Culinary Nutrition Degree and Certificate Program Overviews

Oct 11, 2019

Essential Information

Culinary nutrition combines nutrition principles and food preparation knowledge to prepare students to become dieticians, chefs and kitchen managers. Programs are available at the certificate level for aspiring culinary nutrition assistants and at the bachelor's degree level for aspiring registered dieticians (RDs). Becoming an RD involves additional training and examination requirements beyond the degree.

Culinary Nutrition Assistant Certificate

In this program, culinary students work to become food service assistants. This certificate program takes less than a year to complete. The program will place its students into working kitchens where they will receive hands-on instruction in food control, menu development and cuisine. Future chefs will also be taught how to run a kitchen and restaurant business.

Certificate programs include coursework in nutritional development, food service control, cooking and safety. Students also explore theories in sanitation and interpersonal development. Typical courses include:

  • Sanitation equipment
  • Purchasing and control in food service
  • Dietary health care
  • Cooking principles
  • Front of the house services

Bachelor's Degree in Culinary Nutrition

In a 4-year bachelor's degree, students become familiar with nutrition sciences, culinary arts and food evaluation techniques. The program delves into human anatomy and the foods that are beneficial to an individual's health. Internships place students in all types of test kitchens, health care facilities and vacation resorts. Culinary and nutritional professionals help students grasp the inner workings of nutrition and food service businesses.

Bachelor's degree programs explore the preparation, management, scientific and nutritional aspects of food. Students also complete general education requirements in humanities, sciences and mathematics. Typical courses include:

  • Human anatomy
  • Nutritional food technology
  • Professional food management
  • Advanced culinary studio
  • Vegetarian cuisine

Popular Career Options

Graduates have the theoretical knowledge and practical experience to gain prominent roles in the culinary nutrition field. Job positions include the following:

  • Personal chef
  • Assistant chef
  • Food service assistant

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to, the median annual salary for an executive chef was $59,984 as of September 2019. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected to show 11% growth for chefs and head cooks from 2018-2028 ( Additional career paths available to bachelor's holders include dietitian, caterer, nutrition consultant and health promotion consultant.

Continuing Education

Graduates can look to become certified as a registered dietician (RD). To obtain this credential, students must obtain a bachelor's degree accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association, as well as complete a CADE-accredited practice program at a medical facility. Then applicants must pass the national exam given by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

Students looking to pursue a career in culinary nutrition can do so at the bachelor's level or complete a certificate program. Bachelor's students learn about human anatomy and healthy food to prepare them for a career as a dietician, while those in the certificate program learn about food service safety and nutritional development.

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