Associate degree programs in nutrition include instruction in planning and applying healthy nutritional regimens, in addition to metabolism, food chemistry and weight management. Coursework is often available online.
Most states require nutritionists to have a bachelor's degree to become certified or licensed by the state in which they work.
Associate's Degree in Nutrition
An associate degree in nutrition prepares students to use their knowledge of nutrition to promote healthier nutritional options for patients. At least a high school diploma (usually with a minimum 2.0 GPA) or GED is required to get accepted into this program. In addition, associate degree programs in nutrition require previous completion of basic algebra coursework and, occasionally, chemistry and biology classes.
Understanding medical terms and anatomy principles can help students succeed in these programs. Curricula include both science prerequisites and topical nutrition classes. Coursework covers the following areas:
- Culinary studies
- Food science
- Nutrition therapy
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 higher 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 16% from 2014-2024. In May of 2015, these professionals made a median income of $57,910 a year, as reported by the BLS.
Aspiring nutritionists can take the first step towards this career through associate degree programs that include instruction in subjects like food science and physiology. Upon completion, they can transfer to a 4-year bachelor's degree program, which qualifies graduates for certification or licensure in their chosen state of practice.