If you're bothered by people's poor eating habits and want to help them learn about healthy foods and how to eat right, in addition to doing your part in the fight against obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, you may want to consider a career as a nutritionist. There are several institutions offering online nutrition degree programs. A nutritionist degree online class can be taken from the comfort of your home and completed at your own pace. Online nutrition programs will teach you how to assess clients and develop diet plans for them and give you a solid foundation of knowledge in nutrition, dietetics, fitness, biochemistry, and physiology. To ensure that you receive a quality education, you may want to look for institutions and programs that are accredited by organizations such as the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Classes and Assignments for Online Bachelors Nutrition Degrees
Nutrition degree programs generally begin with introductory courses, such as principles of nutritional science, trends in nutrition, and nutritional assessment. These courses will be used as a foundation for the rest of your education as you progress to more advanced courses. Some of your assignments may involve assessing a person's health, developing a diet plan for a specific person, identifying health conditions that may have resulted from a poor diet, and creating an informative brochure meant to educate people about what they eat. Some nutrition degree programs may require you to complete a certain number of clinical hours, in which you may have the opportunity to shadow a nutritionist and gain hands-on knowledge about the field of nutrition.
Degree Levels for a Nutrition Major
- Associate. Online associate nutrition degrees will include introductory courses, such as food and culture, principles of nutrition, and foundations of nutrition and fitness. You will also have to take a certain number of general studies classes like geometry, biology, and American history. While you'll be able to use this degree toward a more advanced degree, most nutritionists are required to have at least a bachelor's degree in the field.
- Bachelor's. A bachelor's degree in nutrition will cover all of the basics and fundamentals relating to nutrition, as well as some more advanced courses, such as nutrition and diabetes, food systems operations, and advanced nutrition and metabolism. A bachelor's degree will allow you to begin your career a nutritionist, either in your own private practice or with an organization.
- Master's. An online masters program in nutrition will further explore the courses covered in a bachelor's degree program, as well as more advanced topics like medical nutritional therapy, advanced nutritional counseling, and advanced renal nutrition. A master's degree in nutrition greatly reduces any limitations you may face when starting a career as a nutritionist because most organizations that require more than a bachelor's degree in nutrition will consider applicants with online masters nutrition degrees.
- Doctoral. A doctoral degree in nutrition is comprised of the most advanced courses in the field. The majority of the courses are in-depth studies of areas previously covered, such as nutritional education, nutrition and biochemistry, and nutrition and chronic diseases. In addition to becoming a nutritionist, a doctoral degree may be used toward a career as a professor of nutrition at a college or university.
A Future as a Nutrition Major
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), regulations for nutritionists are enforced by 46 states. Of these, 33 states require nutritionists to be licensed, 12 require certification, and one requires registration with the state. So, check with your state and learn what is required to practice nutrition. Many nutrition majors start their own businesses where they advise, education, and aide clients with their nutritional needs. The Internet has brought on a significant boost in private practice nutrition. There are also employment opportunities in healthcare facilities, the food service industry, and with health and fitness organization.
The BLS states that the average annual income for nutritionists is $54,340. However, this number can vary by factors such as where you are located in the country, the organization you work for, and the amount of experience you have. The BLS also expects a 9% increase in employment through the year 2018.