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Nutritionist Degree and Training Programs

Nutritionists establish dietary plans according to the needs of a patient or client. Learn about bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in nutrition and dietetics, and explore the typical coursework for each program level. Get info on your job options in the nutrition field, and check the licensure requirements, career outlook and salary potential.

What Types of Nutritionist Degree Programs Are There?

Some colleges and universities offer Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy programs in this field. These types of programs may offer majors in nutrition and food studies, nutrition and dietetics, nutritional science or clinical nutrition. You may also find these programs called nutrition, dietetics and hospitality management. Nutrition programs present the education necessary to provide awareness in healthy eating and living. If you're looking to take online courses, master's degree programs are most commonly available.

Degree Levels Bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees
Common Courses Pathophysiology, genetics, counseling, organic chemistry, nutrition therapy
Possible Careers Clinical dietician, nutritionist, dietitian, dietary manager, food service supervisor
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 Can I Expect from My Program?

If you're enrolled in a bachelor's program, you'll typically take courses that explain the chemical composition of different food types, how different ingredients affect the body and how to eat healthier. You'll also understand the impact of physical activity, genetics and metabolism on the body's response to food. Courses in food principles, human nutrition, counseling, nutritional supplements, organic chemistry, food technology and the life cycle may be required.

In a master's program, you can expect advanced study in the topics covered in a bachelor's program, such as human nutrition and metabolism. You may be exposed to courses in nutrition therapy, nutrition education, eating disorder types, vitamins, fats and minerals. Your program may also include clinical work and research methodology.

Doctoral nutrition programs mostly focus on developing educational and research skills. Doctoral programs usually go more in depth with issues regarding genetics, human biology, chemical composition and experimental statistics. Courses could include macronutrients, pathophysiology, biochemistry and epidemiology.

What Careers Might Be Available?

Depending on the state you plan on working in, you may be required to obtain licensure as a dietician or nutritionist. After completing a bachelor's degree education, you could find a career as a dietitian, nutritionist, dietary manager, clinical dietitian or correctional food service supervisor. Completing a master's program might entitle you to a job in public health or research. If you want to teach nutrition at a university level, a doctoral degree is needed.

What Is the Career Outlook?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the number of dietitian and nutritionist positions would increase by 15% between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov). This increase may be due to the increased awareness of dietary related diseases. As of May 2018, the BLS estimated that this career made a median salary of $60,370.