Online Degree in Nutrition: The Ultimate Guide

For those who aspire to make a positive impact as nutritionists, an online degree in nutrition is one of your best options. Nutritionists work with people and communities to understand the relationship between diet, habits, lifestyle, and physiological functions such as growth and metabolism.

For that reason, both private-practice nutritionists and those who work for hospitals or other healthcare organizations are in demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of registered dietitians and nutritionists will grow by 19 percent from 2016–2021.

With that kind of job outlook, pursuing an online degree in nutrition is a smart move for anyone interested in this field. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from an online degree in nutrition and what it could mean for your future as a specialist:

What to Expect from an Online Degree in Nutrition

The best online nutrition programs are designed with busy professionals in mind. They may not be right for everyone, but if you are looking for an online nutrition degree that’s flexible enough to fit into your life as it is right now, you’ll likely be able to find a great option.

Typically, online programs are divided into two phases. The first phase is composed of core nutrition courses that are designed to give you a strong foundation in the subject. The second phase will allow you to focus on a specialty, such as public health or community nutrition.

Many programs that offer an online nutrition degree also offer a hybrid option, meaning you can take some courses online and others in person. As you research online nutrition programs, make sure to ask about graduation requirements and any prerequisites you’ll need to complete before you can start core classes. This information will be helpful as you start mapping out your path to earning your degree.

How to Find the Right Program for You

Online nutrition programs aren’t right for everyone, but they are an increasingly popular option. If you’re interested in an online dietitian program, you’ll want to make sure your expectations are realistic. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you search for the right online dietitian program.

First, like with any online program, you’ll need to carve out time for self-discipline and self-management. You won’t have a teacher standing over you telling you to study more or less. Instead, you’ll be responsible for managing your time and your motivation to succeed.

This can be a huge advantage, but it also has potential drawbacks. Second, you’ll want to make sure your chosen program is accredited. This is especially important if you plan to use your degree to earn licensure in your state. If you don’t know which programs are accredited, you can ask your state licensing board for a suggestion.

Frequently Asked Questions

How old do I have to be to become a nutritionist? Nutritionists need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and most employers prefer a master’s degree. Some employers are now also accepting a doctorate in nutrition or nutrition science as the minimum educational requirement.

What is the salary of a nutritionist? The average annual salary of a nutritionist is $50,000. The salary can go up to $100,000, depending on experience and the type of employer. How many classes do I have to take to become a nutritionist?

All states require nutritionists to earn at least a B.S. degree. Some states also require candidates to pass an exam or complete an internship. Are there online degree programs in nutrition? Yes, there are several online degree programs in nutrition.

3 Top Online Programs for Nutritionists

Columbia University: Columbia University’s online Master of Science degree in Applied Nutrition features an innovative curriculum that offers students a choice between two different specializations. One specialization focuses on the management and administration of nutrition services in health care organizations. The other specialization focuses on public health nutrition.

Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech is another major university that offers an online Master of Science in Human Nutrition degree. The online curriculum is designed to allow students to complete their degrees while working full-time in their field.

Vermont Technical College: Vermont Technical College offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nutrition through its online program. VT has a strong focus on public health and community nutrition, and its program is designed to prepare graduates for work in the field. VT’s program also accepts transfer students with an associate degree in nutrition.


Online degree programs have become increasingly popular in recent years. Nutritionists don’t have to attend a brick-and-mortar school to earn a degree in the field — they can also earn an online nutrition degree. With an online degree in nutrition, graduates can pursue a variety of careers in public health, healthcare, and food service management.

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