Students interested in entering the growing nutrition and wellness industry may wonder where to start. An online degree at the undergraduate level is a good place. These convenient entry-level degree programs provide foundational knowledge in food and nutrition and dietetics. They also provide a pathway to various careers. This includes public health and the food industry, for example, as well as further study in graduate programs. Jobs for credentialed professionals in the field are increasing right now, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Positions in the occupation are projected to increase by 11% over the coming decade. In this ranking, our editors identify the best online nutrition programs at both the associate’s and bachelor’s degree levels.
Rating and Ranking the Best Online Food And Nutrition Programs
We first identified the online nutrition degrees currently available. Then, our editors applied the appropriate methodology (i.e., the bachelor’s degree methodology or trade school methodology) to rank both the bachelor’s degree in nutrition online programs as well as the online nutrition associates degree offerings. We used tuition to break any ties. This meant awarding the higher ranking to the more affordable program. What follows represents our expert picks for the best online nutrition programs at the undergraduate level.
Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition Online Programs
#10—American College of Healthcare Sciences
Online Bachelor’s in Holistic Nutrition Degree
The online nutritional sciences option from the American College of Healthcare Sciences is a Bachelor in Holistic Nutrition program. It is approved by the NANP and emphasizes nutrition to support a healthy lifestyle. This 120-credit hour degree plan features major course titles such as:
- Advanced Nutrition Principles
- Nutrition Across the Lifespan
- Nutrition Coaching and Communication Skills
- Nutrition and Dietary Supplements
Elective classes are also available for the bachelor’s degree program. These can be strategically selected to align with an academic or career interest. Options include:
- Introduction to Aromatherapy
- Stress Management and Emotional Health
- Community Health Planning
- Basics of Herbalism
- Physical Education
- Alternative Medicine
- Food Safety
The American College of Healthcare Sciences is institutionally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.
Undergraduate Tuition: $11,928
#9—Purdue University Global
West Lafayette, Indiana
Online Bachelor’s in Nutrition Degree
Purdue Global’s online bachelor’s degree in nutritional science program is approved by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP). This online Bachelor of Science option emphasizes holistic nutrition. Its comprehensive 180-credit hour degree plan features major-specific courses such as:
- Nutrition Planning and Management
- Nutritional Analysis and Assessment
- Nutrition Across the Human Life Cycle
- Nutrition for Special Populations
An original capstone project in nutrition is also required for successful program completion. An accelerated master’s to bachelor’s degree option is also available for students interested in a graduate degree. The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited Purdue University to confer online nutrition degree programs. Eligible online students may qualify for financial aid.
Undergraduate Tuition: $10,125
#8—Arizona State University
Online Bachelor’s in Food and Nutrition Entrepreneurship
The unique nutritional sciences credential from Arizona State University is an online Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition Entrepreneurship. This bachelor’s degree program emphasizes innovation in the industry. It is offered through the school’s renowned College of Health Solutions and the Nutritional Sciences Department. Required courses for the nutritional science degree include:
- Introduction to Nutrition Science
- Economics of Resource Allocation: Food and Agriculture
- Applied Food Principles
- Food Service Purchasing
An experiential learning course is also required for online nutrition degree programs. Students can fulfill this requirement by choosing a public health class from options like:
- Experiential Community Health and Research
- Contact Tracing in Population Health
- Preprofessional Preparation in Nutrition
- Student Outbreak Response Team
Arizona State University is institutionally accredited to offer this nutritionist degree online through its College of Health Solutions.
Undergraduate Tuition: $11,338
#7—Eastern Michigan University
Online Bachelor’s in Nutrition and Dietetics Program
Eastern Michigan University offers a top online nutrition option. The program is available from its College of Health and Human Services and the School of Health Sciences. This coordinated program in nutrition science combines the bachelor’s and master’s in dietetics programs and results in a graduate degree. It also prepares graduates for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential. Major requirements for the bachelor’s degree program include:
- Nutrition Assessment and Counseling
- Nutrient Metabolism: Micronutrients
- Fundamentals in Nutrition Therapy
- Nutrition Communications
Students may be eligible to apply for specific dietetic internships. The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited Eastern Michigan University. The program itself is separately accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
Undergraduate Tuition: $15,700
#6—The University of Alabama
Online BS in Food and Nutrition Degree
The University of Alabama offers its online nutrition degree and other online programs from its College of Continuing Studies. This program is a bachelor’s in nutrition option requiring 120 credit hours of distance learning coursework. This includes classes specific to the major such as:
- Nutrition Education: Theories and Practice
- Nutrition at the Cellular Level
- Introduction to Research in Food and Nutrition
- Nutritional Biochemistry
The online bachelor’s in nutrition program encourages both part-time and full-time enrollment. This degree is one of a handful of programs accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The University of Alabama is also institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Undergraduate Tuition: $11,620
#5—University of Northern Colorado
Online Didactic Program in Dietetics
The online nutrition option from UNC is an accelerated Bachelor of Science in dietetics degree. These online programs can be completed in just 18 months of study. This 120-credit hour program of study features a prescribed curriculum for online students. Course titles include:
- Nutrition Education & Application Strategies
- Medical Nutrition Intervention
- Nutrition Applications in Foodservice
- Community Nutrition and Public Health
- Nutrition and the Human Body
An experiential learning component in clinical nutrition is also required before graduation. The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited UNC. The bachelor’s in nutrition degree plan itself is also programmatically accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Undergraduate Tuition: $10,666
#4—University of Arizona
Online Bachelor’s in Nutritional Sciences
The University of Arizona offers one of the best nutrition programs in the country. The program is available through the school’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. This bachelor’s in nutrition program features two available concentrations:
Depending on the area of emphasis they choose, students in these nutrition and dietetics degree programs will take online courses such as:
- Survey of Nutrition Careers
- Nutrition Communication & Scientific Literature
- Lifecycle Nutrition
A total of 120 credit hours of online coursework is required for online programs. This nutritionist degree program is possible, thanks to the school’s accreditation status with The Higher Learning Commission. The program’s dietetics specialty is also programmatically accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
Undergraduate Tuition: $12,736
#3—Kansas State University
Online Bachelor’s in Nutrition and Health
One of the top online nutrition offerings is from Kansas State University’s Global Campus. This bachelor’s in nutrition program is both comprehensive and customizable. Among the 120 credit hours of coursework required for online programs are major course titles such as:
- Nutrient Metabolism
- Life Span Nutrition
- Public Health Nutrition
- Nutrition and Exercise
An accelerated bachelor’s to master’s in nutrition program is also available. This option is ideal for students interested in completing both nutrition degree programs concurrently. The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited Kansas State University.
Undergraduate Tuition: $10,420
#2—University of Alaska-Anchorage
Online Bachelor of Science in Dietetics
The bachelor of science degree option in Dietetics from the University of Alaska- Anchorage is one of the best remote nutrition programs in the nation. This program is offered through the UAA College of Health both online and on campus. The curriculum emphasizes nutritional counseling. Sample major course titles include:
- The Profession of Dietetics
- Weight Management and Eating Disorders
- Research Methods in Nutrition and Dietetics
- Nutrition Communication and Counseling
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities has accredited the University of Alaska at the institutional level. The program itself is also separately accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Undergraduate Tuition: $8,622
#1—Weber State University
Online Bachelor’s in Nutrition Education
The distance learning nutrition option from Weber State is offered through the university’s Moyes College of Education. This is a standout Bachelor of Science (BS) in Nutrition Education program. Once enrolled, students have the choice of two concentration options:
- Integrative Nutrition
- Sports Nutrition
All bachelor’s in nutrition students will take core nutrition science education courses such as:
- Food Values, Diet Design and Health
- Multicultural Health & Nutrition
- Nutrition in the Life Cycle
- Current Issues in Nutrition
Students may take extra classes in clinical nutrition like:
- Advanced Human Nutrition
- Nutrition Assessment
- Nutrition and Sustainable Cooking
- Public Health Nutrition
Students who complete the online bachelor’s program may qualify to pursue a graduate degree in the nutrition field. Weber State holds institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Financial aid may be available to eligible students in nutrition degree programs.
Undergraduate Tuition: $6,228
Online Associates Degree Programs in Nutrition
#5—Huntington University of Health Sciences
Online Associate’s in Applied Nutrition/Integrative Nutrition Degree
Huntington University of Health Sciences offers two nutrition programs at the associate’s level:
- Online Associate of Science (AS) in Integrative Nutrition
- Online AS in Applied Nutrition
Both online programs require 61 credit hours of coursework. Depending on the major they choose, students will take distance learning classes such as:
- Nutritional Counseling Skills
- Vegetarian Nutrition
- Introduction to Herbal Sciences
- Integrative Nutrition for Women
Students in online programs will also have the opportunity to choose from elective offerings like:
- Sports Nutrition
- Current Weight Management Theory & Application
- Community Nutrition
- Nutritional Entrepreneurship
- Food Service Operations
It is important to note that only the AS in Applied Nutrition program is eligible for federal financial aid. Huntington University is fully accredited to award the online nutrition associates degree by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.
Undergraduate Tuition: $6,610
#4—Seminole State College of Florida
Online Associate of Arts in General Studies: Nutrition and Dietetics
Designed for students who desire to transfer to a university for further study in nutritional sciences, the online degree in nutrition from Seminole State College of Florida is an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies with a concentration in Nutrition and Dietetics. Courses associated with the nutrition pathway include:
- Organic Chemistry
- Principles of Nutrition
- General Biology
- Speech Communication
A total of 60 credit hours of coursework is required for the degree. Advisors for online programs are on hand to help students ensure that courses will transfer to the desired university upon graduation. Seminole State College of Florida is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to confer this nutrition credential online.
Undergraduate Tuition: $3,131
#3—Cosumnes River College
Online Associate in Science in Nutrition Degree
The online nutrition offering from Cosumnes River College features both a transfer and non-transfer track. Offered through the school’s Department of Nutrition and Foods, both online programs feature a degree plan that can be completed entirely online. Enrolled students will take courses such as:
- Nutritional Issues Throughout Life
- Plant-Based Food Principles and Preparation
- Food Service Management
- Community Nutrition
Cosumnes River College is part of the Los Rios Community College District. It holds the institutional accreditation necessary to award this online nutrition degree from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
Undergraduate Tuition: $1,288
#2—Northland Community & Technical College
Thief River Falls, Minnesota
Online Associate of Applied Science: Dietetic Technician
The nutrition degree from Northland Community & Technical College is a standout Associate of Applied Science (AAS) program for prospective dietetic technicians. The 67-credit hour degree plan is available entirely online and includes course titles such as:
- Life Cycle Nutrition
- Food Service Management
- Nutritional Care
- Community Nutrition
- Nutrition Research
For experiential learning, a supervised practice experience is also required for this nutritional science degree and distance education coursework. Upon graduation from the program, students can sit for the Dietetic Technician exam administered by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Commission on Dietetic Registration. Northland Community & Technical College is fully accredited to award this degree online by The Higher Learning Commission.
Undergraduate Tuition: $6,052
#1—Long Beach City College
Long Beach, California
Online Associate in Science in Nutrition and Dietetics
Long Beach City College is home to three different online nutrition degree programs:
- Online Associate in Science for Transfer: Nutrition and Dietetics
- Online Associate in Arts: Dietetic Service Supervisor
- Online Associate in Science: Nutrition Assistant
Depending on which nutritional science program they choose, online degree students will take distance learning courses such as:
- Food Selection and Meal Preparation
- Therapeutic Diets
- Nutrition and Life
These health education online programs and courses are offered through the college’s Department of Family and Consumer Studies. Long Beach City College is accredited to confer this nutritionist degree online by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
Undergraduate Tuition: $1,556
About Undergraduate Nutrition Degrees Online
Distance learning options for undergraduates, such as the online nutrition associates degree and the bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics, are becoming increasingly popular. Perhaps that’s because busy and working adults are looking for ways to earn a valuable credential in the industry while still maintaining other responsibilities such as full-time employment or parenthood, for example. Often, online college for nutritionists-in-the-making represents the only option for students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to study the discipline. The best online nutrition options are just as academically rigorous and reputable as on-campus offerings. Yet, they allow students to study at their own pace and location that best fits their hectic schedules.
Types of Nutrition Degree Online Programs
If you’re serious about enrolling in an undergraduate online program in nutrition, then you may be interested in what types of programs are available in this field. The good news is that there’s plenty to choose from when it comes to a registered dietitian or nutritionist degree online. In this section, our editors will identify some of the common types of online programs you’ll likely encounter in your search.
Hybrid Versus 100% Online Programs
An important distinction among nutrition degrees online is the issue of hybrid versus fully online options. Some colleges and universities will label all distance learning programs as “online” offerings. In reality, some of these programs have a minimal on-campus attendance component. These programs are actually better described as hybrid offerings since they combine online learning with traditional in-person instruction. As you search for programs that fit your scheduling needs, be sure to read the fine print and take note of any required visits to campus.
Asynchronous Versus Synchronous Online College for Nutritionist and Dietetics Online Program Options
Here’s a little known fact about online programs for registered dietitians and nutritionists: Even fully online options can differ from one another in terms of flexibility. Asynchronous programs are the more flexible options for busy students. This is because they don’t require specific online meeting times. On the other hand, if your schedule is forgiving enough, a synchronous online program may provide much-needed structure and interactivity. These types of online programs feature live instructional elements like lectures and class discussions where students and professors interact in real-time.
Part-Time Versus Full-Time/Accelerated Nutrition Options Online
Another important consideration is whether the online programs will allow you to study at a pace that fits your calendar. Some of these distance learning options enable students to set their own pace. They can choose between part-time, full-time, or accelerated. Other programs mandate a certain number of courses per term and discourage other enrollment forms.
Nutritionist Degree Online: Admissions
Students committed to enrolling in an online nutrition program should be aware of the admissions requirements for such programs. These criteria will vary from school to school and program to program, but generally, nutrition programs require students to submit official high school transcripts as well as the following:
- Academic Transcript
- Minimum GPA
- College Entrance Exam Scores (SAT or ACT)
- Personal Essay or Statement
- References or Letters of Recommendation
As you’re considering the application process, keep in mind that university requirements tend to be more stringent. Community colleges are more flexible with their admissions criteria.
After earning your bachelor’s degree in nutrition, you will likely qualify for admission to a master’s degree program in nutritional science.
Online Nutrition Credentials: Curriculum
After considering admissions guidelines for nutrition programs online, the next question you’ll likely have is: “What will I learn?”. This may seem like a reasonably basic inquiry. But it’s actually a significant consideration when searching for the best remote nutrition program for you. That’s because not all these programs are alike regarding curriculum. In fact, the courses you’ll take can vary considerably depending on the college or university you attend. For example, some programs follow a prescribed curriculum (meaning you’ll be told exactly which courses to take). Others allow more flexibility in terms of content customization. These latter types of online college for nutritionists programs may offer concentration or specialization options. Or, they may allow enrolled students to pick several elective classes. To give you a rough idea of the breadth and scope of the courses you may encounter in your online program, we’ve listed some sample core course titles and sample elective/concentration classes below.
Program Curriculum: Sample Core Nutrition Courses
- Introduction to Nutritional Sciences
- Intermediate Nutrition and Metabolism
- Nutritional Physiology
- Nutrition and the Life Cycle
- Nutritional Biology
- Communication in Nutrition
- Medical Nutrition Therapy
- Nutrition Research
- Principles of Food Science
Sample Elective/Concentration Classes for Nutrition Degrees
- Nutritional Implications for Special Populations
- Interprofessional Models of Nutrition Care
- Clinical Exercise Physiology
- Nutrition, Food, and Policy
- World Hunger and Malnutrition
- Principles of Human Disease and Biotechnology
The extent of your coursework will depend on the type of undergraduate degree you pursue. In particular, it will depend on whether you choose to seek an online nutrition associates degree or a bachelor’s degree. An associate’s degree in the field generally requires about 60 credit hours of coursework. A bachelor’s degree in nutrition will take twice that amount of study. Completion times may vary by program. Still, associates credentials take two years to earn. A bachelor’s credential typically requires a four-year commitment.
Towards the end of your program, you may also be required to complete a capstone project or other culminating elements such as a research paper or supervised practice experience. This program component enables you to show what you’ve learned over the course of the program. In some cases, you’ll apply your learning to real-world scenarios in food science and nutrition.
Frequently-Asked Questions About Online College for Nutritionists
Before you decide to get a nutrition credential via distance education, it’s essential to have any and all questions answered. This isn’t something you want to go into blind, after all. The more you know about online college for nutritionists before applying to a specific program or starting on coursework, the better. To help, our editors present some of the most frequently asked questions about these distance learning options. As always, for specific information about a particular school or program, it’s best to speak to an admissions counselor.
Q: Can I earn my nutrition credential entirely via distance education?
A: Yes. Both hybrid and fully online nutrition degrees are available. To confirm that your degree can be completed without any required visits to campus, speak to an admissions counselor or other school representative.
Q: How much does it cost to attend online college for nutritionists?
A: Your tuition costs will depend on the specific college or university you attend and your enrollment status. For nutrition degrees online, the cost of attendance can vary from a few thousand dollars per year to over $10,000 annually.
Q: How long does it take to earn an undergraduate degree in nutrition via online learning?
A: Completion times can vary. Generally speaking, you should expect to invest two years of study in an online nutrition associates degree. It will take four years to complete a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics online. Advanced degrees like master’s and doctoral programs require further study.
Q: What is the best distance education nutrition degree?
A: In this ranking, we’ve applied a general methodology to identify some of the best online nutrition programs. Still, it’s essential to remember that choosing an online college for registered dietitians and nutritionists is a highly personalized process. Each individual should consider priority features. These may include affordability, flexibility, and curriculum.
Career Questions About Nutrition Programs
Q: Are jobs in nutrition in demand?
A: Yes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for registered dietitians and nutritionists are currently growing faster than average. As the baby boomer population ages, there will be a heightened demand for nutritional care and services to combat disease and chronic medical conditions. Moreover, individuals of all ages are becoming more aware of the benefits the importance of healthy food options for general well-being. Thus, nutrition degrees prepare students for an in-demand career path.
Q: What jobs will I qualify for with a nutrition degree?
A: There are several positions that you may be eligible for upon graduation. These include:
certified clinical nutritionist, clinical nutrition manager, health coach, and diabetes educator. You may also be a good fit for jobs in food science or health education, as well as those in wellness centers and nutrition counseling. An online master’s degree in nutrition will open even more doors of opportunity like jobs for nutrition researchers, nutrition educators, and other advanced health professionals.
Q: How much will I make with a nutrition degree?
A: It depends. PayScale reports that individuals with an associates credential in nutrition can expect to make approximately $35,000 per year on average. Those with a bachelor’s credential will earn almost $60,000 annually. Master’s degree holders can expect to earn more. Still, your exact wages will vary based on many different factors. These may include your employer, job responsibilities, past experience in the field, and geographic location just to name a few.
Q: What professional organizations should I join?
A: Nutrition students and graduates can benefit from joining a professional organization in the field. Some popular examples include:
- American Society for Nutrition
- National Association of Nutrition Professionals
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- American Nutrition Association
- National Center for Education Statistics: College Navigator
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- PayScale: Job Salaries
- United States Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook
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