Can I become a Registered Dietitian Online without a Nutrition Degree?

The evolution of online education has changed the scope of education. You can now study, become registered to practice a profession you basically have no degree in. In this light, it is very important to understand if it is really necessary to have a degree in Nutrition, to be recognized as a registered dietitian, especially through online studies.

You should find out if you can become a registered dietitian online without a nutrition degree and learn about the different programs of registered dietitians online.

Let’s give you a little hint. In the course of the article, you will be surprised to learn that studying nutrition is not always the best path for this career.

This is because the academy that oversees the registry of dietitians would prefer that you study dietetics.

This and more information about this, you will discover as you go through the details to understand if you can become a registered dietitian online without a Nutrition Degree.

Who is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)?

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are nutrition experts and are the only legally recognized nutrition professionals in the United States and other parts of the world.

RDNs work in a variety of settings that include (among others) hospitals, clinics, public health, business, private practice, sports, universities, and research.

Having a career as a dietitian has always been named one of the best in the country. As society becomes increasingly aware of the importance of nutrition in health outcomes, the need for RDN grows.

In fact, the demand for dietitians is expected to grow faster than average, to 21% over the next ten years.

The most important point to consider about nutritionists is that anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, with or without nutrition education or certification.

In fact, there are many “nutritionist certifications” online that can be done in less than a day. However, there are many degree programs that one can take to obtain a degree in Nutrition.

The titles Registered Dietitian and “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist” are interchangeable and each dietitian may choose to use the credential of their choice. Simply put, all dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are dietitians.

What is a Nutrition Degree?

A degree in nutrition is the first step to becoming a dietitian or nutritionist. You will need at least a bachelor’s degree, but advanced degrees are common in this field.

If your career goals include nutritional counseling, which is defined as assessing a client’s needs, setting nutritional goals and offering advice, find out what the licensing and licensing requirements of your state are.

According to the Nutrition Defense Center, some jurisdictions only allow registered dietitians (RDs) to play this role.

What is the difference between a Nutritionist and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?

There are no certification or education requirements to become a nutritionist. That means anyone can give themselves this label, even dropping out of high school without formal training in diet sciences.

RDNs are subject to professional and ethical standards and base their decisions on evidence-based practice. Registered dietitian nutritionist is the gold standard in nutritional care in the United States and beyond.

Some students become Certified Nutrition Specialists (CNS) to show that they have studied the field;

  • You must obtain a master’s or doctoral degree and 1,000 hours of supervision to obtain this certification.
  • The public generally does not understand the difference between registered dietitians and nutritionists, but formal employers do.
  • If you want to open a private consulting practice, you can complete a bachelor’s degree in diet sciences, skip the internship necessary to register and label yourself as a nutritionist.
  • If you plan to work for a health care center, you must obtain your RD recognition.
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The biggest difference between dietitians and nutritionists lies in the legal restrictions that each title entails.

Only nutritionists who register with the Commission for Dietary Registration (CDR) can legally declare themselves as dietitians or, more precisely, registered dietitians (RD).

How to Become a Registered Dietitian

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends five steps to become a Registered Nutritionist Dietitian or RDN.

First, you must finish at least a bachelor’s degree at an accredited school of dietetics. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another subject, you can complete a graduate program. You can also complete a master’s or doctorate in dietetics.

Second, you must complete a supervised internship approved by the Accreditation Council for Nutrition and Dietetic Education (ACEND) or as appropriate in your home country. Many programs offer placement in a qualified internship as part of your degree.

Then, you must pass the National Registry Examination for Dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietary Registration, granting them a registered dietitian certification to pursue a career as a dietitian in your state and maintain your certification with continuing education.

Do you need an internship to become a dietitian?

The work of a dietary expert involves practical practice and important clinical skills. That is why you must complete a supervised internship of at least 1,200 hours of work over a period of 8-24 months with an emphasis on an area such as nutrition therapy, pediatric nutrition, and clinical nutrition research or community nutrition.

This experience allows you to practice preparing meals and menus, educating patients and making presentations in the classroom. You can work with your school to find an internship and earn college credits for your work.

Some students wait until they have finished studying to be able to complete a full-time internship. You may be able to find a paid internship, especially in facilities for the elderly.

Some programs are rotating and expose interns to many aspects of the work of dietitians in various concentrations, such as:

  • Pediatric nutrition
  • Diabetes
  • Geriatric Nutrition
  • Community nutrition
  • Clinical medical nutrition
  • Culinary nutrition
  • Wellness nutrition

Each field of study offers different job skills, such as planning menus or preparing meals according to medical needs, coordinating community outreach messages on nutrition and working with dietitians in health centers to learn about clinical nutrition.

Students enrolled in a coordinated degree program can meet these requirements part-time while taking classes with a minimum of 20 hours of internship per week or full-time internships consisting of 40 hours per week.

Other schools offer educational dietary programs that allow students to transfer to a separate internship program after graduation.

These dietary internship programs may also be available in a distance learning format, allowing students with limited dietitian training programs in their area to enroll in a school’s internship program while completing fieldwork in a Hospital or local school.

Registered Dietitian Salary and Employment Growth

When deciding on a career, salary potential and the possibilities of getting a job are the most important thing for students.

This section provides information on what registered dietitians earn, as well as the occupational outlook for them in the coming years.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics UU. He reports that, as of May 2017, the average annual salary of registered dietitians is $59,410, with the highest-paid professionals earning more than $83,070 and those earning less with less than $36,910.

According to the agency, the income potential of people in the industry depends in part on where they work.

For example, those who work for outpatient centers earn an average of $ 65,650, government workers earn $57,910 and hospital employees have salaries of $ 60,210 per year.

Let us in detail, look at the 5 Steps to Becoming a Registered Dietitian

To pursue a career as a registered dietitian, the first step is to complete a bachelor’s degree in clinical nutrition, dietetics, public health nutrition or food and nutrition.

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During their studies, students take courses in evidence-based nutrition, applied food principles, food service systems, nutritional therapy, and community nutrition.

Programs must be accredited by an organization such as the Accreditation Council for Nutrition and Dietetic Education.

Registered dietitians are required to obtain practical clinical experience by completing an internship program.

During these internships, students must complete at least 1,200 hours under the supervision of a licensed professional. Students in the undergraduate and graduate levels must complete an internship before obtaining their professional credentials.

After future dietitians complete their degree requirements and the internship program, they must pass a registration exam administered by the Dietary Registration Commission of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The exam, which takes two and a half hours to complete, consists of between 125 and 145 questions that cover dietary principles, nutritional care, foodservice systems and nutrition program management.

In some cases, registered dietitians must obtain a state license to get a job. The requirements to obtain and maintain a state license differ from state to state.

In some states, registered dietitians must obtain a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS), provided by the Nutrition Specialist Certification Board, to obtain a license.

Obtaining this certification involves completing 1,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, passing an exam, and completing a graduate program.

Can I become a registered dietitian through online programs?

Online courses can prepare you to obtain the registered dietitian (RD) credential of the Accreditation Council for Nutrition and Dietetic Education (ACEND) in the United States or as applicable in your country, but you will also have to complete an internship in person.

Some schools offer degree programs in dietetics that allow students to complete online courses while meeting internship requirements at a nearby facility.

Often called coordinated dietary programs, these academic offerings generally present courses that reflect those of the programs on campus.

Prerequisites for online courses in dietetics usually include college credits in:

  • Chemistry
  • Organic chemistry
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Biology
  • Statistics

Basic dietary courses tend to address nutritional needs at various stages of life and the role that culture plays in dietary practices. Other course topics may include food science, nutritional education, and nutritional evaluation.

An online Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Dietetics program exposes students to food handling, medical nutrition, metabolism and similar principles and topics that are essential to the discipline, as well as the basic sciences of anatomy, biology, and physiology.

The requirements for admission to an online dietetic degree program vary, but generally, students must submit SAT or ACT scores and a high school diploma.

Holders of undergraduate degrees in online dietetics and nutritionists generally have no trouble finding jobs or forging their careers.

Many graduates become professional dietitians, licensed nutritionists, health educators, public health professionals, rehabilitation counselors or food service managers.

Which Schools Offer Online Program in Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

The best online schools in our profiled options, listed in random order, offer a quality web-based education that makes obtaining this degree easier, more affordable and even faster. Let’s see some of them.

Eastern Michigan University

Online degree in science with a focus on theory and practice

Eastern Michigan University, a highly praised public university accredited by the National Accreditation Committee, offers an online bachelor’s degree that focuses on theory and practice under its Dietetics and Human Nutrition program.

Purdue University Global

BS online in Nutrition

University of Alaska Anchorage

Online Bachelor of Science in Dietetics

Rutgers University-New Brunswick offers a wide range of distance education courses that include a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics.

This online program consists of 122 credits and may require that students have previously obtained an associate’s degree in Registered Dietary Technician (DTR).

This prepares them for public health nutrition education as they transition to become registered dietitians.

The University of Alaska offers net annual tuition at a reasonable price of only $ 12,543 for its online Dietetics program, which includes a Bachelor of Science in Online Dietetics.

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120 credits are needed to complete the program, where graduates may be eligible to take the RDN exam and then become community nutrition professionals for registered dietitian nutritionists.

The UAA’s diet program, accredited nationally by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, offers extensive internship programs for students to prepare them for real-world employment.

Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Bachelor of Science (BS) online in Nutrition and Dietetics

University of Northern Colorado

Online Bachelor of Science in Dietetics

Rutgers University-New Brunswick offers a wide range of distance education courses that include a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics.

This online program consists of 122 credits and may require that students have previously obtained an associate’s degree in Registered Dietary Technician (DTR).

This prepares them for public health nutrition education as they transition to become registered dietitians.

By offering one of the most affordable degree programs in health sciences with an average of $8,166 a year, the University of Colorado offers a degree in dietetics.

The online program adheres to the standards of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Kansas State University

Online Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Health

Texas Woman’s University

Online Bachelor of Science in Nutrition (Dietetics) Program

Kansas State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Health in collaboration with the Faculty of Human Ecology and the Global Campus.

The course consists of 120 units and teaches topics of well-being, nutrition, food, disease, including general courses such as human ecology, humanities, and natural sciences.

Accredited by the College Commission of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC), Texas Woman’s University is one of the best universities for medical care graduates in the state.

The largest university for women is known for its online Bachelor of Science in Nutrition (Dietetics) program that emphasizes nutritional sciences, dietetics, and wellness.

It also presents 27 semester hours of health studies to prepare students for the Certified Health Education Specialist Exam.

In particular, Texas Woman’s University ranks first in terms of RD approval rates at 95%.

Frequently Asked Questions on registered dietitian programs online

Do I need to earn an advanced degree to become a registered Dietitian?

It depends. Some employers may prefer to hire registered dietitians who have earned a graduate degree, although it may not be required.
However, those who want to earn a Certified Nutrition Specialist credential will need to complete a master’s or doctoral degree.

What is the difference between a RDN and a nutritionist?

RDNs must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, complete specific nutrition courses, finish a minimum 1200 hour supervised practice program, and pass a rigorous registration examination before they are allowed to use the title “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist”. 

RDNs are bound to professional and ethical standards and base their decisions on evidence-based practice. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are the gold standard in nutrition care in the United States and beyond.

How do I become a registered dietitian without a nutrition degree?

Dietitians are experts in nutrition science. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, or a closely related field, to get started in your career. Your best bet is to earn a degree from a program accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

What is the difference between a nutritionist and a dietician?

The biggest difference between dietitians and nutritionists lies in the legal restrictions that each title carries.
Only nutritionists that become registered with Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) may legally declare themselves as dietitians or more precisely, registered dietitians (RDs).

Which is better a dietician or nutritionist?

Dietitians and nutritionists are both nutrition experts who have studied how diet and dietary supplements can affect your health.
Both are considered to be healthcare professionals, but the titles should not be used interchangeably.

Dietitians tend to have more education and credentials, but it’s not always the case

References

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