Best Online Bachelor’s in Nutritional Science Programs

Badge (Online) with 2-Line TitleBachelor'sin Nutritional Science2017
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A bachelor of science in nutrition online will equip you with the skills needed for professional success in the field. By earning an online nutrition degree, graduates are prepared for many different careers, which include nutritionist, health worker, and fitness instructor. Job growth in the field of dieting and nutrition is projected to grow by 14% over the next several years. Factors such as obesity and the aging baby boomer population increase the need for nutritional services.

Earning your bachelor’s degree in nutrition science places you at the forefront of an evolving field. Many programs offer experiential learning opportunities to help you gain hands-on experience before graduating. Curriculum requirements, such as a capstone course, allow students to develop research projects that fit their career interests. Interacting with established professionals as part of program internship requirements help students refine their professional interests and goals. With all this in mind, it’s important to know what you need from a program. Some are taught through a cohort format, requiring you to complete courses synchronously. Degrees taught through an asynchronous format are going to allow much more flexibility.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 The University of Alabama 71.88 4/5 67% Tuscaloosa, AL

The University of Alabama is ranked among the top public colleges in the nation, and offers a number of degree programs entirely online. The BS in human environmental sciences, food and nutrition is a 120 credit program leading to the Registered Dietitian (RD) credential. Coursework explores community nutrition, nutrition in the life cycle, dietetics and nutrition, nutrition at the cellular level, and nutrition education. Students are also required to take courses in chemistry, organic chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and microbiology.

This program is designed for working adults, and is one of three online programs in the nation accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. The online nutrition degree partially meets the requirements for the RD credential. Once completed, students are eligible for a dietetic internship, which allows them to sit for the RD exam. Admission requirements include a high school diploma, and transcripts for college transfer students.

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2 Rutgers University-New Brunswick 70.00 3/5 79% New Brunswick, NJ

The eighth oldest college in the nation, Rutgers offers a robust selection of distance learning programs, featuring several options available entirely online or in a hybrid format. The School of Health Professions offers a BS in nutrition and dietetics for those with the Dietetic Technician Registered (DTR) and an associate degree. The 122 credit online nutrition degree emphasizes community and public health nutrition education, and prepares DTR’s to transition to entry-level careers as Registered Dietitians (RDs).

Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, Rutgers’ online degree in nutritional science is a coordinated program that trains dietitians didactically and clinically. Coursework includes the study of nutrition, experimental foods, advanced nutrition physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, and a number of supervised practices in areas such as diabetes, obstetrics and pediatrics, and food service administration. Admission requirements include an associate or bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, and a verification statement from the Didactic Program in Dietetics.

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3 University of Arizona 64.06 3/5 61% Tucson, AZ

The University of Arizona is dedicated to research and innovation, and extends this mission to online students via UA Online. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers the BS in nutritional sciences, which prepares graduates for careers as nutrition educators and coordinators at schools, nonprofit organizations, wellness centers, and other organizations. Courses explore food science and safety, nutrition assessment, biochemistry, biology and metabolism, and human nutrition in health and disease.

The bachelor in nutrition science is offered both as a four-year plan and as a transfer program for in-state students. It is delivered asynchronously using the D2L learning management platform. Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED, transfer credits for AZ Transfer Pathways students, and prerequisite coursework in chemistry, organic chemistry, microbiology, and human anatomy and physiology. Notably, online students pay the same tuition no matter where they live.

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4 Kansas State University 60.00 3/5 58% Manhattan, KS

Kansas State University (KSU) faculty are recognized leaders in their field, and the school boasts a significant number of students who are National Merit Scholars. Online learning programs at KSU include the BS in dietetics, which prepares graduates to become registered dietitians. The 120 credit program combines the study of food and nutrition with wellness, illness, and other life stages. The curriculum includes coursework in nutrition, science of food, financial management in dietetics, food production management, and careers in nutrition and dietetics.

The online nutrition degree is a completion degree, which requires applicants to have already completed 30 college credits with a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. They must also have previous coursework in chemistry, biology, and anatomy and physiology. Notably, students taking courses through KSU’s Global Campus pay the same tuition rate regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. The school also offers scholarships for distance learners to help with tuition costs.

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5 Arizona State University-Skysong 55.00 3/5 51% Scottsdale, AZ

Arizona State University - Skysong is a top college for innovation, and the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion actively promotes healthy eating and disease deterrence. The BS in nutrition is a 120 credit program that prepares graduates for careers in food production, marketing, and more. Coursework examines marketing, healthy cuisines, easting for lifelong health, and statistics. Three tracks are offered: food and nutrition management, nutrition communication, and food studies. Classes are seven-and-a-half weeks long. Students must pass 40 classes to graduate.

The BS in nutrition leads to careers as chefs, marketing associates, news reporters, food quality analysts, among others. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED, and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students must have at least 24 transferable credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA. ASU offers online learners success coaches to work with students as part counselor and part academic support.

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The following information outlines common components of an online nutrition degree, including sample coursework, factors that influence degree completion, and potential careers in the field of nutrition. Featured topics help students make informed decisions when choosing an academic program and launching a professional career in the field of nutrition.

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR’S IN NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES

While curriculum requirements vary from program to program, bachelor of science in nutrition programs commonly feature the following courses. These courses provide students with the knowledge and practical skills needed for a variety of nutrition-related careers.

  • Clinical Nutrition: Students explore nutrition-related diseases and intervention techniques. Topics include the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, endocrine disorders, and metabolic processes. Students examine approaches to healthy weight management, including individual and community tactics for reducing obesity. This course prepares students for careers as dietitians and nutritional counselors.
  • Cultural Aspects of Food: This course familiarizes students with dietary habits and food preferences found throughout the world. Students examine attitudes toward food and the origins of food patterns from a global perspective. Cultural knowledge of food prepares students for careers as food scientists and chefs.
  • Health and Wellness: This course offers insight to the various approaches to nutritional health. The program emphasizes the relationship between food consumption and the U.S. food system. It includes topics in food-based health plans, healthy eating across the lifespan, and nutritional strategies for improving health. Knowledge of nutritional health and wellness prepares students for careers as health educators and community health workers.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE BACHELOR’S IN NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES?

Full-time students earn their online nutrition degree in approximately four years. A bachelor’s program may take part-time students up to eight years to complete. A bachelor’s in nutrition science typically consists of 120-129 credits. Program requirements, such as an internship or senior project, may extend the duration of the program. Program structure may emphasize self-paced or cohort learning. Individually-paced programs usually offer frequent start dates and allow students to pursue the degree at their own pace. A bachelor of science nutrition online program that uses the cohort learning model typically offers one or two start dates per year, and students move synchronously through the program with their peers. Cohort programs promote teamwork and group cohesion, but usually take longer to complete.

Accreditation is an important factor to consider when choosing a bachelor of science in nutrition online. Accredited programs and schools adhere to educational standards required by their accrediting body. The two most common forms of accreditation are regional and national. Most universities adhere to regional accrediting standards, with six regional accrediting associations providing quality assurance throughout the country. Schools that specialize in vocational training and online education are often nationally accredited. While nationally accredited universities tend to offer lower tuition rates, regionally accredited universities demonstrate higher standards. In addition to regional and national accrediting agencies, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission provides specialized accreditation for online programs, including the participation in assessments and peer reviews. The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics ensures the academic quality of nutrition training programs and requires accredited programs to conduct self-studies and participate in on-site evaluation.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognize regional, national, and program-specific accrediting agencies. While recognition of accrediting agencies does not include involvement in the accreditation process, it ensurses that accrediting agencies are accurately and consistently enforcing educational standards. CHEA upholds institutional accountability through its assessments of accrediting agencies. The ED‘s and CHEA’s exhaustive databases of accredited universities and programs provide students with access to key information about accreditation and accredited programs in the U.S.

JOB PLACEMENT

A bachelor of science in nutrition science provides numerous career opportunities. Data from the BLS demonstrates that careers that require an undergraduate degree for entry-level positions pay more than those that require a high school diploma or equivalent. The following table includes four related careers in the field of nutrition, their entry-level education requirements, and annual salaries. A bachelor’s degree places professionals in the field of nutrition above the $40,000 income bracket. While work experience positively impacts annual earnings, postsecondary education attainment allows professionals to earn as much as $30,000 more per year than those without a bachelor’s degree.

Median Annual Salary by Occupation

Position Entry-Level Education Median Annual Salary
Dietitians and Nutritionists Bachelor’s degree $58,920
Community Health Worker Bachelor’s degree $53,070
Human Service Assistant High school diploma or equivalent $31,810
Fitness Instructor High school diploma or equivalent $38,160

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

BACHELOR’s IN NUTRITIONAL SCIENCE SALARY

Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition science possess the skills and knowledge for a variety of careers, including dietitian, nutritionist, food scientist, and chef. In addition to work experience and location, professional environments also influence annual earnings. While general medical hospitals and outpatient care centers employ the highest levels of dietitians and nutritionists, the following industries pay the highest salaries. This table uses data from the BLS to illustrate the top paying industries and annual earnings for dietitians and nutritionists.

Highest paying industries for dietitians and nutritionists

Industry Type Mean Annual Salary
Animal and Food manufacturing $73,080
Federal Executive Branch $70,530
Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability,
Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities
$70,230
Home Health Care Services $68,590
Grantmaking and Giving Services $67,450

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

BACHELOR’S IN NUTRITIONAL SCIENCE CAREERS

A bachelor of science in nutrition online prepares graduates for a variety of careers, including food preparation and meal planner. Individuals employed in the field of nutrition usually work full time and often work nights and weekends to meet the needs of clients. Nutritionists and similar professionals possess strong listening skills that allow them to determine the needs of clients. Other important characteristics include interpersonal and instructional skills, attention to detail, and organizational skills.

Dietitians and Nutritionists

Dietitians and nutritionists play important roles in improving and maintaining the well being of diverse populations, including disease management and health promotion. They work with individual patients or communities, developing meal plans and contributing to nutritional science research. A postsecondary education allows dietitians and nutritionists to pursue careers in clinical settings providing nutrition therapy.

Median Annual Salary – $58,920
Projected Growth Rate – 14%

Health Educators and Community Health Workers

Assessment of health needs, evaluation of program effectiveness, and data collection and analysis are some of the many tasks performed by health educators and community health workers. A bachelor’s degree in the field of nutrition allows people to pursue positions with colleges, healthcare facilities, and private businesses.

Median Annual Salary – $44,390
Projected Growth Rate – 13%

Food Service Managers

Duties include overseeing food preparation and presentation to implementing health standards. Food service managers possess skills in business and management and knowledge of proper food handling and food portion-supply ratios. A bachelor’s degree in nutrition allows food service managers to pursue careers with high-end and speciality restaurants.

Median Annual Salary – $50,820
Projected Growth Rate – 5%

Agricultural and Food Scientists

Job responsibilities include creating new food products and developing improved food packaging and delivery methods. Food scientists rely on skills in chemistry and biology to study the basic elements of food, including nutritional content analysis and food source discovery. A bachelor of science in nutrition equips food science professionals with the knowledge needed to conduct these tasks and move into managerial positions.

Median Annual Salary – $62,920
Projected Growth Rate – 5%

Chefs and Head Cooks

A chef’s job responsibilities include checking the availability and freshness of food products, developing recipes, and ensuring sanitation practices. Executive chefs oversee kitchen operations at restaurants, including staff training and menu design. A bachelor’s in nutrition science allows chefs and head cooks to specialize in providing healthy food options, including developing vegetarian recipes and menus.

Median Annual Salary – $43,180
Projected Growth Rate – 9%

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Students pursuing their online nutrition degree and recent graduates benefit professionally and academically by becoming members of professional organizations. Members of professional organizations have access to numerous opportunities, including continuing education programs, conferences, recent job postings, and networking forums. Annual conferences and symposiums feature topics in Native American nutrition, nutrigenetics, and immunonutrition. Professional organizations offer research resources as well, including access to academic journals and newsletters. Student members have the opportunity to develop mentoring relationships and connect with peers in the field.

Students pursuing a bachelor of science in nutrition online should begin by completing the FAFSA. This free online application for federal aid is the first step toward securing financial assistance in the form of loans, grants, and scholarships. In addition to federal financial aid, universities provide numerous scholarship opportunities for high achieving students, first-generation college attendees, parent students, and more. Scholarships offered through professional nutrition organizations and private donors help reduce the cost of tuition.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.