Online associate's degree programs in nutrition are available in fully online and hybrid formats. While all of the coursework can be completed online, they may require an in-person practicum or internship, most often in the form of supervised training in a health care facility. In order to participate in some online classes, students need to connect their computers to a headset and/or microphone.
In some states, a bachelor's degree is required for nutritionists and dietitians, who must be licensed or professionally certified. Some states do not require professional credentialing; check for state-specific regulations when choosing a degree program. Aspiring dietetic technicians should look for programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
Associate's Degree in Nutrition
Associate's degree programs train students in the principles and theories of nutrition, including alternative practices in nutrition and health management. Online learners are educated in interviewing and counseling techniques, as well as preparing menus for clients' dietary needs. In addition to online instruction, students typically must complete supervised practice in hospitals, clinics or long-term care facilities.
Applicants typically must hold a high school diploma or GED. Most institutions typically allow students to transfer science and general elective credits earned through other accredited colleges or universities. A number of programs are offered completely online; however, hybrid programs are also available; which combine face-to-face classroom interaction and online learning. Online learners may be required to arrange supervised training in local training facilities or hospitals.
Students should have a computer meeting hardware and software requirements and a high-speed internet connection to access online learning platforms. Headsets or microphones are typically needed for audio interaction with classmates and professors.
Students examine current issues in nutrition and food service management. They gain practical knowledge in health promotion through the translation of nutritional needs into food choices and menus.
Introduction to Nutrition
Students examine the role of proper nutrition for the promotion of health and fitness. Major topics of discussion include designing individual nutritional programs and analyzing the relationship between nutrition and disease management.
Eating Disorders and Weight Management
This course provides an overview of the causes and effects of eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia. Students develop an understanding of the various approaches used to treat eating disorders, as well as the physical and psychological factors attributed to obesity. Training is also provided in the best practices utilized in conducting a counseling session and taking a patient's case study.
In this online course, students investigate career opportunities in nutrition, including dietetics and food service management. Training options and future trends in the nutrition field are also explored.
Associate's degree graduates can pursue a number of career options, including diet counselor and dietetic technician. In May 2015, the median annual salary of a dietetic technician was $26,040, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
Associate degree graduates holding 450 hours of supervised experience are qualified to sit for the national registry exam for dietetic technicians offered through the American Dietetic Association. Registered Dietetic Technicians must complete continuing education requirements to maintain registration. Board-certified credentialing is also offered through the Holistic Nutrition Credential Board. Graduates may choose to continue their education to become a dietician with a bachelor's and master's degree program in nutrition.
In online associate's degree programs in nutrition, students study basic dietary principles, improve their counseling skills and learn to develop dietary plans for patients with particular health concerns. When they finish, graduates can seek registration as dietetic technicians, or they can enroll in a bachelor's degree program in order to continue on the educational path to becoming a registered dietician.