Clinical Dietitian Degree Program and Education

Learn what education and training you'll need to become a clinical dietitian, including common courses and online program options. Find out about certification and licensure requirements. Schools offering Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Do I Become a Clinical Dietitian?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most employers are looking for a minimum of a bachelor's degree from dietitians ( A bachelor's degree in dietetics, nutrition science or another related field usually takes about four years to complete. Depending on your school's curriculum, you may find yourself satisfying prerequisites such as algebra, biology, chemistry and psychology. You are also exposed to many aspects of food science such as meal management, clinical nutrition, medical nutrition therapy, lifespan development and food economics.

Master's degree programs in this field are also available and can be completed in as few as two years. The BLS mentions that a master's degree can help you advance in the areas of research, public health or clinical work. You may find yourself taking classes such as nutrient metabolism, biostatistics, nutrition counseling and food systems management. In addition to your coursework, you may be required to write a thesis.

Available Programs Bachelor's and master's degrees most common choices; bachelor's programs usually take 4 years to complete, master's degrees just 2
Common Courses Bachelor's level: meal management, medical nutrition therapy, food economics; master's level: biostatistics, nutrition counseling, food systems management
Online Options 100% online programs available; internship completion after graduate can help with certification
Getting Certified Requirements vary by state; licensure not necessary in some states, but may help increase employment opportunties
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

Can I Earn This Degree Online?

Some schools offer degree programs in dietetics and related fields entirely online. Classes usually have similar content to equivalents offered on-campus and require minimal technical requirements. Most online programs prepare students for internships after graduation, which can help fulfill certification requirements.

What Certification Do I Need?

Certification requirements vary by state, and some states don't require licensure. The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) issues Registered Dietitian (RD) credentials that may satisfy some states' requirements. Although this certification in not always required to work in the field, it can help dietitians secure work. The CDR requires you to complete a bachelor's degree and an accredited dietetic program along with a supervised internship. Once you have fulfilled these requirements you may sit for the national exam that certifies you as an RD - a title that must be renewed every five years.

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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