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Associate Degree in Nutrition: Program and Career Information

Learn about coursework in associate's degree programs in nutrition. Find out about continuing education and certification options, as well as employment outlook in the field.

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Essential Information

Associate degree programs in nutrition prepare students for entry-level work in health and wellness and for bachelor's degree-completion programs in nutrition. These associate degree programs include instruction in planning and applying healthy nutritional regimens, in addition to metabolism, food chemistry and weight management.

Most states require nutritionists to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree and to become certified or licensed by the state in which they work.

Educational Prerequisites

Prospective students must first earn high school diplomas or GEDs, usually with GPAs of 2.0 or higher. In addition, associate degree programs in nutrition require previous completion of basic algebra coursework and, occasionally, chemistry and biology classes.

Program Coursework

Curricula include both science prerequisites and topical nutrition classes. Coursework covers the following areas:

  • Biochemistry
  • Culinary studies
  • Food science
  • Metabolism
  • Nutrition therapy
  • Physiology
  • Sports nutrition

Continuing Education Information

Graduates who want to become nutritionists usually must go on to earn a bachelor's degree. This is because certification or licensure is required in order to practice as a nutritionist, and the licensing process may only be open to those with a bachelor's degree or above in nutrition, due to the scarcity of associate-level programs. Certification and licensure programs sometimes require candidates to complete a hands-on internship, as well as an exam. Requirements vary by state.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The job outlook is above average for nutritionists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), employment of dietitians and nutritionists was expected to grow by 20% from 2010-2020. In May of 2012, nutritionists made a mean income of $56,170 a year, as reported by the BLS. The highest-paid ten percent earned over $77,590 annually, while the lowest-paid ten percent earned less than $34,500 annually.

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