What Can I Do with an Associate Degree in Nutrition?

Some schools across the country offer associate's degree programs in nutrition. Hospitals, clinics, wellness centers and fitness clubs may wish to hire those who have earned 2-year degrees in the discipline. Read on to discover some potential career options for those who hold associate's degrees in nutrition.

Career Overviews

In many cases, a minimum of a bachelor's degree is required for jobs in the nutrition industry, such as dietitian or nutritionist. However, an associate's degree might qualify students for some entry-level positions. Graduates might go on to become weight loss counselors, food technologists and nutrition assistants.

Important Facts About Dietetic Technicians

Median Salary (2018) $13.05/hourly or $27,140/yearly*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 9%*
Key Skills Reading and listening, speaking, critical thinking
Professional Certification Certification available through organizations such as The Commission on Dietetic Registration

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties

Weight loss counselors use their knowledge of diet and nutrition to assist clients who want to manage their weight and shed extra body fat to achieve optimum health and reach their ideal body weight. Alternatively, food technologists apply their associate's degree knowledge in the areas of product development or food distribution. They research various methods of processing and preserving food. The nutrition assistant is responsible for performing health and nutrition assessments and for recommending appropriate food parcels for participants of state-sponsored WIC programs.

Work Environment

With an associate's degree, you might be qualified for entry-level jobs in hospitals, community health or rehabilitation centers, convalescent homes, clinics, child or senior programs, contract food management companies, public health agencies or fitness facilities. Individuals might seek employment in school cafeterias as well as in the public health sector and geriatric-care facilities. Other opportunities might exist in tribal organizations or government agencies.

Advancement Opportunities

Associate's programs can carry various titles, including the Associate of Science in Nutrition and the Associate of Science in Applied Nutrition. Upon completion, students could transfer to baccalaureate degree-granting programs. There, they might work toward degrees in nutrition or dietetics.

An associate's degree program might introduce students to many of the courses that are also part of bachelor's-degree programs. Introductory courses in human nutrition, organic chemistry, biology for health sciences, anatomy and physiology might prepare students for more advanced coursework.