Online Bachelor of Science in Dietetics

Interested in helping others create healthy eating patterns or working with medical professionals to assist patients with dietary decisions? If so, a career in nutrition might be right for you. Learn about what's available in online bachelor's degree programs in dietetics, what to expect from online classes, how the registration process works and what careers you can enter. Schools offering Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Will I Be Able to Earn My Bachelor's Degree in Dietetics Entirely Online?

No, the majority of dietetic degree programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE), which requires the completion of 900-1,200 hours of a supervised practicum. A practicum, which involves working with clients under the supervision of a registered dietitian, is performed in-person in a clinical setting. Most schools will help you arrange for a practicum in your area. Completing a CADE-approved program qualifies you to sit for the national registration examination.

Online Availability Hybrid programs are available with in-person requirements to complete practicums
Program Options Coordinated programs combine online courses and practicums; didactic programs require completion of online courses first, then practicums
Online Availability Some courses may be online, but hands-on practicum must be supervised
Dietitian Registration Registration is voluntary, but many states and employers require it; the exam is offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration
Work Settings Hospitals, schools, long-term care facilities, private practice
Median Salary (2018)$60,370* (for dietitians and nutritionists)
Job Outlook (2016-26)15%* (for all dietitians and nutritionists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Types of Programs Are Available?

There are two types of programs in dietetics - coordinated and didactic. Coordinated programs in dietetics (CPD) incorporate the practicum hours into the study portion of the program. This means that while you are attending your classes online, you will also be completing your practicum in-person at a local clinic. By completing your required classes and practicum hours simultaneously, you will be eligible to sit for the RD registration examination immediately after graduation.

In a didactic program in dietetics (DPD), you complete the required classwork and then move on to your practicum hours. Although you may be able to graduate from your school with a degree after completing the classwork, you will not be able to sit for the registration examination or become licensed until you complete the practicum hours.

What Does the Online Part of the Program Involve?

Classes will be delivered to you through a variety of media through the school's distance education website. In addition to online attendance in a virtual classroom, most programs make use of e-mail and message boards for communication between students and teachers. Media such as recorded lectures, videos, readings posted online and informational websites are often incorporated into these programs. You will need a computer and access to high-speed Internet in order to participate in an online class.

What Is the Registration Process?

Registration is voluntary, but required by many employers. The American Dietetic Association's Commission on Dietetic Registration offers the RD examination to those who have completed a bachelor's degree program in dietetics and a practicum that meets the association's standards. The examination will test your knowledge in areas such as nutrition, food service, management and communication. Although registration is voluntary, most states will require you to sit for a licensing exam before you can begin to work as a dietitian.

What Careers Can I Pursue?

Some dietitians go to work for programs like Head Start, or they work for hospitals or long-term care facilities, coordinating program menus. You also might find jobs at schools and in niche areas such as sports nutrition. Additionally, you could open a private practice that works with individuals to plan for their personal nutritional needs on a long-term basis.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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