Best Online Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition

Resources, Curricula, & Online Program Options for Becoming a Nutritionist

Many people and organizations look to nutritionists and dietitians for expert advice on everything from personal and public health to safe and sustainable food production. This important work requires formal training. An online bachelor’s degree program in nutrition is a convenient way for students to gain the skills and knowledge they need to prepare for professional licensing and success in the field. This guide to online nutrition bachelor’s degree programs and the careers they bring can help prospective students determine if nutrition and dietetics is right for them.

Spotlight: Best Online Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition

Successful nutritionists and dietitians enter the field with a solid education. This list highlights the best online bachelor’s degrees in nutrition based on a number of factors, like tuition, number of subject areas addressed in each program, student-teacher ratio and post-graduation job placement services. These schools meet our rankings criteria and offer quality online nutrition programs that provide the knowledge, skills and support students need to become nutritionists.

The University of Alabama

Students majoring in food and nutrition at the University of Alabama receive a bachelor of science in human environmental sciences. Four areas of expertise in the major are didactic in dietetics with an internship, didactic in dietetics without an internship, nutrition sciences and a coordinated program in dietetics. Graduates who specialize in the coordinated program can sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitians. Nutritionist, dietician, food critic and lactation specialist are careers that align with the undergraduate degree. Leadership, service and social responsibility experience can be achieved through community outreach initiatives. Chance to use and strengthen research skills presents itself through on campus research facilities, research centers, research development and sponsored programs.

  • In-State Tuition$9,826
  • Student Population37,098
  • Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid55%
  • Number of Students per Instructor21
University of Northern Colorado

Absent taking an in-person campus tour, introduction to the University of Northern Colorado comes through a virtual online tour. Classroom and online nutrition classes lead to a bachelor of science in nutrition. The program is for adults who are interested in helping people get well and live healthy lives. Class sizes are generally between 25 and 35, with 60 percent of the classes having less than 30 students. Biology, chemistry, nutrition in the life cycle and human anatomy are courses enrollees take. In addition to completing internships, nutrition majors can deepen their physical therapy, leadership and understanding of human behaviors experience by joining university clubs and organizations like the Pre-Physical Therapy Club, the School Psychology Student Organization or the Management Society.

  • In-State Tuition$7,733
  • Student Population12,216
  • Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid64%
  • Number of Students per Instructor17

Online Nutrition Bachelor’s Degree: From Admission to Graduation

Online bachelor’s degrees in nutrition are ideal for students who want to learn about health, nutrition and food science, but need some flexibility. Programs are designed to prepare students to become certified nutritionists despite time constraints and other educational barriers. It is important for future professionals to research online nutrition degrees, from admission to graduation and beyond, to ensure potential programs align with their academic and professional goals.

Admission Process

Admissions candidates must take specific steps and meet certain requirements before being admitted to an online nutrition bachelor’s degree program. Criteria vary, but students should be aware of some of the most common tasks and plan for them early.

Find a school with an accredited nutrition program

Accreditation indicates that programs meet certain quality standards, but its importance does not end there: only students with bachelor’s degrees from programs accredited by the Accreditation Council of Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) are eligible to sit for licensing exams.

Complete prerequisite science courses

Many online bachelor’s degrees in nutrition expect admissions candidates to have prior coursework in chemistry, anatomy, physiology and biology. Students may be able to complete these courses online before applying to the nutrition program.

Send transcripts and test scores

Students applying to online nutrition programs must typically submit transcripts from previous institutions to verify that they meet certain GPA requirements. National test scores for the SAT or ACT might also be required. Note that online nutrition bachelor’s degree programs may expect applicants to have earned at least a B in some or all prerequisite courses.

Year 1 & 2 Milestones
Organic and biochemistry

Online nutrition students establish a strong understanding of chemistry — especially organic and biochemistry – before beginning core nutrition courses during a bachelor’s degree program.

Anatomy and physiology basics

Knowing the ins and outs of human anatomy and physiology is essential for nutrition and dietetic students. During the first two years of an online bachelor’s degree, nutrition students learn the basics of these topics.

Introduction to nutrition courses

Nutrition students gain a high-level understanding of nutrition and dietetics, which can help guide them to different specializations and electives while preparing them for upper-division courses.

Biometrics or biostatistics

These courses focus on statistics relating to living organisms. Nutrition students will learn basic statistical concepts and methods and apply them in health and nutrition situations, paving the way for future research projects and advanced courses in the major.

Year 3-4 Milestones
Food science

Food science courses allow students to learn chemical, physical and nutritional properties of food and how those properties relate to and affect food preparation and health.

Public health nutrition

In public health nutrition courses, students explore public health issues and gain an understanding of public and community health evaluation, policy and programs.

Clinical nutrition studies

Clinical nutrition courses focus on clinical practice, including patient care, effects of disease on nutrition and cell metabolism, psychological and biochemical basis of nutritional care and nutritional counseling.

Cellular nutrition

Students will learn how human cells use and assimilate nutrients through various actions, interactions and processes. These courses are generally required at the bachelor’s level, and can set the groundwork for more in-depth study in a master’s of doctorate program in nutrition.

Graduation Requirements

Many online nutrition and dietetics bachelor’s degree programs are designed to meet certification requirements set forth by the Commission on Dietetic Registration so that graduates are qualified to sit registration exams. Below are some typical graduation and certification requirements for nutritionists and dietitians.

On-campus nutrition labs

Some online nutrition programs to have on-campus lab components that allow online students to apply their knowledge in a hands-on setting. Students unable to complete on-campus components should discuss alternatives with program advisors before applying for admissions.

Practicum or internship in nutrition setting

An internship is required for those looking to sit for the national Registration Examination for Dietitians. While students may not be eligible for ACEND-approved internships until they the finish their studies, they must typically submit an application during their last semester in order to graduate.

ACEND verification statement

Graduates of ACEND-approved online nutrition degree programs are issued verification statements from to confirm they have met ACEND’s core knowledge criteria – a requirement for internship placement. Core performance verification statements are issued after the successful completion of an internship.

Sit for the nutritionist or dietitian registration exams

Once all of the above requirements are met, graduates of nutrition programs can sit for one of the Commission on Dietetic Registration’s national exams. Exams are available for those looking to become Registered Dietitians (RD); Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN); Nutrition and Dietetics Technicians, Registered (NTDR); or Dietetic Technicians, Registered (DTR).

Potential Career Paths for Bachelor’s in Nutrition Graduates

Bachelor’s degrees in nutrition and dietetics can prepare graduates for a range of careers in healthcare. Graduates may find themselves working in labs researching the nutritional, chemical and biological properties of foods, or they might become clinical nutritionists who advise patients on their health. Overall, nutrition-related fields are expected to see high growth rates thanks to an increased interest in health and wellness, and, according to career data site Payscale, nutritionists and dietitians report high job satisfaction. A bachelor’s degree is the first step to many nutrition careers, including the ones below.

Browse Bachelor’s in Nutrition Careers
Dietitians & Nutritionists

Dietitians and nutritionists use their knowledge of nutrition and food to offer health advice. Professionals who work with patients one-on-one often assess his or her health and create diet plans to help them establish a healthy diet. Nutritionists and dietitians may also work for large institutions, like schools, to help them create healthy meal plans.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

16%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$57,910

Food Scientists

Food scientists can specialize and a range of settings and skills relating to the sourcing, production and distribution of food. They may use biology and chemistry to study elements of food and soil and analyze their nutritional content; work with agriculturalists to create sustainable food production practices; or find new sources of food and nutrition.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

5%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$62,740

Community Health Workers

Community health workers promote public health by connecting individuals and groups with health educators and resources. They work in a variety of settings in which they collect data and develop strategies to address and improve community health concerns.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

15%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$36,300

Chefs

Chefs trained in nutrition can work to make healthy meals and menus in a variety of settings, like schools and organizations.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

9%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$41,500

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2015)

Key Learning Objectives & Skills Gained in an Online Bachelor’s in Nutrition

Bachelor’s in Nutrition

  • Strong understanding of organic sciences

    Consistent courses in biology, chemistry and physiology help bachelor’s degree program graduates master organic science skills that are essential in many nutrition and dietetic careers. Nutrition students will have also applied scientific concepts and principles in courses specific to nutrition professions.

  • Preparation for registration exam

    Graduates with bachelor’s degree from ACEND-approved programs will have gained the key skills and knowledge they need in order to sit for licensing exams. Many employers prefer professionals who have passed this exam.

  • Overview of different specializations in nutrition

    A bachelor’s degree in nutrition can take graduates down many different career paths. Throughout their studies, nutrition students will have been exposed to a sampling of concepts and practices used in different nutrition-based fields, like food production, public health policy and food science.

Additional Resources for Nutritionists & Dietitians

Students earning online bachelor’s degrees in nutrition can access many helpful resources that support their success, whether it’s learning more about certification or connecting with peers. The list below can help them get started.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest professional organization for nutritionists and dietitians. The site offers students useful resources they can use throughout their careers.

American Society for Nutrition

The ASN is a professional organization with memberships for both students and young professionals. Student interest groups encourages learners to participate in activities that support and enhance their nutrition educations.

Commission on Dietetic Registration.

The CDR supplies resources and information about its various certification exams for nutrition program graduate, from pass rates to training and study tools.

U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Library.

The nutrition education section of the USDA’s Agricultural Library hosts many resources that nutrition students may find useful, including research and career resources.