Nutritionist Programs Overview

Nutritionists are experts in food, nutrition, diets and healthy lifestyles. The day-to-day life of a nutritionist might include working with clients to meet their health goals, selecting menu plans for patients, regularly evaluating the outcome of nutrition plans, and writing reports to document patient progress. They might work with those who simply want to live healthier, or they might work with patients who have significant health issues, such as diabetes or kidney failure. They might also speak to groups or individuals about the importance of healthy nutrition.

Degree programs

Those who choose to become a nutritionist typically earn at least a bachelor's degree. There are numerous majors that can lead to the proper degree, such as food service systems management, dietetics, food and nutrition, or clinical nutrition. Any degree through nutrition schools will typically focus heavily on nutrition, biology, chemistry and psychology courses.

It is very common for nutritionists to take their education further, earning advanced degrees in the field. These might include the master's degree or doctoral studies in nutrition and related degrees. Courses in advanced degree programs take nutrition education further, and may include the following:

  • Research methods
  • Clinical behavior and change
  • The role of food in society
  • Communications in health care
  • Finances of nutrition and wellness

In most states, nutritionists or dieticians must be licensed. Requirements for licensure typically include graduating from an accredited bachelor's degree program in nutrition or a related field, several hundred hours of supervised training and passing an exam.


Nutritionists go through several hundred hours of training in order to become proficient in their field. This training is supervised, often in the form of an internship shortly after graduation from the degree program. Some colleges and universities offer specialized programs that allow students to earn the experience they need while taking courses.

Nutritionists might choose to earn several certifications in order to enhance the services they can offer their patients. Many nutritionists choose the Certified Nutrition Specialist credential, or CNS. In order to earn this certification, students must complete a master's or doctoral degree, as well as complete 1,000 hours of supervised work. Some choose to pursue the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist credential, or RDN. This requires a bachelor's degree and completion of an internship program.

Career outlook

In 2011, work as a dietitian was listed as one of the least stressful jobs, according to CareerCast. Nutritionists and dietitians work in hospitals, private officers, residential care facilities, schools cafeterias and more. Most work full time, and 11 percent are self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov). Hours might include meeting with clients on evenings and weekends.

As understanding of the role food plays in health has increased, so have the employment options for nutritionists. Job growth of 21 percent is expected in the field from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS. Much of this growth can be attributed to the fact that one-third of U.S. adults are now considered obese, and many of those will seek help with diet and nutrition. The demand for nutritionists will also increase as the baby boomer generation ages and seeks out new ways to stay healthy. This aging population is also expected to spur the growth of jobs for nutritionists in nursing homes and home health care.


10 Least Stressful Jobs of 2011, CareerCast, http://www.careercast.com/content/10-least-stressful-jobs-2011-2-dietitian

Dietitians and Nutritionists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm

Nutritionist Schools

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            BS in Nutrition Science
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and Nutrition
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            Bachelor of Science: Nutrition Science
            •  Ranked one of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
            •  Offers a no-obligation, 3-week trial period where students may determine if the university is right for them before they commit to it.
            •  Strives to be a student’s partner in lifelong learning; committed to helping them achieve their goals.
            •  Serves students of all ages, from first-graders learning to read to professionals seeking postgraduate training.
            •  Provides career-oriented diploma through master’s programs in fields such as healthcare, business, legal and paralegal services, information technology, criminal justice and design.
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            Associate-Personal Trainer Fitness
            IBMC College , Colorado Springs


            IBMC College

            IBMC College offers life-changing, accelerated career training for adult learners. Whether you are a recent high school graduate, starting a new career or an individual looking to make a change, we can help you get started training for a new, rewarding career in 19 months or less, when following the prescribed coursework!

            MS Sport Management
            Give your career a boost with an education from Southern New Hampshire University. We offer certificates, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in over 100 programs in a wide variety of subjects.
            • Online Courses