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 programs instruct students in areas such as human anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, human development, food safety, microbiology, nutrition planning, and organic chemistry. In addition to these major-specific courses, bachelor's students will also be required to complete a series of core educational classes in areas like English, humanities, social science, mathematics, and natural science. After graduation, students almost always go on to earn their state licensure. These requirements may vary by state, but typically include a bachelor's, completion of supervised practice, and the passage of an exam. Jobs for bachelor's degree holders can be found in hospitals, clinics, schools, and private practices.
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 coursework, 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 the field are seeking an advanced degree. For this reason, many students will regard their bachelor’s as the necessary first step towards a master’s or Ph.D.
Inside a Nutrition Bachelor’s Degree Program
Students interested in earning their nutrition bachelor’s degree online have a number of options. Courses frequently cover 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 16% from 2014 to 2024.
The average annual salary for individuals working in this occupation, as reported by the BLS in May 2014, was $57,440. 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.