Nutritionists are experts in food and dietary requirements as they pertain to human health. They are trained to help people eat healthy or plan a diet for specific health goals. Online nutrition degree programs instruct students in areas such as human anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, human development, food safety, microbiology, nutrition planning, and organic chemistry, among other topics. In addition to these major-specific courses, bachelor’s degree students will also be required to complete a series of core educational classes in areas such as English, humanities, social science, mathematics, and natural science. After graduation, students must often gain state licensure. These requirements may vary by state, but typically include having a bachelor’s, completion of supervised practice, and the passage of an exam. Jobs may be available with hospitals, clinics, schools, or in private practice.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
To become a nutritionist and gain state licensure, the minimum educational requirement is a bachelor’s degree. This type of program includes major-specific course work, general education classes, and supervised clinical practice. While jobs may be available for licensed nutritionists with only an undergraduate degree, more and more professionals in this field are seeking an advanced degree. For this reason, a bachelor’s degree may serve as a stepping stone towards a master’s.
Getting Into a Bachelor’s Degree Program
Whether you are a recent high school graduate or an adult returning to higher education, it is important to research the school’s admissions requirements. Below are a few common criteria to keep in mind:
- High school transcript or GED test scores
- Previous college transcripts (if applicable)
- Minimum GPA (as determined by the school)
- SAT or ACT test scores (if required)
- Application form and fee
- Application essay (if required)
- Letters of recommendation (if required)
Inside a Nutrition Bachelor’s Degree Program
Students interested in earning their nutrition bachelors degree online have a number of options as the popularity of distance learning continues to grow. Courses frequently include organic chemistry, biochemistry, human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, nutrition planning, human development, and food safety. A full range of general education courses will also be required for undergraduate students. In most cases, students can expect four-years of full-time study. This, of course, will vary based on your level of enrollment, any breaks taken, or transfer credits applied to the program.
Online students have the flexibility they need to continue working full or part time, tend to family responsibilities, or accommodate travel restrictions. Most online colleges feature an asynchronous learning environment. This means there are no scheduled course times, rather, students are free to complete assignments, review materials, and communicate with their peers and professors on their own timetable as long as set deadlines are met. Internships may be a required component of a bachelor?s in nutrition, but online students can arrange these remotely.
What’s Next for Nutrition Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Graduates of a bachelor’s program in this area are typically required to seek licensure before working. Though requirements vary by state, students will likely need to complete supervised training and pass an exam in order to qualify. Jobs for nutritionists may be available with schools, hospitals, clinics, or in private practice. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook is strong for professionals in this area. In fact, the demand for dietitians and nutritionists is expected to increase by 20% from 2010 to 2020.
The average annual salary reported in 2012 for individuals working in this occupation was $56,170. Most jobs were found with general medical and surgical hospitals. Please keep in mind, however, these statistics may not always reflect actual availability and salaries in your area. These can be influenced by your level of experience, education, location, the economic climate, and the specific type of employer.