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Online Nutritions Schools | A Complete Guide to the Top Programs

Online Nutrition Schools teach about healthy foods

Food is an essential part of everyone’s life – and stomach. Daily, we are faced with advice from the media, telling us what to eat and drink and what to avoid. Sometimes, the information coming from various sources can be pretty confusing. But, whatever way you choose to look at it, food affects our health positively or negatively. Our food choices affect how we feel, either immediately or long-term. In light of this, people can gain expert knowledge on nutrition. One route to do this is via online nutrition schools.

The foundation of nutrition arises from concern about the food we eat, how it affects our bodies, and how to maximize nutrients to fight illness and live a healthy lifestyle. So, suppose you’re interested in science, passionate about health and food, and seek to help others live a healthy lifestyle. In that case, a nutrition degree from an online nutrition school might be best for you.

There’s no better time than now to earn a nutrition degree. If you’re searching for how to become a nutritionist, an online nutrition school is one of your best options. Many online schools offer the same coursework and carry as much weight as traditional schools. Additionally, you get to learn at your own pace, with enough time for family, work, and other commitments.

What Is Nutrition?

Nutrition is the study of the effects of food and drinks on the human body. The focus lies primarily on the vital nutrients needed for healthy living. Nutrition follows the biochemical and physiological processes in nourishment and how the human body converts food into tissues or energy sources.

The primary nutrients of food, also known as Energy Source Nutrients, are broken down into seven broad classes:

  • Fats
  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Water
  • Fiber
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

Nutrition studies aim to measure the ideal amount of nutrients the body needs and the best combinations. This field also looks at the possible diseases caused by malnutrition and the role of food in chronic diseases. People who study nutrition are called nutritionists or dietitians.

How To Choose An Online Nutrition School

Online schools offer much flexibility that you may not get in traditional schools. Before you decide on an online nutrition school to earn your degree, there are certain factors you need to consider.

First, since one of the reasons you’re opting for an online institution is the flexibility it affords, you have to ensure that the school you chose suits your schedule. Your best bet is a school that doesn’t restrict you from other commitments like work and family.

An excellent online school is one where you can access your learning materials at any time, as you choose. Additionally, before you enroll in any online school, it’ll be helpful to check that you are comfortable with the technology in use at the school. This is important as you’ll constantly use the interface to complete your coursework and interact with colleagues and lecturers. Here are some other factors to consider in your search for an online nutrition school.

Decide On The Degree Type

Online nutrition degrees come in different forms. Why you want the degree will ultimately help you decide which degree to pursue. Below are the various degree types and the time it takes to complete them.

Associate Degree in Nutrition

An associate’s degree in nutrition is the basic qualification you need to land an entry-level job in nutrition.

Generally, it takes about two years to earn an associate degree. Depending on your schedule and availability, it could take less or more time.

Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition

You can complete a bachelor’s degree in nutrition in four years. A bachelor’s is the next step above an associate’s degree; it gives students the knowledge and skillset for intermediate positions in nutrition-related jobs.

Master’s Degree in Nutrition

A master’s degree in nutrition gives you an edge over others in your job search. Professionals with a master’s degree hold the highest paying roles in nutrition. Even though it is not compulsory, an online master’s degree can set you apart. To earn a master’s degree, you need to start with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field.

Related Resource: What is a Master’s Degree?

Ph.D. in Nutrition

A Ph.D. is the top or terminal degree in the nutrition field. With this degree, you can work in almost any capacity in nutrition. Additionally, if you aim to work in a school, Ph.D. degrees allow graduates to teach nutrition in college.

Admission Requirements

Every school has different requirements; however, there are some standard requirements across all online nutrition programs. It is safer to be over-prepared than to find out you don’t meet the school’s prerequisites. You will want to check the school’s website to ensure you meet every condition. Below you will find a general checklist of the requirements for online nutrition schools.

  • Suppose you’re looking to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree. In that case, you need a high school diploma or a General Education Diploma (GED).
  • Master’s degree aspirants need a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or any related field.
  • Most schools require transcripts with your application.
  • You might have to submit a criminal background check.
  • Some schools might require letters of recommendation.
  • Some schools also require SAT scores.

What Can You Learn In An Online Nutrition School?

Online nutrition programs often train students in management courses to head nutrition clinics, food service operations, and private practices. Additionally, students can take science-oriented courses that teach about food and its effects on the body.

That’s not all; skill development courses are also vital for the curriculum. Students develop the necessary know-how to guide and assess patients as well as learn interpersonal skills. Some of the most common courses in an online nutrition school include:

Food Service Management

Foodservice management classes aim to prepare students for administrative roles. They do this through lessons designed to teach the necessary skills and knowledge to lead food service operations. Some of the key topics in this course include menu planning, marketing, instructional equipment, budgeting, food preparation, and organizational structure. A core pillar of this course focuses on the ethics of the profession.

Resource Production and Allocation

The basics of economics, especially concerning the food industry, form nutrition’s cornerstones. Students learn property rights, food safety, natural resources, and agricultural production. Faculty teach these principles through resource production and allocation courses.

Nutrition Science

As nutritionists, students learn about nutrients and how they affect the human body. Nutrition science is an introductory science course that explains this relationship to students. Topics include energy balance, healthy dietary patterns, allergies and intolerances, and food processing on a chemical level.

Microbiology

Microbiology introduces students to nutrition at the cellular level. Students learn about bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa, and viruses in this course. Students also study the impact of microbes on ecology and health.

Since this course requires lab work, online students may have to conduct virtual experiments. Alternatively, learners perform these experiments at home using kits provided by the school or using everyday household items.

Optimal Health and Performance

The optimal health and performance course trains learners to help patients achieve their health goals through lifestyle and dietary changes and physical activity. Students also learn about the attitudinal challenges they can expect and the best strategies to coach patients.

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and physiology classes deal with the human body, structure, description, and functions. Additionally, students learn about different diseases, digestion, organ systems, metabolism, and the evolving nutritional needs of humans. Depending on the online program, this course may include some lab-related work which can either be carried out at home or virtually.

Medical Assessment

Medical assessment courses resemble the optimal health and performance courses. It focuses on patient assessment from nutrition consultants. The course narrows down health indicators to include:

  • Body mass index
  • Blood pressure
  • Body composition analysis
  • Weight
  • Height

Students may also develop dietary plans and recommendations for patients as part of the course.

What Career Can You Get With An Online Nutrition Degree?

Graduates of nutrition degree programs can pursue an exciting career in various fields depending on certification, experience, and interests. Here, we highlight some common career specializations in the nutrition field, along with their annual average salaries with data from the Bureau of Labor Services (BLS).

Related Resource: How to Become a Nutritionist: RD vs. CNS Pathway

  • Food Scientist

Average Salary: $73,450
Projected Growth: 9%

A food scientist plays one of the most vital roles in the entire food supply chain. They analyze the nutritional qualities of different food items and ensure that processed and packaged edibles are healthy and safe for consumption.

Some food scientists work with the government to implement safety regulations. Others inspect food processing plants.

Food scientists can work in an office, a laboratory, or in the field.

  • Public Health or Community Dietician

Average Salary: $63,090
Projected Growth: 11%

Public health dieticians work with large or small groups to prevent disease and promote health through carefully planned nutritional practices. Some community dieticians work with specific groups such as adult males or teenagers.

  • Clinical Dietician

Average Salary: $63,090
Projected Growth: 11%

State, local and private hospitals are the largest employers of dieticians. Clinical dieticians typically work in nursing care facilities and hospitals. Their job includes the responsibilities to:

  • Prepare nutrition programs for patients
  • Assess and analyze a patient’s condition
  • Provide expert advice on the best dietary plans to follow

Clinical dieticians who work at nursing and residential care facilities earn an average of $60,330 annually. Those who work at hospitals can expect to earn $63,380 annually.

  • Consultant Dietitian

Average Salary: $63,090
Projected Growth: 11%

Large corporations, healthcare facilities, and private practitioners often hire consultant dietitians. Such dietitians carry out nutrition tests and offer counsel to clients on a wide range of topics, such as weight management, cholesterol levels, and fitness practices.

According to the BLS, consultant dietitians earned an average annual salary of $63,090. However, wages may differ, depending on the workload of the consultant dietitian.

  • Health and Wellness Coach

Average Salary: $63,090
Projected Growth: 17%

Generally, self-employed health and wellness coaches work with groups, families, and individuals. Their duties include offering tips and advice on exercise, nutrition, and emotional/mental health.

Additionally, they monitor and counsel their client’s sleep management, fitness levels, and stress management procedures.

A health and wellness coach’s salary largely depends on the number of clients that register for their services. However, they may make as much as other dietitians, with wages as high as $63,090.

  • Food Service Management Dietitian

Average Salary: $63,090
Projected Growth: 15% (Food Service Management)

The task of hiring and training food service workers falls to foodservice management dietitians. They work in facilities that include:

  • Hospitals
  • Prisons
  • Company cafeterias
  • Schools
  • Assisted living institutions

The role also demands that they prepare food budgets, implement sanitation and safety laws, and draft periodic reports. Food management dietitians earn similar salaries to most of their colleagues in the profession at $63,090.

The above covers some typical jobs for nutritionists and dietitians; however, the field is broad. If you choose to become a nutritionist, you might also find yourself in education. You can find nutritionists teaching aspiring nutritionists and the general public in most schools.

Online Nutrition Schools

With so many online schools available, picking one that suits your goals and schedule might be challenging. Not to worry, we’ve got you covered. Here, we highlight ten online nutrition schools along with the degrees they offer:

1. Winthrop University: Master of Science in Human Nutrition

The Master of Science in Human Nutrition degree offered by Winthrop University covers a two-year flexible and rich program. The program aims to enrich students with a well-rounded bachelor’s degree. Coursework includes topics in public health, chemistry, exercise science, biology, food service, and other related fields. With this degree, students can advance or launch their careers. Elective courses in the program abound, and students can pursue what suits them best.

All faculty at this online program hold their registered dietician certification with either a Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition (DCN) or a Ph.D.

Common courses include:

  • Medical Nutrition Therapy
  • Public Health
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Human Metabolism
  • Global Nutrition

All the courses in this program meet accreditation standards set by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Upon completing the program, students should be prepared to take on roles such as nutritionists, public health educators, and expert consultants.

View More about the MS in Human Nutrition from Winthrop University

2. Saybrook University: Master of Science in Integrative & Functional Nutrition

Saybrook University offers an online Master of Science in Integrative & Functional Nutrition. The program covers clinical assessment and nutritional and biological sciences while focusing on holistic care techniques. Students learn about the use of meditation, mindfulness, and mind-body skills to achieve healing, vitality, and optimal health for their clients.

The objective of this program is to discover the root cause of various health and mental health disorders. It also teaches multiple methods to remedy such issues. Students can complete the program in 21 months. Afterwards, they meet the conditions to become Certified Clinical Nutritionists (CCN) and Certified Nutrition Specialists (CNS). Upon completion, graduates will have the necessary skills to treat high blood pressure, obesity, depression, and other conditions.

View More about the MS in Integrative & Functional Nutrition from Saybrook University

3. Simmons College

Certificate In Sports Nutrition

The online Certificate in Sports Nutrition offered by Simmons College is designed for health and wellness professionals to widen their practice scope. The program mixes exercise knowledge and nutrition to give students the skills and knowledge needed for fitness and personal training.

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Master of Science in Nutrition & Health Promotion

Simmons College also offers an online Master of Science in Nutrition and Health Promotion degree. Students take advanced courses such as Nutritional Epidemiology, Nutrition Research Project, Preventive Nutrition, Nutrition Proposal Development, and Exercise Assessment and Prescription for this program.

Designed for students with a background in athletic training, biology, health sciences, or physical education, the program equips learners with an in-depth understanding of fitness, wellness, and nutrition.

View More about the MS in Nutrition & Health Promotion from Simmons College

4. The University of Alabama: BS in Food and Nutrition

Through the Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition offered by the University of Alabama, students prepare to work in a multitude of places, including:

  • Private consulting firms
  • Major medical centers
  • Community agencies
  • Public health settings
  • Education

A bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition launches you towards becoming a registered dietitian. This program establishes a deep understanding of how nutrition affects human health.

View More about the BS in Food & Nutrition from The University of Alabama

5. Huntington University of Health Sciences

Diploma in Sports Nutrition

One of the online nutrition programs offered by the Huntington University of Health Sciences is the Diploma in Sports Nutrition. Created for individuals seeking to acquire more skills and knowledge in the fitness and health sectors, the program includes topics such as physiology, anatomy, and the application of dietary supplements.

View More about the Diploma in Sports Nutrition from Huntington University of Health Sciences

Bachelor of Science in Nutrition

Huntington University of Health Sciences also offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nutrition degree. The university designed this degree for professionals working in the natural products industry, wellness occupations, and those who seek to work in clinical practices. Courses offered include Human Anatomy, Health and Disease, Alternative Medicine, and Nutrition Counseling.

View More about the BS in Nutrition from Huntington University of Health Sciences

 

Apart from the two programs listed above, the Huntington University of Health Science also offers a Master of Science in Nutrition, a Diploma in Comprehensive Nutrition, and an Associate of Science in Applied Nutrition.

View More about Huntington University of Health Sciences

6. Framingham State University: Master of Education in Nutrition Education

Those who seek to teach nutrition in schools find this online Master of Education in Nutrition meets their needs. The program blends the advanced study of nutrition education, education, and applied nutrition. Some of the coursework includes:

  • Public Health Nutrition
  • Computers in Nutrition Education
  • Contemporary Nutrition Issues in Schools
  • Independent Projects in Health and Wellness

Students can choose either of these two specializations – Nutrition Education Specialist or School Nutrition Specialist.

View More about the M.Ed. in Nutrition Education from Framingham State University

7. University of Florida: Master of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics

Professionals looking to branch into clinical or community-based health can take the Master of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics program offered by the University of Florida. The program introduces learners to advanced nutrition, after which they can specialize in any of these four areas:

  • Nutritional Science
  • Healthcare Informatics
  • Professional Studies in Dietetics
  • Global Health
View More about University of Florida

8. University of Arizona

Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences / Nutrition

The Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences / Nutrition program offered by the University of Arizona combines the study of nutrition assessments with safety, food chemistry, and therapeutic diets. Faculty tailor the program for professionals interested in work in wellness centers or nonprofits.

View More about the BS in Nutritional Sciences from University of Arizona

Graduate Certificate in Applied Nutrition

Students of this online Graduate Certificate in Applied Nutrition learn about research methods in nutritional sciences, nutrigenomics, body composition, statistical methods, and advanced medical nutrition therapy. The program helps those seeking to advance their nutrition careers. The good thing about this program is that you can complete it in less than a year.

The University of Arizona also offers a Professional Science Masters in Applied Nutrition.

View More about University of Arizona

9. University of Georgia: Master of Science in Foods & Nutrition / Community Nutrition

For those who want to broaden their professional knowledge in nutrition, the University of Georgia’s online Master of Science in Foods & Nutrition / Community Nutrition may be the program for you.

Some of the courses include:

  • Management of Foodservice Organizations
  • Nutrition and Obesity across the Lifespan
  • Nutrition Health and Aging
  • Childhood and Adolescent Nutrition
  • Nutrition Intervention
View More about the MS in Foods & Nutrition from University of Georgia

10. Samford University: Master of Science in Nutrition

The Master of Science in Nutrition program offered by Samford University prepares learners for roles in hospitals, wellness programs, government, public health, academia, and long-term care. Students come away with the knowledge required to lead in the nutrition field. They can choose to specialize in either general nutrition or clinical nutrition.

View More about the MS in Nutrition from Samford University

Salary /Job Outlook For Nutrition Degree Holders

As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that dietitians and nutritionists earned a $63,090 median annual wage. Nutritionists and dietitians working at nursing and residential care facilities earned slightly less, with an average of $60,330. Meanwhile, their colleagues in hospitals made a slightly higher wage of $63,380.

On the other hand, nutrition professionals working for the government earned more. They took home an average of $64,010 annually. Outpatient care center nutritionists topped the pay list with $69,660.

The top 10% in the profession earned as much as $90,000, while entry-level workers made less than $39,840, representing the lowest 10%. The BLS estimates that there’ll be at least 5,900 job openings yearly between 2020 and 2030 in the profession. Projections for job growth come in at 11%, which is faster than most professions in the US. In all, a more than healthy demand exists for dietitians and nutritionists, especially as the country’s population continues to grow older.

Apply to an Online Nutrition School Today!

Nutrition is an ever-evolving field with lots of opportunities. People who pursue this career path generally find it rewarding. Here, you have the chance to affect the lives of individuals and communities in immensely positive ways.

Do you wish to learn more about great courses with profitable career opportunities? You can visit our educational resource center to gain more insight and equip yourself for well-informed decisions.

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