How to Get an Online Associate’s Degree in Nutrition
If you have always been health conscious and intrigued by diet and nutrition, then pursuing an associate’s degree in nutrition may be a good choice. At the associate’s level, you will be exposed to the principles and theories of nutrition, including alternative practices in nutrition and health management. Additionally, you will learn how to interview and counsel, and prepare menus for clients’ dietary needs.
Because the healthcare industry is booming more than ever now that the Baby Boomers are getting older, nutrition is a great career path to consider. In addition to helping others live more healthier lives, you can also use your acquired knowledge to enforce better eating and lifestyle habits for yourself.
To qualify for earning an associate’s degree in nutrition, candidates must have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED.
The associate’s degree typically takes two years of full-time study to complete. However, if you choose to earn your credential online, you may be able to complete it earlier. Depending on how many classes you can take per quarter/semester, you may be able to finish a lot quicker.
If you are busy but looking to go to school while still attending to your personal obligations, pursuing an associate’s degree in nutrition online could be a great option. Distance learning can work really well for those who are motivated and independent learners. It is important to make sure that the college you choose is accredited so that the credits you earn can be easily transferred to a four-year college should you decide to continue your education. By virtually attending classes online, you will have access to all course materials and participate in class discussions just like you would normally in a traditional classroom setting. By pursuing your degree online, you would be able to log into the classroom portal from anywhere and anytime to complete required coursework and exams. Students can easily communicate with other students and their professors via chat platforms and email.
Common Associate’s in Nutrition Curriculum
Nutrition is a fascinating subject to study if you love reading nutrition facts, eating health-conscious foods, and reminding your friends and family what is healthy and what is not. While you pursue your associate’s degree, you will examine current issues in nutrition and food service management.
Some classes you can expect to take at this level include:
- Introduction to nutrition
- Eating disorders and weight management
- Nutrition professions
- Nutrition and disease
- Food and culture
- Food preparation, sanitation, and safety
- Developmental nutrition
- Human nutrition
The list is endless and depending on what school you go to, you may take different variations of the above listed classes.
In addition to nutrition related courses, you may also be required to take some electives and general education classes before graduating. These classes will help you develop a well-rounded foundation of knowledge that will be useful in understanding real-life situations and succeeding in your job in the future. Many of these general education course requirements can be waived if you took AP classes and passed their respective exams in high school. If this sounds like it might be you, we recommend checking with your college counselor to see which classes you might not have to retake.
If you decide to pursue your degree online, you may be required to complete a practicum which will require you to meet on site in local training facilities or hospitals to get supervised training and hands-on experience.
Associate’s in Nutrition Careers
The associate’s degree is a great stepping stone for those who plan on really pursuing their career in nutrition. With the industry being so competitive, most students move on to earn their bachelor’s or higher in a related field. Advancement opportunities are much more plentiful after graduating with at least a bachelor’s.
If you prefer to get work experience right away after earning your associate’s degree, you can apply to become a dietetic technician at your local hospital, wellness center, or private clinic. As a dietetic technician, you will be expected to be able to plan menus for patients, monitor their meals and nutrition intake, and supervise the production and delivery of food to organizations. Salary will vary on a number of factors like location, education level, and work experience, but the mean annual wage for a dietetic technician is roughly $30,000 a year in the United States.
Of course, your salary will likely increase with higher credentials. Should you decide to go the step further after earning your associate’s to get your bachelor’s or master’s, you can most likely land a job as a registered dietitian or nutritionist after graduating.
If you love the idea of helping others adopt healthy lifestyles and coaching them on what to eat and what to avoid, studying nutrition will put you in the right direction toward a very rewarding and fun career. Get started by pursuing an associate’s degree in nutrition online!