Online Courses and Schools for Registered Dieticians

Dietitians assess nutritional needs and create food plans for people at public and private institutions. Learn about online degree program requirements, courses and distance learning internships. Schools offering Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Online programs that can lead to a career as a registered dietitian are available. Additionally, there are online certification programs that can improve your professional standing. Be aware that many online programs require the completion of an internship.

Median Salary (2017) $59,410 (for all dietitians and nutritionists)
Career Outlook (2016-2026) 15% increase for dietitians and nutritionists
Schools Colorado State University, University of Delaware, Kansas State University, Eastern Michigan University, University of Northern Colorado

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Degree Programs Are Available to Me?

Two types of online dietetic programs are available at the baccalaureate level. Didactic programs focus solely on coursework and can be completed online with the exception of on-campus labs. Coordinated programs include online coursework in addition to a supervised 6-12 month internship.

At the graduate level, most online dietetics programs are for students seeking additional study. These master's degree programs limit admission to those who have already completed a didactic curriculum or received their RD credentials. However, online dietetics master's degree programs are also available for those who want to pursue their RD credentials while enrolled in a graduate-level program. These coordinated programs are rare and require extensive prerequisite coursework in chemistry, biology and nutrition. These programs also require an internship.

Can I Complete Internships through Distance Education?

The ADA states that you must have at least 1,200 hours of supervised practice to be eligible for the CDR credentialing examination. If you find that dietetic schools are limited in your area, some schools offer online dietetic internship programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. You will maintain correspondence with your instructors and peers while completing practice hours under the supervision of a preceptor in your area. If you opt for a distance learning internship you can expect to work at WIC (women, infants and children) clinics, schools, hospitals or other food service facilities.

What Courses Will I Take?

Online dietitian courses in a bachelor's degree program cover nutrition basics, such as the role of the human metabolism in overall health. You will also learn how to assess the nutritional needs of an individual or create food programs for schools and hospitals. You also study the best ways to counsel people about their eating habits and help them make dietary revisions.

Master's degree coursework includes advanced topics in micro- and macronutrients, nutrigenomics and lipid metabolism. You will also study the appropriate nutritional needs for children and expectant mothers. Many graduate dietetics programs include courses in research design and statistics. You may also study foodservice administration topics, such as budgeting and personnel management.

Other courses you might take include:

  • Nutrition therapy
  • Food and culture
  • Community nutrition
  • Nutrient metabolism
  • Foodservice systems management

How Do Online Courses Work?

Most online dietetics courses can be accessed from anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection and an e-mail address. Schools may use online course management software, such as Blackboard, to create a Web-based, interactive classroom through discussion boards or chat rooms.

Online course material may also be delivered as CDs, DVDs or live video. To access these materials you may need multimedia plug-ins such as Windows Media Player or Real Player. Other software requirements often include Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint.

How Do I Choose an Online Registered Dietitian School?

If you're looking to earn your registered dietitian (RD) credential, it's important to find a school whose programs are accredited by the American Dietetic Association's (ADA) Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE). Only graduates of these CADE-accredited didactic, coordinated and internship programs are eligible to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration's (CDR) Registration Examination for Dietitians.

If you're already a RD who wants to enroll in a graduate dietetics school, consider those that will allow you to specialize in your area of interest. Some programs offer nutrition or management tracks. Others allow you to perform research in preparation for a doctoral program.

Schools Offering Online Programs

The following is a list of schools offering programs for registered dieticians, as well as the degrees and certifications offered at each school:

  • Kansas State University: Human Ecology, B.S.
  • University of Northern Colorado: Distance Dietetic Program, B.S.
  • Eastern Michigan University: Dietetics, B.S.
  • University of Delaware: Dietetic Internship Certificate
  • Colorado State University: Food Science and Nutrition, M.S.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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