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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty has the #1 online nutri­tion­al sci­ence cer­tifi­cate.
  • The cer­tifi­cates cov­er var­i­ous areas with­in nutri­tion­al sci­ence, cater­ing to diverse inter­ests and career paths, from clin­i­cal nutri­tion to nutri­tion edu­ca­tion and well­ness coaching.
  • Online cer­tifi­cates are tai­lored to enhance careers in nutri­tion and well­ness, pro­vid­ing essen­tial knowl­edge and skills that are applic­a­ble in many set­tings, such as health­care, sports, and com­mu­ni­ty health.

Those pon­der­ing careers in nutri­tion and well­ness may well won­der how to become a nutri­tion­ist with­out a degree in nutri­tion. It’s a rea­son­able ques­tion, since there is very lit­tle in the way of stan­dards for a career in nutri­tion. While the title “dietit­ian” is high­ly reg­u­lat­ed by law, and cer­ti­fied by a nation­al licens­ing exam, in most states there is no such reg­u­la­tion to work as a nutri­tion­ist. There are many options for nutri­tion­ist careers with­out RD licen­sure; the cen­tral ques­tions are what it takes to get hired as a nutri­tion­ist, and what kinds of stan­dards your state sets to call your­self a nutritionist.

In both cas­es, a bachelor’s degree in nutri­tion may not be nec­es­sary at all. That’s why online nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams are begin­ning to appear all over the US. There are two main routes; under­grad­u­ate nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams require only a high school diplo­ma to apply and pro­vide the basics of a nutri­tion bachelor’s degree, with­out gen­er­al edu­ca­tion or upper-divi­sion nutri­tion cours­es. Grad­u­ate nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams, on the oth­er hand, are designed for peo­ple who already have a bachelor’s in anoth­er field, pro­vid­ing the nutri­tion cours­es they would get in a bachelor’s or mas­ter’s in nutri­tion pro­gram to add to their credentials.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Nutrition Certification Programs

Any prospec­tive stu­dent look­ing at a nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram is like­ly to have one goal — a career as a nutri­tion­ist. With that in mind, the Bachelor’s Degree Cen­ter rank­ing of the best online nutri­tion­ist cer­tifi­cate has ranked pro­grams based on fac­tors that are crit­i­cal to the job market:

  • Rep­u­ta­tion (Niche stu­dent reviews)
  • Alum­ni Salary (Col­lege Score­card data)
  • Grad­u­ate Employ­ment (IPEDS data)

Rep­u­ta­tion, return on invest­ment, and employ­ment rate are data that point to job mar­ket suc­cess. With high scores in these areas, prospec­tive stu­dents can feel con­fi­dent that the best online nutri­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams will help them actu­al­ly get jobs, and see real results from their work.

1. Cornell University — eCornell

Cor­nell University’s nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram pro­vides 2 straight­for­ward options. Stu­dents may either earn a Nutri­tion and Healthy Liv­ing cer­tifi­cate or a Nutri­tion Coun­sel­ing cer­tifi­cate. Both pro­grams help stu­dents learn how food impacts the body and mind. This pro­gram does not require a Bachelor’s degree for entry (only high school biol­o­gy cred­its), and it lasts for only 6 months, so start­ing the course means that you’re not far from get­ting your career start­ed. To start a no-non­sense path to one of the best online nutri­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams, check out Cornell.

eCor­nell, a branch of Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty, has sev­er­al award-win­ning cer­tifi­cate pro­grams. eCornell’s flex­i­ble sys­tem lets stu­dents learn while work­ing and com­plet­ing oth­er respon­si­bil­i­ties. These pro­grams are also per­son­al­ized to meet stu­dents’ needs, and they’re reg­u­lar­ly updat­ed with the most rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion. With eCor­nell, stu­dents get exact­ly what they need with­out any unnec­es­sary cours­es (or expense).

Title: Nutri­tion and Healthy Liv­ing Cer­tifi­cate or Nutri­tion Coun­sel­ing Cer­tifi­cate
Time/Credits: 6 months

Learn more about the nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate here!

2. University of Southern California

The Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern California’s nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram is a 12-unit course com­ing from the USC School of Phar­ma­cy, so you’ll know that you’re get­ting a qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion. This pro­gram teach­es stu­dents the basics of food safe­ty, giv­ing them the skills they’ll need to over­see food pro­duc­tion. For those who specif­i­cal­ly want a food safe­ty career, USC pro­vides the best online nutri­tion certification.

As one of the world’s top research uni­ver­si­ties, USC pro­vides some of the best online learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. This school has high stan­dards, and a cer­tifi­cate from USC brings a cer­tain weight­i­ness and respect. Its pro­grams will def­i­nite­ly sharp­en your skills. In fact, The Wall Street Jour­nal ranked USC 15th among more than 1,000 universities.

Title: Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate in Food Safe­ty
Time/Credits: 12 credits

Learn more about the nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate here!

3. Tufts University

For flex­i­bil­i­ty and options in your nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram, Tufts Uni­ver­si­ty’s nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram has 6 dif­fer­ent cer­tifi­cate options, and all 6 are designed for work­ing adults who want to take their careers to a new lev­el. Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion stu­dents can take as many or as few class­es as they want to take. When a stu­dent suc­cess­ful­ly com­pletes 3 cours­es, he or she will earn a cer­tifi­cate. Stu­dents can take those cours­es at their own pace, so if you need flex­i­bil­i­ty more than any­thing else, Tufts Uni­ver­si­ty has the best online nutri­tion certification.

Tufts Uni­ver­si­ty pro­vides an edu­ca­tion based on cut­ting-edge research and inno­va­tion. Stu­dents here learn about all of the lat­est changes to their fields. With this knowl­edge, stu­dents learn how to adapt to growth. With health sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy chang­ing so often, stu­dents can gain a lot from this kind of evolv­ing education.

Title: 6 options — Devel­op­ing Healthy Com­mu­ni­ties
Glob­al Nutri­tion Pro­gram­ming
Nutri­tion For Indus­try Pro­fes­sion­als and Entre­pre­neurs
Nutri­tion Sci­ence for Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Pro­fes­sion­als
Nutri­tion Sci­ence for Health Pro­fes­sion­als
Sus­tain­able Agri­cul­ture & Food Sys­tems
Time/Credits: Self-Paced

Learn more about the nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate here!

4. University of Wisconsin — Madison

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Wisconsin’s Online Cap­stone Cer­tifi­cate in Clin­i­cal Nutri­tion is a 12-cred­it pro­gram that adds knowl­edge and skills to your cur­rent bachelor’s degree or pro­fes­sion­al work. Teach­ing advanced skills, this online nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram can help stu­dents deep­en their careers. Fur­ther­more, if you decide to go to grad school for nutri­tion, those 12 cred­its count toward your degree. For a nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion that can take you places, U of W Madi­son will get you where you need to go.

U of W Madi­son is the flag­ship of the 13 cam­pus­es that com­prise the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin sys­tem. Long rec­og­nized as one of the nation’s lead­ers in both teach­ing and research, UW has also become a world leader in online edu­ca­tion in recent years, using tech­nol­o­gy to reach Wisconsin’s rur­al pop­u­la­tions and work­ing adults. The Bio­log­i­cal Sci­ences are some of this school’s top pro­grams. Based in Wisconsin’s capi­tol city, U of W Madi­son pro­vides plen­ty of resources for stu­dents to learn and grow.

Title: Online Cap­stone Cer­tifi­cate in Clin­i­cal Nutri­tion
Time/Credits: 12 credits

Learn more about the nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate here!

5. University of Michigan

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Michigan’s Phys­i­cal Activ­i­ty and Nutri­tion Cer­tifi­cate brings togeth­er fac­ul­ty from both the School of Kine­si­ol­o­gy and the School of Pub­lic Health for an inte­grat­ed approach to learn­ing. Stu­dents learn about how move­ment and nutri­tion com­bine to cre­ate dif­fer­ent health out­comes. Stu­dents who want to par­tic­i­pate in this pro­gram must already be grad stu­dents at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan, and they must com­plete at least one semes­ter of course­work before they can add a cer­tifi­cate. Still, for those who want to add nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion to their exist­ing degree, this pro­gram works well.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan has one of the top 3 kine­si­ol­o­gy pro­grams in the nation, so health stu­dents here get to work with some of the best fac­ul­ty avail­able. This school has been a leader among Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ties for decades. Old tra­di­tions com­bine with inno­va­tion to cre­ate some of the best edu­ca­tion­al expe­ri­ences, includ­ing one of the best online nutri­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams in the world.

Title: Phys­i­cal Activ­i­ty & Nutri­tion Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate
Time/Credits: 12 credits

Learn more about the nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate here!

6. American University (DC)

Amer­i­can University’s grad­u­ate cer­tifi­cate in Nutri­tion Edu­ca­tion is an 18 cred­it addi­tion to any exist­ing bachelor’s degree that pre­pares stu­dents for work as nutri­tion advi­sors and teach­ers. The Nutri­tion Edu­ca­tion cer­tifi­cate is made up from cours­es in the MS in Health Pro­mo­tion Man­age­ment, so stu­dents who want to go far­ther and earn a full master’s degree lat­er can con­sid­er the cer­tifi­cate a head start. This nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram uses a mix of online and on-cam­pus cours­es. Class sub­jects include weight con­trol and health communication.

Amer­i­can Uni­ver­si­ty attracts stu­dents who want to change the world. Many of its stu­dents go on to work with Teach for Amer­i­ca, the Peace Corps, and sim­i­lar orga­ni­za­tions. With a diverse cam­pus cul­ture and inter­na­tion­al­ly rec­og­nized fac­ul­ty mem­bers, Amer­i­can Uni­ver­si­ty pro­vides a great edu­ca­tion from sev­er­al per­spec­tives. If you want to help oth­ers with your nutri­tion­ist career, then Amer­i­can Uni­ver­si­ty could be the best online nutri­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for you.

Title: Nutri­tion Edu­ca­tion (Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate)
Time/Credits: 18 credits

Learn more about the nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate here!

7. University of Kansas Medical Center

Want to help peo­ple use nutri­tion to pre­vent dis­ease? The Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas Med­ical Cen­ter grad­u­ate cer­tifi­cate in Dietet­ics and Inte­gra­tive Med­i­cine will help you get start­ed. Designed to help stu­dents advise patients, this nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion will teach stu­dents impor­tant nutri­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills. The pro­gram pre­pares stu­dents to advise patients in a vari­ety of set­tings, from tra­di­tion­al health­care set­tings to com­ple­men­tary med­i­cine cen­ters. If you already have a health-relat­ed degree and want to add more skills to your tool­box, then this pro­gram may be the best online nutri­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for you.

The KU Med­ical Cen­ter val­ues research and aca­d­e­mics. It gives stu­dents a prac­ti­cal learn­ing envi­ron­ment so that they can help real-world patients and learn about growth in the med­ical field. Even online stu­dents ben­e­fit from this hands-on approach. Though they don’t meet in a class­room, online stu­dents learn from top researchers how to apply their online skills to real-world sce­nar­ios. This school turns stu­dents into leaders.

Title: Dietet­ics and Inte­gra­tive Med­i­cine Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate Pro­gram
Time/Credits: 12 credits

Learn more about the nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate here!

8. Colorado State University Online

Col­orado State’s online Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate in Nutri­tion­al Sci­ence helps stu­dents meet their career goals by teach­ing a wide range of health-relat­ed sub­jects with­in the con­text of nutri­tion. Stu­dents get a sol­id back­ground in health top­ics, learn about emerg­ing sci­ence, and study how to respond to nutri­ent defi­cien­cies and dis­ease. As a ful­ly online pro­gram, this nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­vides con­ve­nience and flex­i­bil­i­ty. If you want to round out your knowl­edge with­out going back to a col­lege cam­pus, this pro­gram could be your best online nutri­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram choice.

Col­orado State Online pro­vides the best that CSU has to offer with the flex­i­bil­i­ty of an online sched­ule. Online stu­dents still have access to excel­lent research and com­mit­ted fac­ul­ty mem­bers. CSU has pro­vid­ed dis­tance learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for over 50 years, so they know how to pro­vide a great pro­gram for stu­dents learn­ing off-cam­pus. Nation­al­ly rec­og­nized and afford­able, Col­orado State makes a great edu­ca­tion­al choice.

Title: Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate in Nutri­tion­al Sci­ence
Time/Credits: 9 credits

Learn more about the nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate here!

9. Simmons University

Sim­mons University’s Cer­tifi­cate in Sports Nutri­tion pro­gram (CSN) that helps stu­dents expand their health­care exper­tise. With this nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, stu­dents can help ath­letes with fit­ness and nutri­tion. Grad­u­ates from this pro­gram help their clients pre­vent injury and make the most of their ath­let­ic careers. Note that this is a grad­u­ate cer­tifi­cate, so stu­dents must already have a degree from a region­al­ly accred­it­ed uni­ver­si­ty or an insti­tu­tion of high­er learn­ing abroad. If you want to expand your knowl­edge, learn online, and pre­pare your­self for the ACSM Health/Fitness Instructor’s Exam, then Sim­mons may pro­vide the best online nutri­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for your needs.

As a small school in a big city, Sim­mons Uni­ver­si­ty has the best of all worlds. They draw from big-city resources, but they have the inti­mate feel of a small school. Even in online class­es, stu­dents ben­e­fit from the resources and inti­ma­cy. For exam­ple, they learn from high­ly skilled fac­ul­ty mem­bers, and those fac­ul­ty mem­bers are avail­able to answer ques­tions. The Prince­ton Review has ranked Sim­mons among the top Uni­ver­si­ties mul­ti­ple times.

Title: Cer­tifi­cate in Sports Nutri­tion (CSN)
Time/Credits: 1–2 years

Learn more about the nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate here!

10. Appalachian State University

Appalachi­an State University’s Pub­lic Health Nutri­tion Prac­tice grad­u­ate cer­tifi­cate draws stu­dents who want to make big changes in the health­care world. Appli­cants must have a Bachelor’s degree to enter this nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram. These stu­dents learn how to make nutri­tion a major part of health and patient care. All 15 cred­its from this online pro­gram trans­fer to ASU’s Mas­ter of Nutri­tion pro­gram should you decide to take that route. Oth­er­wise, you can go straight into a career as a food pol­i­cy direc­tor, nutri­tion pro­gram direc­tor, or plen­ty of oth­er jobs. One of the best online nutri­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams in the nation com­bines flex­i­bil­i­ty with in-depth learning.

ASU is a top choice for stu­dents who want to invest in the future — not just their own future, but the future of peo­ple around the world. Class­es at ASU show stu­dents how they can use their skills in a broad­er cul­tur­al con­text. If you want to become a part of a diverse col­lege that takes a holis­tic approach to edu­ca­tion, then check out Appalachi­an State.

Title: Pub­lic Health Nutri­tion Prac­tice Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate
Time/Credits: 15 credits

Learn more about the nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate here!

11. University of Arizona Online

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Ari­zona Online Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate in Applied Nutri­tion is built on evi­dence that good nutri­tion can improve patient out­comes. As an applied nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, the GCAN pro­gram empow­ers stu­dents to use their skills in dif­fer­ent set­tings, apply­ing research and the­o­ry to patient needs. Con­sis­tent­ly updat­ed to reflect cur­rent needs, this pro­gram pro­vides the best online nutri­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for some who want a con­tem­po­rary alter­na­tive to a Master’s degree.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Ari­zona com­bines excel­lent research and aca­d­e­mics. This school has a small stu­dent-to-teacher ratio, and stu­dents here get a flex­i­ble bal­ance between life and school. Of course, online stu­dents enjoy this flex­i­bil­i­ty the most. A 2017 Gallup study found that “Ari­zona stu­dents are health­i­er, hap­pi­er, and more suc­cess­ful than their peers nation­al­ly.” For one of the best online nutri­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams in the nation, UA stu­dents can’t go wrong.

Title: Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate in Applied Nutri­tion (GCAN)
Time/Credits: 14-unit

Learn more about the nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate here!

12. University of Cincinnati

The Col­lege of Allied Health Sci­ences offers the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cincinnati’s grad­u­ate cer­tifi­cate in Human Nutri­tion. Entire­ly online, this nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram was designed for med­ical stu­dents and work­ing health­care pro­fes­sion­als who want to add cut­ting-edge nutri­tion knowl­edge to their careers. Fac­ul­ty mem­bers pro­vide advanced course­work with enough flex­i­bil­i­ty to help the work­ing adult. With just 12 cred­its, even part-time stu­dents can com­plete one of the nation’s best online nutri­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams in less than a year.

UC val­ues the learn­ing expe­ri­ence and takes a hands-on approach. It bal­ances text­book exam­ples with real-life appli­ca­tions. Online stu­dents get to learn from prac­ti­cal exam­ples and get answers from some of the best teach­ers in the coun­try. This big-city school means big resources for stu­dents and teachers.

Title: Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate in Human Nutri­tion
Time/Credits: 12 credits

13. Bowling Green University eCampus

The Bowl­ing Green Uni­ver­si­ty Food and Nutri­tion Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate is per­fect for stu­dents who want to go beyond their bachelor’s degree but don’t need a master’s degree. Do you want to know how food and nutri­tion applies to your cur­rent health career? Do you want to learn an array of top­ics and get a sol­id foun­da­tion of knowl­edge? Stu­dents here learn how to use nutri­tion to improve lives. If that sounds like what you want, then this nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion could be the one for you.

BGSU’s eCam­pus has some of the strongest aca­d­e­mics that an online school can pro­vide. Tai­lored to busy adults every­where, this pro­gram helps its stu­dents get the most out of their stud­ies with­out sac­ri­fic­ing their work lives. Busi­ness Insid­er called BGSU Ohio’s best uni­ver­si­ty for qual­i­ty and afford­abil­i­ty. That makes the Food and Nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate, one of the best online nutri­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams in the nation, a real val­ue as well.

Title: Cer­tifi­cate in Food and Nutri­tion
Time/Credits: 15 credits

Learn more about the nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate here!

14. University of Texas at San Antonio

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas at San Antonio’s health pro­gram has a lot of options, includ­ing grad­u­ate cer­tifi­cate pro­grams and bachelor’s degrees. UT San Antonio’s Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate in Com­mu­ni­ty Nutri­tion pre­pares stu­dents to use nutri­tion to ben­e­fit peo­ple of all ages and all walks of life. The 100% online pro­gram has 12 cred­its. To apply, stu­dents must have a bach­e­lor’s degree in Health Edu­ca­tion, Health Pro­mo­tion, Pub­lic Health, Psy­chol­o­gy, Nutri­tion, or Dietet­ics. If you want a fast and con­ve­nient way to con­tribute to pub­lic health, then this nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion will help you find a way.

UTSA val­ues a mix of research, col­lab­o­ra­tion, and diver­si­ty. Stu­dents and fac­ul­ty from all walks of life work togeth­er to pro­duce inno­va­tion and pre­pare for the lat­est job chal­lenges. Grad­u­ates from this school are ready to suc­ceed right out of the gate. UTSA will help you build a foun­da­tion that will serve you for the rest of your life with one of America’s best online nutri­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion programs.

Title: Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate in Com­mu­ni­ty Nutri­tion
Time/Credits: 12 credits

Learn more about the nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate here!

15. Liberty University

Lib­er­ty University’s Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate in Nutri­tion allows stu­dents to earn their nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in as few as 6 months. This helps stu­dents enhance com­mu­ni­ty well­ness with­in their own pro­fes­sions. Stu­dents learn how to make the most of nutri­tion and metab­o­lism. If you want to start mak­ing a dif­fer­ence as quick­ly as pos­si­ble, then Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty may have the best online nutri­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for your needs.

Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty is a Chris­t­ian school. Faith per­me­ates all of its teach­ings, includ­ing those of its online school. Online pro­grams allow stu­dents to set their own learn­ing pace, though stu­dents do have spe­cif­ic assign­ment dead­lines. The school has excel­lent aca­d­e­mics, so those who love learn­ing find their home at Lib­er­ty. If you have a pas­sion for your faith and for study, Lib­er­ty University’s award-win­ning pro­grams may help you find your place.

Title: Grad­u­ate Cer­tifi­cate in Nutri­tion
Time/Credits: 6 months; 15 credits

Learn more about the nutri­tion cer­tifi­cate here!

Can You Become a Nutritionist Without a Nutrition Degree?

If you’re won­der­ing how to become a nutri­tion­ist with­out a degree in nutri­tion, you’ve come to the right place. Careers in nutri­tion and well­ness are some of the fastest-grow­ing in the nation; nutri­tion is a ris­ing field of work, with career growth expect­ed to increase by much faster than aver­age with­in the next ten years. Pre­ven­ta­tive health­care is an impor­tant part of soci­ety, and part of pre­ven­ta­tive care is the imple­men­ta­tion of diet and nutri­tion. Through these mea­sures, peo­ple can live long and healthy lives while decreas­ing the like­li­hood of dis­ease. That is why cer­ti­fied nutri­tion­ists and dieti­tians are so high in demand today.

While a degree in nutri­tion or dietet­ics will sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase your abil­i­ty to build a career in nutri­tion and dietet­ics, it is still pos­si­ble to become a nutri­tion­ist with­out a degree in nutri­tion. Some form of spe­cial­ized edu­ca­tion is expect­ed for careers in nutri­tion and food sci­ence, how­ev­er. If you’re won­der­ing how to become a nutri­tion­ist with­out a degree, it’s fair­ly straight­for­ward; nutri­tion­ist cer­tifi­cate pro­grams are offered at uni­ver­si­ties, com­mu­ni­ty col­leges, and accred­it­ed schools both online and offline. A cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram should teach stu­dents the basics of the field, like food sci­ence, pub­lic health­care, and how to coun­sel peo­ple when it comes to diet or nutrition.

Nutri­tion pro­fes­sion­als should learn about top­ics like:

  • nutri­tion therapy
  • macronu­tri­ents
  • food choic­es
  • eat­ing habits
  • sup­ple­ments
  • holis­tic nutrition
  • healthy eat­ing fundamentals
  • chron­ic dis­ease relat­ed to nutrition
  • obe­si­ty
  • behav­ior change

An nutri­tion spe­cial­ist has learned about a spe­cial­iza­tion. That may be a spe­cif­ic nutri­tion plan, like Pre­ci­sion Nutri­tion, or it may be a gen­er­al top­ic like plant-based nutri­tion. Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sports Med­i­cine (NASM)-certified per­son­al train­ers and oth­er fit­ness pro­fes­sion­als may also find an advan­tage in becom­ing a cer­ti­fied nutri­tion coach for their clients. After a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion course, providers will also need to keep up their edu­ca­tion cred­its to keep their nutri­tion coach cer­ti­fi­ca­tion through class­es or inter­ac­tive mod­ules online.

How­ev­er, you can­not become a reg­is­tered dietit­ian with­out a degree in nutri­tion, dietet­ics, food sci­ence, or some relat­ed area. Dieti­tians tend to face high­er stan­dards than nutri­tion­ists do, and some orga­ni­za­tions will only hire reg­is­tered dieti­tians. Hir­ing stan­dards for careers in nutri­tion with­out a degree also vary state by state. In order to become a reg­is­tered dietit­ian, the stu­dent must earn a bachelor’s degree that is accred­it­ed by the Com­mis­sion of Accred­i­ta­tion for Dietet­ics Edu­ca­tion (CADE). Then the grad­u­ate will need to reg­is­ter with the Com­mis­sion of Dietet­ic Reg­is­tra­tion. Dieti­tians tend to work under stricter gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tion than nutri­tion­ists, since they are essen­tial­ly pre­scrib­ing treat­ment in the form of meal plans.

What Kind of Careers in Nutrition Can I Get Without Being a Registered Dietitian?

A career in nutri­tion and dietet­ics oppor­tu­ni­ties are lim­it­ed with­out a degree. If you sim­ply want to become a health coach of some kind, a nutri­tion­ist cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram with­out a col­lege degree may be all you need to set up shop on your own (reg­u­la­tions vary from state to state, but in most areas, as long as you’re pro­vid­ing gen­er­al nutri­tion advice and not pre­scrib­ing treat­ment plans, you’ll be fine). You may also get your­self hired in a gym or non­prof­it, where careers in nutri­tion and health are less reg­u­lat­ed. Accord­ing to the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics, fit­ness coach­es and health instruc­tors tend to make about $45,380 per year.

How­ev­er, if you are inter­est­ed in high­er salaries or a broad­er array of career options, a bachelor’s degree will help you in that endeav­or. If you’re not inter­est­ed in get­ting a bachelor’s in nutri­tion, adding a grad­u­ate cer­tifi­cate in nutri­tion or dietet­ics can open up careers in nutri­tion and well­ness. Nutri­tion­ists and dieti­tians who receive degrees make around $69,350 annu­al­ly. Those who work in out­pa­tient care facil­i­ties and hos­pi­tals tend to have the high­est wages.

Can I Get a Dietetics Certificate Online?

Some dietet­ic cours­es or pro­grams can be com­plet­ed online. How­ev­er, in order to receive full accred­i­ta­tion as a reg­is­tered dietit­ian, the grad­u­ate needs to com­plete an in-per­son intern­ship pro­gram as well as a bach­e­lors degree. With some schools, it is pos­si­ble to enroll in online cours­es for a dietet­ic degree while also per­form­ing an intern­ship at a near­by loca­tion. While it may be more dif­fi­cult to find, a stu­dent may be able to find a post-bac­calau­re­ate dietet­ics online program.

What the stu­dent learns will depend large­ly on the type of pro­gram he or she signs up for. Post-bac­calau­re­ate dietet­ics online cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams tend to cov­er a broad range of top­ics for stu­dents. Nutri­tion­al or dietet­ic edu­ca­tion usu­al­ly involves learn­ing about nutri­tion­al sci­ence, food sci­ence, pub­lic health­care, biol­o­gy, psy­chol­o­gy, anato­my, phys­i­ol­o­gy, and chem­istry. The stu­dent might learn impor­tant job skills like nutri­tion­al coun­sel­ing, food meal plan­ning, and how to pro­mote health through diet­ing and nutri­tion. Stu­dents who study in bach­e­lor’s or mas­ter’s pro­grams might learn about more spe­cial­ized areas with­in health and nutri­tion, mak­ing a post bac­calau­re­ate dietet­ics online pro­gram con­ve­nient and useful.

Relat­ed Rank­ings:
Best Cam­pus Nutri­tion­al Sci­ence Degrees
Best Online Nutri­tion­al Sci­ence Cer­tifi­cate Pro­grams
Most Afford­able Nutri­tion­al Sci­ence Degrees