Dietetics is a science-intensive discipline that concentrates on diet and nutrition. The discipline works to enable humans to be healthy through diet in terms of general health, as well as the treatment of diseases and other health ailments. O enable students to gain a deep understanding of how diet and exercise can positively and negatively affect human health. Through this knowledge, students are prepared to help people achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles. Those who enjoy science generally and wish to help people will find academic degrees in dietetics to be rewarding personally and professionally.
Online Associate Degree Programs for Dietetics
Currently, there are no online degree programs in dietetics at the associate level. There are, however, on-campus programs, which are typically offered by community colleges and technical schools. In these programs, students gain a general education as well as a nutrition education through such courses as Biology, Human Nutrition, Public Speaking, and English. An associate online degree program in dietetics is an academic path taken by students who want to enter into the nutrition field quickly. Associate degree programs take two years of full-time study and prepare students for entry-level positions, such as dietetic technicians.
Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Dietetics
Online bachelor degree programs in dietetics provide students with the minimum education they need to obtain careers as dietitians and nutritionists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The best online degree programs in dietetics prepare students for these careers. Students in bachelor’s degree programs generally spend four years studying to gain a deeper and broader understanding of nutrition and diet than those in associate programs. Most programs require students to complete not only an online academic curriculum, but an internship. This is because most Registered Dietitian (RD) and Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) licenses, which are mandatory in almost all states, require not only the completion of academic course work and an exam, but an internship.
Online Master’s Degree Programs for Dietetics
Most online degree programs for registered dietitian professionals are offered at the master’s level. According to the BLS, many Registered Dietitians and Certified Nutrition Speacialists possess advanced degrees. In master’s programs, students take a more research-based perspective on nutrition and diet. Many seek online masters degree programs because it makes them more marketable and enables them to earn higher salaries. Students are often required to complete a capstone or thesis project in which they conduct original research in an area of nutrition or diet. Master’s degrees customarily take about two years to complete. Please note, online programs are only offered by a few universities, such as the University of North Carolina and Colorado State University.
Online Doctoral Degree Programs for Dietetics
Online college degree programs in dietetics at the doctoral level are pursued by those who wish to enter into advanced research positions. These positions can be at universities, hospitals, and various government departments or offices, all of which generally require applicants to hold a doctoral degree. At this advanced level, students are required to take courses and then complete a dissertation. Degrees take between three and seven years to complete. The majority of students’ time tends to be concentrated on conducting research and writing their dissertation.
Online Degree Programs in Dietetics in the Work Place
Those with dietetics degrees generally enter into careers in research and/or health care. Some of the most common careers graduates seek are those as registered dietitians and licensed nutritionists. According to the BLS, the median salary for these professionals in 2010 was $53,250 annually. This salary projection, however, cannot be guaranteed on an individual basis as salary is dependent on education level, professional experience, and geographic location. The BLS also reports that hiring for these careers is expected to grow by 20% through 2020, making it a promising field to enter.