From religious dietary restrictions across all the major world religions to modern, trendy diets like keto and paleo, finding ways to optimize what and when we eat has always been a significant concern to us.
Consequently, experts who can map out ideal nutrition practices have always been in high demand. And from priests to proto-physicians, people from all disciplines have always risen to fill that need. Even the writings of prominent ancient Greek figures like Plato, Homer, and Hippocrates all contain extensive sections dedicated to guiding us to the best way to eat.
However, today, that role falls squarely in the hands of dieticians. With dietetics, we get a scientific approach to the study of nutrition and the optimal guidelines for nutrient intake. This discipline concerns itself with food, diets, and how they influence the overall health of the individual.
Therefore, the field of dietetics provides aspiring professionals with fulfilling careers that directly impacts the lives of many while ensuring significant job security. Furthermore, with the area posting a median annual pay of around $60,000 and a projected growth of 14% in the next half-decade, now is a good a time as any to make the jump.
One of the best ways to get started here is with an undergraduate degree in dietetics. Typically related degrees expose students to medical nutrition, food management, metabolism, and other related disciplines like biology, physiology, and anatomy.
Plus, a bachelor’s in dietetics opens the door to a wide range of career options, including roles in nutrition, sports nutrition, fitness and wellness, and community health.
However, you do not need to completely upend your schedule and seek residence on campus to become a qualified dietician. With the following online bachelor programs in dietetics, you are getting the best in class education on par with offerings from top physical university programs.
Are you looking to get started in dietetics on your own time? Here are the top nine online schools for bachelors in dietetics that you should consider adding to your shortlist.
Best Online Schools for Bachelor’s in Dietetics
#9: University of Northern Colorado
The university of northern colorado offers one of the most affordable dietetic programs you will find anywhere in the U.S. Their 120-credit bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics averages out to just under $8,000 per annum.
However, the low cost of the program does not mean that it skimps out on content. Here, you get a comprehensive foray into the discipline that gives you a thorough academic education of the field.
The coursework for this program includes themes like nutrition assessment and intervention, diet management, advanced nutrition, nutrition education, food service systems management, nutrition applications in food service, community nutrition, and medical nutrition.
Since the curriculum adheres strictly to guidelines by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it is no surprise that the program has its full accreditation in addition to being recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Dietetics and Nutrition Education.
Furthermore, graduating from this program qualifies you for a dietetic internship, and eventually to sit for the registered dietician nutritionist exam.
#8: University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, Alaska
Another robust offering for students considering a career in dietetics is the online bachelor of science in dietetics on offer by the University of Alaska Anchorage. Here, students get a comprehensive education in both the theoretical and practical aspects of the discipline, preparing them for both internships and the registered dietician nutritionist exam.
The all-encompassing coursework of these degree programs covers subjects like food science, therapeutic nutrition, community nutrition, nutrition for lifespan, clinical nutrition, as well as crucial professional skills like counseling and communication.
Besides, the university also provides students with an abundance of internship programs to reinforce their education with experiential knowledge further, and prepare them for real-world practice.
The University of Alaska Anchorage’s dietetics program has full national accreditation by both the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.
#7: Rutgers University, New Jersey
Rutgers University provides one of the most comprehensive dietetic programs in the country with options to niche down into specific areas of the field for enhanced professional prospects.
At Rutgers, you can study dietetics in five different tracks, including an academic dietetics option, nutrition, community nutrition, food service administration, and a choice in nutrition, food, and business.
However, regardless of the specialization you choose, the program grounds you in foundational dietetics knowledge like the mechanisms of digestion, metabolism, and absorption of food and nutrients, the role of nutrients in health, growth, and energy, and research methodologies in nutrition.
The curriculum also dabbles in other related fields like biochemistry, experimental foods, and advanced nutrition physiology.
Nevertheless, if you are an aspiring registered dietician, make sure to select the academic dietetics option, as this is the only one with full accreditation from both the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Accreditation Council for Nutrition and Dietetics.
On completing this track, you get a DPD Verification Statement that qualifies you for an academic internship, and eventually to sit for the registered dietitian nutritionist exam.
#6: Purdue University Global, Chicago, Illinois
For many health-related fields, there is a growing awareness of the role of nutrition in the path to living healthier lives. Consequently, for the working health professional, a qualification is dietetics is becoming significantly more important, and few programs can match that need as well as the bachelor of science in nutrition available at Purdue University Global.
Purdue University Global is the adult-serving arm of the Purdue University system that is specifically tailored to match the educational needs of working adults. This online college offers 180 high customizable degree programs, including one in dietetics that you can modify to fit your schedule.
Here, you get a thorough education that prepares you for a switch to a career in dietetics or for an introduction of nutrition elements into an existing practice. Hence, the program schools you in basic concepts and skill sets, as well as research methods needed to thrive in nutrition and other related healthcare industries.
The coursework on offer includes subjects like dietary choices and their influence on health, the principles and pharmacology or nutrition, digestion, metabolism, and absorption of food, as well as administrative and ethical training.
Furthermore, students here get the option to simultaneously complete a master’s degree in disciplines like health education, public health, and health informatics, thanks to the school’s accelerated masters program. You also get the option to gain valuable experiential knowledge via an optional internship.
Plus, the program culminates in a capstone project for each student that incorporates real-world scenarios to improve the professional prospects of participants further.
The online bachelor of science in nutrition from Purdue University Global has certification from the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP).
#5: Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
If you are considerably strapped for time and still want to get a bachelor’s in dietetics, Eastern Michigan University is probably your best bet. Their bachelor program in nutrition science and dietetics is a fully flexible one that you can complete entirely online without having ever to set foot on a university campus.
Furthermore, with this 124-credit program, students can also transfer credit from other accredited universities in the region or even earn credit with prior work and educational experience in the field.
However, to get into the program, applicants must complete prerequisites in human physiology, organic chemistry, microbiology, careers in nutrition and dietetics, biochemistry, and human nutrition. Also, aspiring students must attain a prerequisite GPA of at least 3.0 and a cumulative GPA of 2.75.
Once you get into the program, prepare for comprehensive instruction in both the practical and theoretical aspects of dietetics, with courses in food and culture, nutrient metabolism, nutrition therapy, and integrative medicine all mixed in with a healthy dose of experiential learning at a medical site of your choosing.
Thanks to using a curriculum that matches requirements from regulatory bodies, the bachelor’s of nutrition and dietetics at Eastern Michigan University qualifies you to sit for the registered dietitian exam.
The program also has regional accreditation by the National Committee on Accreditation and recognition by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.
#4: University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
With over 80 online degrees on offer, the University of Arizona has one of the more prolific schools when it comes to distance education, and their bachelor’s program in nutritional science offers an excellent, convenient way to get started in the discipline.
The program offers students the option of specializing in two tracks: dietetics or nutrition. While the dietetic option grounds students in a regulation curriculum that prepares them to become registered dietitians, the nutrition track opts instead for a more general approach, geared toward students with aspirations for graduate study.
However, with either track, you get a well-rounded education in the discipline, covering topics like nutrition, diet, combining nutrition, lifecycle nutrition, health and wellness, food industry, genes and disease, disease prevention, medical nutrition therapy, sports nutrition, and exercise physiology. Students also get a chance at experiential learning with a volunteer opportunity.
Furthermore, all participants must complete required prerequisites either in person on campus or via credit transfer in science courses like general chemistry, general microbiology, organic chemistry, and biology of microorganisms.
The school also offers a master’s in applied nutrition for students who want further professional training with graduate programs.
While these programs do not have accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, the University of Arizona curricula are recognized regionally by the Higher Learning Commission.
#3: Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Kansas State University runs a Global Campus unit that is one of the most popular distance learning programs in the country. The Global Campus has provided students with distance education, and then online learning for over half a century, staying at the forefront of quality service delivery in the field for many of those years.
The Global Campus, in partnership with Kansas State’s College of Health and Human Sciences, offers two online programs that will interest aspiring dieticians. Here, you can apply either to a bachelor of science degree in nutrition and health or one in dietetics.
Both options are 120-credit programs with similar academic leanings but slightly differing focus. With the dietetics program, you get a strict curriculum that matches regulatory requirement letter for letter, offering an excellent platform for students aspiring to become registered dieticians.
With the degree in nutrition and health, on the other hand, you get a more general approach to the subject that prepares pre-professional students for graduate-level programs or entry roles in public health.
However, with whichever program you choose, you are getting some of the most comprehensive and cheapest undergraduate dietetics programs you will find anywhere. Both curriculums cover dietetic topics like nutrition, food plans, wellness, and illness, as well as elements of general subjects like communications, human ecology, quantitative studies, and natural and social sciences.
Plus, both programs give participants the option to further niche down into specializations like human development and family science, food science and industry, hospitality management, and bakery science.
Kansas State’s academic bachelor’s degree in Dietetics has full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.
#2: The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
The University of Alabama offers one of the best headstarts an aspiring dietitian can get with a hybrid program you can fully customize to match your schedule. Their bachelor’s degree program in food and nutrition also offers one of the most effective treatments of the subject you will get anywhere, especially with an online degree program.
The 120-credit bachelor’s program features 44 hours of general education, 56 hours of instruction in dietetics, and 20 hours of science prerequisites, which is the part of the program you must complete physically on campus. Also, students get to participate in a supervised 160-hour field internship to help garner practical experience that is crucial to real-world practice.
During the program, participants follow a curriculum that studies nutrition, human health, and the underlying relationship between both fields. Here, courses on offer include forays into medical nutrition therapy, nutritional biochemistry, food service management, health and wellbeing, and the nutrition care process.
The University of Alabama’s bachelor’s in food and nutrition is one of the few distance learning programs with full accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. The program also has regional recognition by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Since the program curriculum matches the requirements of both regulatory agencies to a T, bagging your dietetics qualification from the University of Alabama’s distance learning program sets you on the direct path to becoming a registered dietitian.
Furthermore, the program has significantly successful alumni, with graduates holding varied roles at government agencies, community agencies, medical centers, consulting firms, and other areas where the discipline applies.
#1: Arizona State University, Scottsdale, Arizona
Arizona State University is arguably the king of online learning in the country. ASU Online, the university’s distance learning platform currently serves 30,000+ enrolled students in more than 150 programs, the majority of which have full accreditation, and with several topping ranking charts nationwide. Their online bachelor’s in Dietetics program is no exception.
The college of health solutions at Arizona State offers an online bachelor program in nutritional sciences that is one of the few distance education programs in dietetics in the U.S. with full accreditation from top industry regulatory bodies. The program is fully recognized by both the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Furthermore, students here are getting an education that includes all the latest developments in the field, as well as a faculty that is at the bleeding edge of dietetics, leading cutting-edge research in all aspects of the discipline.
The 120-hour curriculum includes classes in core elements of dietetics like healthy cuisine development, diet genes, and disease, health, and wellbeing, sports nutrition, social statistics, as well as a series of experiential learning experiences to ground the students in skills necessary for real-world practice further.
Besides, participants also get a foray into other disciplines like medicine, cell biology, food chemistry, and biochemistry, as well as relevant social skills like communication, social influence, and persuasion, to help mold them into competent career dietitians.
The school also offers a master’s degree in Applied Nutrition for students who want an even more professional grounding in the field.
Arizona State University’s Bachelor’s in dietetics has prolific alumni, with graduates that have gone on to work at regulatory bodies, government agencies, the health and wellness centers, and related nonprofit organizations.
Plus, students here can join an active network of peers and alums on the school’s digital student community, the Sun Devil Nation.