Possessing a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics is the standard for most Registered Dietitian Nutritionist jobs.
Each state regulates its dietitians and nutritionists, mandating how much education and experience is required and what examinations must be passed in order to be called a licensed or certified Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).
In addition to state licensure, certification and/or registration, registered dietitian nutritionists are also regulated nationally by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
- The minimum requirement for registration as a RD or RDN through the CDR is a bachelor’s degree.
- This degree must be earned from a school that has received accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Here, we will discuss the benefits of getting a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics and what you can do with that degree once you have it.
Reasons to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition
Even if you aren’t sure that you want to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), working within other fields in nutrition and dietetics becomes much easier when you have a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related area.
Making this education convenient for students at all stages of life, bachelor’s degrees in nutrition are available in a variety of formats, including:
Some people opt to earn a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics and then go on to get a graduate degree while working in the field. This allows them to gain valuable work experience while pursuing further education. Others use that bachelor’s degree in nutrition to begin a lucrative, challenging and fulfilling career.
Careers Available for Holders of a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition
Many who earn a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics do so with the aim of becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). While these are popular and admirable career tracks, they are not the only ones available for those who hold a bachelor’s degree in the nutrition and dietetics discipline.
Other career options include:
- Food Safety Auditor
- Registered Dietitian
- Health Advocate
- Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
- Trade Representative for Commodities Groups
- Veterinary Nutritionist
- Corporate Wellness Consultant
- Educator in School, Community or Government Nutrition Programs
- Eating Disorder Nutritionist
- Life Coach
- Quality Assurance Representative
- Public Health Nutritionist
- Health Coach
- Food Science Researcher
- Nutritional Therapist
- Food Service Management
- Licensed Nutritionist
Find Bachelor’s Degree Nutrition Program Info for Your State
The following bachelors and Master’s programs offer career-focused instruction delivered by trained nutritionists with experience in the field. Find out more what each individual course of study offers through the locations below.
American University offers two different programs focused on Nutrition and Health. Their Online Master of Science in Nutrition Education will prepare you to become an influential leader in nutrition education and advocacy while promoting nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices in your community and beyond. Or Earn your Master of Science in Health Promotion Management from AU’s award-winning program in just 20 months with $10K available in scholarships upon enrollment (qualifier is a 3.0 GPA).
UNC's MPH Nutrition concentration prepares students to provide, evaluate and communicate nutritional and dietary guidance that improves individual and population-wide health outcomes. In addition to developing their knowledge of nutrition science, students will explore behavior change, communication, counseling and the effects of dietary culture on individuals and communities.
Arizona State University offers an Online Master of Science in Nutritional Science - Dietetics. Along with an Online Masters in Medical Nutrition
Bay Path University's health and wellness certificates build the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to upskill your abilities in your profession or to provide a robust concentration to your degree program for a specific role. Learn more about the Certificate in Food Science and Safety certificate.
If you want to work in fitness and nutrition, take the first step toward a new career with one of Penn Foster's accredited, online fitness and training programs. These affordable programs are all offered online, and can be taken at your own pace.
Grand Canyon University offers an M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Winthrop University offers an Online Master of Science in Human Nutrition and an Online Master of Science in Sport and Fitness Administration
Examples of Bachelor’s Degrees in Nutrition and Dietetics
As mentioned above, if you are planning to earn a bachelor’s degree in the nutrition and dietetics arena, make sure that the program you choose holds accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Some examples of bachelor’s degree programs in nutrition include (but are not limited to):
- Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science
- Bachelor of Science in Human Biology- Emphasis in Nutrition & Dietetics
- Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Foods
- Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics
- Bachelor of Science in Nutrition
- Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Nutrition Science – Specialization in Dietetics
Coursework and Internship in a Bachelor’s Degree Program in Nutrition
Courses that you will likely take in a bachelor’s degree program in nutrition and dietetics may include (but are not limited to):
- Advanced Nutrition and Metabolism
- Community & Public Health Nutrition
- Ethnic Influences on Nutrition
- Food and Nutritional Health
- Human Nutrition
- Life Cycle Nutrition
- Management in Dietetic Practice
- Medical Nutrition Therapy
- Nutritional Biochemistry
- Quantity Food Production and Service
- Science of Food Preparation
- World Food and Population Issues
Under the rules of ACEND, in addition to completing a bachelor’s degree program in order to qualify for the RDN credential, you must also complete a dietetic internship. This supervised practice consists of at least 1000 hours of supervised practice in order to achieve RDN eligibility. Rotations are available in a variety of areas, including medical nutrition therapy, food systems management, community nutrition and dietetics research.
Credentialing and Specialization for Nutrition and Dietetics Bachelor’s Degree Holders
The most popular credential for those who hold a bachelor’s degree in nutrition is the RDN credential, designating that one is recognized nationwide as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Obtaining this credential currently involves getting a bachelor’s degree, completing the required internship and passing the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) exam.
As of January 1, 2024, the CDR will require at least a master’s degree in order to sit for the national credentialing examination that you must pass in order to become a RDN. You must still graduate from a school that is accredited by ACEND, complete a dietetic internship, and pass the exam, but will no longer be able to hold just a bachelor’s degree to qualify for RDN credentialing.
Areas of Specialization
There are other areas of nutrition and dietetics in which you may specialize and/or become credentialed if you hold a bachelor’s degree and a certain number of years of experience in the field (and pass an examination).
The following specialized credentials are also administered by CDR:
- Board Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition
- Board Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition
- Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics
- Board Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition
- Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition
Other credentials that you may pursue after you have a bachelor’s degree and are an RDN include:
- Certified Diabetes Educator, of the Certification Board for Diabetes Care and Education
- Certified Food Manager, of the American National Standards Institute
- Certified Dietary Manager, of the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals
- Certified Health Education Specialist, of the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing
- Certified Nutrition Support Clinician, of the National Board of Nutrition Support Certification
- Certified Eating Disorders Specialist, of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals
Salaries and Job Outlook for Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition Holders
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered dietitians/registered dietitian nutritionists earned an average salary of $65,620 as of May 2021. The highest paying states for these professionals, according to average salary, included:
- California: $82,380
- Washington DC: $80,600
- Hawaii: $75,020
- New Jersey: $74,850
- Rhode Island: $74,080
The top-paying industries for RDs/RDNs, according to average salary, included:
- Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing: $93,920
- Wholesalers of Nondurable goods: $85,880
- Home healthcare services: $79,100
- Federal agencies: $78,830
- Scientific research and development services: $74,990
2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for dietitians and nutritionists reflect national data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed April 2022.