Nutrition Journalist


If you like writing and nutrition, then becoming a nutrition journalist may be the perfect fit. Nutrition journalists publish pieces about nutrition in magazines, newspapers, or blogs. The field is expected to grow by 4% and boasts a median annual salary of $57,530.



5. Dietitian


Registered dietitians work with people who are affected by illnesses to create meal plans and help manage their patients’ diets. They must have a bachelor’s degree and license to practice. The growth rate is an expected 11% with a median annual salary of $60,370.



Accredited Online Nutrition Degrees To Get In 2020

Earning your degree online can be a cost effective alternative to attending a traditional institution for education. There are many accredited online nutrition degree programs in existence. Here’s a look at some options, along with their associated cost of attendance.

  • University of Arizona: UArizona offers its online program that hails from its campus in Tucson. Students can earn their bachelor’s degree with concentration in dietetics or nutrition. The tuition fee is $15,594.
  • Kansas State University: Kansas State online students have the option to earn a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and health. Students learn how to conduct research and most go on to pursue their graduate degree. The cost of tuition is $18,002.
  • Eastern Michigan University: Eastern Michigan University offers an online bachelor’s degree in dietetics and is designed for those seeking to earn their registered dietitian credential. The entire degree is online and graduates tend to go on to work in hospitals, for insurance companies, or within the healthcare sector. The tuition cost is $15,687.
  • University of the People: The University of the People offers an online and tuition-free degree in Health Science. Students can earn an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in the field. While we are tuition-free, there are small exam fees which amount to an estimated $2,060 for an associate’s degree and $3,960 for a bachelor’s degree in total.
  • Arizona State University: Arizona State University is one of America’s largest online colleges. Students can earn a bachelor’s of science in nutrition to go on and work in service management, wellness careers, or food production. The cost of tuition is roughly $4,166.
  • American University: American University boasts 55 online programs with one being a master’s of science in Nutrition Education. The price tag for annual tuition is $46,615.
  • Liberty University: With 600 programs overall, students can choose from 4 in Nutrition Science, including: Master in Public Health: Nutrition, Master’s of Science in Exercise Science and Wellness, CTG: Nutrition, and Masters of Science in Human Performance: Nutrition. The cost of tuition is just over $11,000.
  • Purdue University Global: For about $27,439 in tuition fees, students can earn their bachelor of science in Nutrition from this online option.
  • The George Washington University: With a tuition fee of just over $53,000, students who attend the George Washington University can obtain a MSHS in Integrative Medicine – Nutrition.
  • Penn Foster Healthcare: If you wish to earn a certificate in Fitness and Nutrition, you can do so at Penn Foster Healthcare online. They also offer a certificate in sports Nutrition and Health Information Management.


Benefits Of An Online Nutrition Program

No matter where you choose to earn your online nutrition degree, you can benefit from the flexibility and affordability of the program. Online schools allow you to learn at your own pace at a fraction of the cost of their on-campus counterparts.


At the University of the People, the Health Science degree (along with our other 3 programs) are designed with purpose to prepare students to enter their fields upon graduation. The university also offers potential certificate programs in health science that can prove to be beneficial in boosting one’s career in the field.  Since students work online and can collaborate with their peers from all over the world, they gain a unique perspective and experience when earning their higher education degree.



The Bottom Line

A degree in nutrition science opens up many possibilities in terms of career choices and places to work. Within the public, private, and freelance sectors, those with a nutrition degree can thrive in their respective profession.


Earning an online nutrition degree not only benefits you with a solid career path, but it also offers a flexible learning environment that tends to be more affordable.




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