Online Dietician Certification and Certificate Program Information

A dietician is a professional who gives nutritional advice to clients looking to manage their weight, improve physical performance or mitigate the effects of disease. Though entry into the field typically necessitates completion of a bachelor's curriculum, the online certificate programs described in this article can help dieticians maintain state certifications and licenses.

Essential Information

A dietician certificate program does not lead to certification as a dietician. For that, a dietician needs at least a bachelor's degree as well as an internship. However, online certificate programs can be used to meet continuing education requirements for dieticians and provide information on nutrition to others who are interested. An online certificate program generally includes several courses that students take at their own pace over the internet. There are no in-person requirements.

Students should look for certificate programs that are approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), which is the credentialing agency for the American Dietetic Association (ADA), or the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, which is the accrediting agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Requirements vary, but licensing usually calls for earning the CDR's registered dietician credential. This standard has education and experience requirements.

Online Dietician Certificate Programs

Online certificates provide both refresher courses to working dieticians, as well as auxiliary knowledge to those working in related fields. Other working professionals may use these programs for continuing education, including personal trainers and medical professionals.

Program Information and Requirements

A typical dietician certificate program entails four to ten classes. Though some are graduate-level certificates requiring a bachelor's degree for admission, most are autonomous programs without prerequisites. Delivery typically takes the form of self-paced study, with lectures and homework delivered through online class forums and digital repositories.

A List of Common Dietician Courses

Most programs accredited by the American Dietetic Association (ADA) for certificate and continuing education in nutrition follow a similar course path. Topics cover nutrition as it applies to aspects of sports, weight management and more.

Nutrition and Wellness Course

This introductory class shows students the effects of a well-balanced diet, including decreased incidences of metabolic syndromes, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. The course uses the latest health research on different foods to discuss nutrition as a tool for overall health.

Weight Management Course

This program looks at the causes and effects of obesity, as well as exploring nutritional approaches to weight loss. Topics of discussion include fad diets and the importance of nutritious foods at different ages.

Public Education in Nutrition and Wellness course

Disseminating knowledge about the importance of nutrition is a challenge when dealing with large populations. This course addresses the tools necessary to affect the overall health of a population through nutrition education.

Sports Nutrition and Performance Course

This course focuses on nutrition as it applies to athletes and those engaged in intense fitness regimens. Topics of discussion include the safe application of nutritional supplements, game-day meals and the importance of meal plans in athletic training.

Career Information for Graduates

According to the ADA, certification as a dietician requires a bachelor's degree and completion of an accredited 6- to 12-month internship program ( Dietician certificate programs are not adequate for entry-level careers in dietetics, but can augment the skills of doctors, personal trainers and others.

Continuing Education

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 45 states require either a license or certification to work as a registered dietician. Although requirements vary by state, certification and licensure generally require that students earn a certain amount of continuing education units (CEU) to maintain their credentials. Online certificate programs accredited by the ADA can count for as much as 120 CEUs per course.

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