The healthcare professions are thriving. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 15 percent increase in health jobs from 2019 to 2029. Careers for certified nutritionists will increase, too, adding 6,000 new positions during the decade. Employers, the BLS reports, prefer applicants with a master’s degree. The masters in nutrition online program prepares you for a wider range of expertise than a bachelor’s alone, leading to higher earnings. Payscalefound that salaries increase based on nutritionists’ expertise in diabetes education, dietetics, nutrition support, and public health. Remember: job openings are competitive, and completing a Masters in Nutrition online can move you to the front of the hiring line.
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This guide is created to help students find the online Masters in Nutrition that best meets their educational goals. We have ranked the top programs by key factors, including affordability, program quality, graduation rate, and professional accreditation.
It’s too simple to say students are looking for the cheapest online Masters in Nutrition — there are many factors in finding the appropriate program that matches your career aspirations. These include affordability, available financial aid, and whether the institution is public or private when it comes to tuition. We’ve done a lot of the research for you. Here is our list of the most-affordable online Masters in Nutrition:
In evaluating prospective online nutrition degrees, it’s vitally important to dig deep into the type of degree that the university offers, the specializations or concentrations, and the total number of credits required for graduation. Also, look at accreditation, internship requirements, prerequisites, and financial aid.
Online Masters in Nutrition Degree Types
Post-baccalaureate, master’s level programs in nutrition or dietetics are most commonly the online Master of Nutrition. Each has a particular slant on the professional orientation of the degree. Within the online programs, there may be distinctions worth exploring:
MS Nutrition Online
The degree is an umbrella program that offers courses in the major along with concentrations and electives. Studies can embrace skills as a Clinical nutritionist, Management nutritionist, Community nutritionist, and more. Other titles for the degree program include the
Master of Science in Nutrition and Wellness
MS in Nutrition and Dietetics
Master of Science in Applied Nutrition
Specializations in Masters in Nutrition Programs
Most online Masters in Nutrition programs students select a specialization or concentration. Specializations focus the course work on your career options. Job titles vary broadly within the nutrition professions. A specialization can connect graduates with the best employment opportunities for their careers. Here are some examples:
Advanced Nutrition Therapy & Critical Care
Specializing in masters in clinical nutrition, grad students focus on nutrition therapy for acute or critical inpatient care patients. It is most appropriate for critical care across the lifespan.
Students with a concentration in applied nutrition aim for a specific practice area. For example, the master’s in holistic nutrition prepares grads in nutrition theory and the planning of beneficial health programs.
Public Health Nutrition
A Public Health Nutrition concentration focuses on nutrition education to promote individuals’ and communities’ health to minimize obesity or related chronic disease risks.
Sustainable Food Systems & Health
This concentration in food science master’s programs examines the development of policies governing food systems’ sustainability.
Functional Integrative Nutrition
A master’s in dietetics online or a master’s in clinical nutrition can offer a Functional Integrative Nutrition concentration addressing medical history and inflammation levels with food and supplements.
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Nutrition Programs
Online Masters in Nutrition programs create a curriculum designed to prepare graduates for their profession. The courses and internships enable students to practice the key skills for practicing as a nutritionist. These include:
Program Creation and Assessment
Here is a sampling of courses found in an online Masters in Nutrition programs:
Principles of Human Nutrition
The study of nutrients, how the food industry practices nutritional principles, and the properties and sources.
Human Nutrition Policy Making
Students practice the translation of evidence, featuring the Cochrane systematic review to establish policy in public health.
Nutrition and Metabolism
This is an advanced study in metabolism related to intake, absorption, and digestion of nutrients.
Graduate students may select from elective courses to augment core learning. Subjects might include Biostatistics, Toxicology, Federal, and State Food Laws.
Participation with an evidence-based dietetics practice at a partner institution. Hours TBD. Requires on-site attendance.
Accreditation for Online Masters in Nutrition Programs
Accreditation is the crucial, must-have component for judging the value of an online Masters in Nutrition program. Universities hold voluntary accreditation from one of six regional independent evaluating bodies that attest to the school’s academic quality or for the program department. Accreditation is essential since most employers only hire graduates with an accredited online nutrition degree. And federal financial assistance is only available to students at accredited institutions. Here are common accreditations to look for:
Timeline for graduation from Masters in Nutrition Programs
The length of time it takes to complete an accredited, online Masters in Nutrition program can range from one to two years. The key factors include the total number of credits to graduate, the number of courses and internships you can complete, whether full- or part-time. For example, students with family or work commitments may need more time. Common credit requirements are usually in the range of 30-36 credits. However, applicants may decrease their total credit requirement based on prior, applicable education or through testing. One-year programs ultimately save students time and money. Remember in choosing, online Masters in Nutrition programs are accelerated and extremely demanding.
Online Masters in Nutrition Programs Admission Requirements
All universities offering an online Masters in Nutrition program establish their admission criteria. There are also university-wide and graduate school requirements. Depending on the applicant’s bachelor’s degree, prerequisite courses may be required in nutritional science, biology, or chemistry. Applicants must evaluate the admissions requirements and enrollment details at their potential programs. Here are common requirements:
Bachelor’s Degree: All universities will expect applicants to have completed a bachelor’s degree in good standing. Typically, the online nutrition master’s program prefers undergraduate degrees in a science-related major. Some universities may require prerequisites in organic chemistry, biology, nutrition, or physiology.
GPA: While each program establishes its entry requirements, most prefer applicants to hold a minimum 3.0 GPA on undergraduate work. You need to submit college transcripts.
GRE Scores: Universities may require applicants’ GRE scores to evaluate their knowledge and aptitude to succeed in their online nutrition masters program. Learn more about GRE requirements and exam prep here.
Statement of Purpose: The statement of purpose is key in the evaluation of applicants. Students explain their professional goals and how the specific online nutrition masters program best serves their goals. Applicants should also explain what they bring to the program.
Prior Experience: Professional or volunteer experience matters. The duration of work experience may vary by university. Preference is given to candidates with experience in a health or nutrition field.
Letters of Recommendation: Universities require several letters of recommendation from former or current employers or faculty members. The letters should be personalized for each university to which you’re applying, attesting to your academic or professional skills.
Online Masters in Nutrition No GRE Programs
University applicants may balk at the requirement for a GRE test to be accepted to an online program. Fortunately, there are a great many accredited online Masters in Nutrition programs that do not require GRE scores for admission. Science Magazine reports that some schools are abandoning the GRE because the massive, four-hour exam is not an accurate prediction tool for academic success. Other factors such as professional experience, prior academic performance, and recommendation letters attest to your qualifications. Here, for example, are several masters in online nutrition programs that do not require a GRE:
By completing a one-year nutrition master’s program, you can speed your way into the profession, reduce the total cost of tuition, and earn an accredited degree that’s accepted across a wide range of health employers. To succeed, students must be dedicated to completing these accelerated, rigorous one-year masters. We’ll help you start in finding a solid, accredited one-year program:
How to Pay for Online Masters in Nutrition Programs
Tuition is becoming more and more expensive these days. So is the potential for loan debt. Forbes reports that college tuition is increasing at twice the rate of inflation. According to Forbes, 2020, student debt has skyrocketed to $1.6 trillion! Choose your financial aid wisely. Students will find a range of financial aid assistance to pay for their online masters in nutrition program. Sources include scholarships, grants, loans, and graduate assistantships — or a combination of aid.
Fellowships can be essential for undertaking fieldwork or research with an employer or governmental organization.
Grants do not need to be repaid. They can pay for tuition and/or for research.
Graduate nutrition programs may also offer their financial aid to incoming and continuing students. Check with the financial aid office at your prospective schools. To begin applying for federal assistance, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Graduate students can apply for federal direct loans, Plus loans, and Federal Work-Study (FWS) Programs. For more information, visit ourdetailed section on financial aid.
Scholarships for Online Masters in Nutrition Students
Scholarships for completing an online master’s in nutrition degree are offered by the state and federal government, professional health organizations, and your university. The best part is that they pay for your education and do not have to be repaid. Scholarships may be based on financial need and academic achievement. Some organizations help with scholarship searches or provide links to scholarship resources. Here are four to consider:
The Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowshipoffers on-site, 11-month field placements at policy organizations across the country. Who can apply? Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college and a history that includes poverty and hunger. Amount: $38,000 to $45,000.
The NF Professional Growth Scholarship finances full participation in the annual School Nutrition Foundation conference with professional development and career networking opportunities. Who can apply? Graduate students who are pursuing degrees in nutrition, nutrition education, exercise, or health program administration. Amount: $2,000..
FAQs about Nutrition Masters Programs
Q:What can I do with an online masters in nutrition?
A: Your nutrition masters can qualify you to work in processions including dietitians, sports/athletic nutritionists, child, and adolescent nutritionists, holistic nutritionists, nutrition consultants, food-safety consultants, public health specialists, and more.
Q:How can I get a master’s in nutrition?
A: First, you need to choose your ideal career and find an online master’s program that addresses the education you need for the role. To apply, you may need to provide undergraduate transcripts and a letter detailing your goals. Next, you need to enroll in the online program and complete the advanced curriculum, including fieldwork.
Q:How much does it cost to become a certified nutritionist?
A: According to CostHelper.com, tuition costs for your master’s degree can run from $20,000-$65,000 depending on the school and required credit hours. Add in licensing and certification fees, which run on average from $100 to $350.
Q: Will I need a license or certification to work in the profession?
Q: After completing an online nutrition master’s, how can I improve my skills or job prospects?
A: One way to broaden employment options is to pursue an additional degree, such as a doctorate. You can also add certifications that reflect continuing education in the field. Many certifications require a specific amount of continuing education to maintain the credential. You can also take a look at other occupations and online degree programs.
Careers and Salary Outlook for Nutrition Masters Graduates
The U.S. The Department of Labor’sBureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides an overview of graduates’ career outlook for online nutrition master’s degrees. The bureau also cites current salaries matched to the kind of industries in the profession. From 2019 to 2029, job openings are predicted to rise by 8 percent. Some 5,900 new jobs are expected during the decade. When it comes to paying, dietitians and nutritionists draw a median annual wage of $61,270. Healthcare treating practitioners earn a median annual wage of $82,380. The highest pay scales, in order, are at outpatient care centers, hospitals, government agencies, and nursing facilities. Here are specific career and salary predictions for the 2019-2029 decade:
Median Annual Salary
Job Growth (2016-2028)
Dietitians and Nutritionists
Dieticians and nutritionists are certified professionals focussing on research, education, and promoting a healthy diet and exercise. The focus is on evidence-based policy and practice.
Community Health Worker
Community health workers research and development programs to assist people in developing healthy eating and exercise habits. Interpersonal skills with a diverse community are essential.
Social and Community Service Managers
Social and Community Service Managers direct health organizations’ staff that provide service to the public. They hold skills in statistical analysis.
Health Educators design and implement programs toimprove wellness within their community. Research and communication skills are key attributes for professionals.
Certifications and Licensing for Nutrition Masters Graduates
Many states require nutritionists to hold licenses and/or certifications to work as a professional nutritional practitioner. Online Nutrition Masters Graduates should contact the states where they intend to work to learn about specific requirements. You may be required to pass a state exam. TheCommission on Dietetic Registration has a clearinghouse on specialized credentials.
Whether you’re undertaking an online master’s in nutrition program or are working in the field, additional resources can prove invaluable. Many offer research and data findings, and some offer scholarships. Research data can assist students with their special projects. Moreover, joining an organization can lead to career assistance and networking opportunities. You will find pertinent research or career information from government agencies and professional organizations. Here are some to consider:
Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Dietary Guidelines for Americans are designed to provide key information for healthy eating, helping Americans from two through adulthood. There is also a component for exercise.
Eat Right.org. As a part of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Eat Right offers science and advice on food safety topics, along with articles and special sections on nutrition for children, seniors, men, and women.
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Read up-to-date articles that address the current health landscape, including nutrition in the time of Covid-19. Members of the academy and those who join have direct access to pertinent literature.
Nutrition.gov. This governmental resource offers tips for healthy nutrition and exercise and guidelines for food safety. The site features current nutritional content and a professional Q&A.
Nutrition CDC. This U.S. Department of Health & Human Services organization is the clearinghouse of nutrition and dietary information from the Centers for Disease Control. Find a repository of data and statistics, nutritional strategies, micronutrients, and resources for state and local programs in exercise and proper nutrition.
Nutrition Education Resources & Materials. Operated by the Food and Drug Administration, this encyclopedic resource contains details on the New Nutrition Facts Label requirements, a health educators toolkit, and a direct link to FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN).
USDA Team Nutrition. This USDA service provides data, standards, and guidelines for professionals in child nutrition. Find training and technical aid for guiding food service, child nutritionists, and caregivers. Sections address topics in guidelines, grants, and food safety.
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