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Associate Programs
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Associate Degrees in Dietetics

Associate's degree programs in dietetics include courses in nutrition, wellness and food safety. Read more about the field in general, available certifications, the online study process and the common course topics.

What Can I Do With an Associate's Degree in Dietetics?

Associate's degree programs, such as the Associate of Science in Dietetic Technology or Associate of Applied Science in Dietetic Technology with an emphasis in nutrition care, can train you for an entry-level dietician position in the field. Many programs are designed to prepare you for earning the Registered Dietetic Technician (DTR) credential through the American Dietetic Association (www.eatright.org). Along with your associate's degree and the completion of a dietetic technician-training program, you must serve 450 hours of supervised hand-on experience in an approved setting to become a DTR.

To pass the comprehensive exam offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, your associate's degree program can prepare you by covering food and nutrition sciences, nutrition care, food service systems and management of services. DTRs can find work in hospitals, schools, public health agencies and weight management clinics.

Field Focus Food and nutrition science, nutrition care, food service systems
Certifications Available Registered Dietetic Technician (DTR)
Online Options Hybrid programs are available; clinical components require on-campus or on-site presence
Common Courses Contemporary and community nutrition, medical nutrition therapy, safety and sanitation
Median Salary (2020)$30,110 (for dietetic technicians)*
Job Outlook (2019-29)6% growth (for all dietetic technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Options Are Available for Distance Learning?

Although fully online associate's degree programs in dietetics rarely exist due to the clinical laboratory component, you may be able to take some of your required courses from related areas, such as nutrition, online depending on program. Access to a computer and Internet are basic technical requirements for most classes as you are expected to complete assignments and tests from your home. Online classes may be ideal if who have the motivation and self-discipline to keep up with deadlines throughout the duration of the class.

What Classes Can I Take?

Earning an associate's degree can take you two years to complete and include clinical laboratory requirements in addition to your coursework. You can complete an associate's degree program designed for dietetic technicians through study in general education classes, such as communication, math, biology, chemistry and psychology.

Your core courses will generally focus on increasing your knowledge of nutrition and food preparation. You may find course covering dietetic topics similar to the following:

  • Contemporary and community nutrition
  • Medical nutrition therapy
  • Safety and sanitation
  • Nutrition through the life cycle
  • Food systems management
  • ServSafe principles