Best Online ACEND Accredited Dietetics Programs

ACEND Accredited Nutrition and Dietetics programsThe Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) is the gold standard for accrediting undergraduate and graduate level Nutrition and Dietetics degree programs. ACEND reviews programs and accredits programs that meet ACEND accreditation standards.

A quick overview of ACEND accredited dietetics programs

  • ACEND accredits over 600 undergraduate and graduate level dietetics programs, and around 50 online ACEND accredited programs.
  • RDN exam changed for 2024: In order to become a RDN and sit for the RDN exam through the CDR, you will need a Master's degree and have completed a Dietetic Internship starting in 2024.
  • There are different types of ACEND accredited programs:
    • Didactic Program in Dietetics: Over 240 Bachelors level programs, some online. These may be designed at the Bachelor or graduate level.
    • Graduate level programs: Over 270 Masters level programs and a handful of Doctoral degrees in total. Can be a Didactic program or one of the below:
    • Dietetic Internship: post-Bachelor's program that provides only supervised practice and admits students with an ACEND accredited DPD (Didactic Program in Dietetics).
    • Coordinated Program: required both academic courses similar to a DPD and competencies/supervised practice in one degree program.
  • Dietetic Technician programs: 20 Associates level programs, are available online.
School Program Admissions
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill MPH/Registered Dietitian (MPH/RD)
Three CEPH-accredited concentrations: MPH Leadership, MPH Nutrition, MPH Registered Dietitian (MPH/RD).
Winthrop University Online Master of Science in Human Nutrition
ACEND-Aligned Curriculum. Gain comprehensive knowledge and leading-edge skills needed to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) Certifying Examination. Online students who meet GRE requirements and have a DPD verification statement can apply for our dietetic internship.
Arizona State University Online Master of Science in Nutritional Science – Dietetics
Select from topics including sports nutrition, pediatric nutrition and obesity prevention to tailor your degree to your professional interests.
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Are there online ACEND accredited dietician degree programs?

Yes, there are online Master of Dietetics degree programs that are ACEND accredited. By our count, there are over 50 different nutrition and dietetics programs online that are ACEND accredited. These ACEND accredited programs span all degree levels and all dietetics program types, such ad online Didactic programs, dietetic internships, coordinated programs, and dietetic technician programs.

For many students, relocating to complete a dietitian training program is difficult due to financial, lifestyle, and professional restrictions. Online learning allows students to further their nutritional knowledge from home, while still connecting with faculty, students, and industry professionals in their field. Online courses can be completely asynchronous or require live virtual class sessions over video call, with some programs requiring a few in-person sessions for hands-on skills.

In depth review of some of the best ACEND accredited online Masters degrees

Logan University - Master of Science in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics

The mission of the MS in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics program at Logan University is to help students prepare to enter their first position as registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN). This online program includes cutting-edge nutrition and dietetics-based courses such as nutrigenetics, natural therapies, and understanding the gut microbiome. The program is led by industry professionals dedicated to helping students understand how to help patients with complex conditions heal through nutritional therapy. At the end of the didactic curriculum, students complete a supervised experiential learning (SEL) module that takes place over 30 weeks. This supervised experience is completed at one of several sites in the St. Louis, MO area.

This program is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and ACEND. After completion of this program, students receive a verification statement that allows them to sit for the national examination offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Typically, students are recommended to have work experience and a demonstrated interest in dietetics before entering.

Harding University - Master of Science in Applied Dietetics Practice Program

The Harding University Master of Science in Applied Dietetics Practice Program is a Christian-based master's program designed to teach dietitian students to apply evidence-based principles in diverse communities. All courses are able to be completed online and students are able to complete the supervised learning experience in their home geographic location. Most courses are offered asynchronously online in lecture format, in addition to a few courses requiring on-campus intensives. These intensives have their dates set in advance to allow students to prepare for travel. During the on-campus intensives, students will have the opportunity to meet their fellow students are learn hands-on skills such as Nutrition Focused Physical Exam training.

This program is ACEND accredited and required 1,106 hours of experiential learning. This qualifies students to sit for the CDR Registration Examination for Dietitians. To apply for this program, students must have completed their bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students are also required to have several prerequisite courses, including subjects such as human nutrition, food science, microbiology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. For students who have not completed these courses, there may be options to receive provisional admission with the intention to complete prerequisite courses during their first fall semester.

University of Rhode Island/Sodexo Partnership - Master of Science in Dietetics Program

This master's program includes 17 online courses offered in accelerated 7-week semesters, alongside 1,024 hours of supervised experiential learning. This program is a great fit for students who would like to gain experience in a variety of industries or who are unsure of their career trajectories. In this program, students complete supervised learning with mentors in fields that coincide with the curriculum being taught in classes. For example, students are required to complete 448 hours of clinical rotation experience. These hours are completed alongside Medical Nutrition Therapy 1, 2, and 3 courses, which gives students the opportunity to apply what they are learning in real-time. Patients also complete supervised learning in long-term care, foodservice management, patient service and clinical nutrition management, and community locations. Outside of these required locations, students can pick one of ten concentrations for a concentration rotation. Students will complete 160 hours in critical care MNT, pediatrics, leadership, oncology, management, wellness, weight management, culinary nutrition, or senior living.

To enter this program, students submit three references, work experience, volunteer experience, a personal statement, and a e-portfolio. Once the program is completed, students receive a verification letter than qualifies them to sit for the CDR examination.

Iowa State University - Master of Professional Practice in Dietetics (MPP)

This master's program is a non-thesis program with two distinct track options. The first track option in is the RD2B track, which is designed for future RDNs to expand their knowledge and prepare for the qualifying examination. The second option is the DI Graduate Track, which is designed for alumni of the Dietetic Internship (DI) program who would like to return to complete their graduate degree. This program combines didactic online courses with experiential learning options anywhere in the United States. To complete this program, students must complete at least 1000 hours of experiential learning under the advisor of their choice.

This program is ACEND accredited and focuses on helping students find employment after graduation. In fact, the program's mission if for over 80% of students to sit for the CDR credentialing exam after program completion, and over 80% of graduates to find employment in the nutrition and dietetics fields.

University of New England - Master of Science in Applied Nutrition Dietetics Focus

The University of New England Online Master of Science in Applied Nutrition (MSAN) is designed for students in all phases of their journey to becoming an RDN, including those with a bachelor's degree in nutrition and those looking for a career change. This is a great option for those without prior experience in nutrition or a health-related field, as the MSAN program offers an enhancement pathway into the program with only 3 required foundational courses before beginning the program. For those with a background in nutrition, these foundational courses can be waved.

The MSAN program is ACEND accredited and offers Supervised Experiential Learning (SEL) hours alongside the didactic curriculum. This program is designed for students who would like to sit for the CDR credentials examination and is designed to comprehensively prepare students of all backgrounds for the exam.

SUNY Oneonta - Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics Program

This program is a three-semester online program run from May/June through to the following May. Students take 12 courses focusing on clinical care, food management, community nutrition, and in-demand skills needed by dietetic professionals. Service projects are designed to be taken alongside graduate curriculum and students have the exciting opportunity to apply what they learn in class in real-world settings. For example, if students were learning about nutrition and chronic disease, they would also be doing a portion of their supervised learning experience with chronic disease patients in a hospital setting. This helps students learn how to assess patients and apply knowledge, and also provides the opportunity to ask questions to professors throughout their courses. For distance learners, the program leadership will help to identify relevant mentors at local locations.

Students are expected to complete 1,180 hours of supervised learning in order to qualify to sit for the CDR examination. Typically, students will spend 12-15 hours completing course assignments from didactic lectures outside of 40 hours per week in their supervised learning environment.

The Pennsylvania State University - Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Nutritional Sciences Experiential Track

This MPS program is a 39-credit program designed to be completed over a two-year period, including at least 900 hours of supervised experiential learning. This supervised learning takes place of three semesters with students required to work with professionals in clinical, community, foodservice, or food system management fields. Students are required to completed this portion of the program alongside didactic courses and be a full-time student in the program.

This program can be completed in-residence or at a distance. In-residence students will be matched with a local supervisor, while distance learners need to locate their own. To apply for this program, students must have completed an undergraduate degree from an accredited university and have completed at least 500 volunteer hours over the 2 years prior to entering the program. Of these 500 hours, students must have completed 300 of them in a nutrition or dietetics-related environment. Students must also have completed several prerequisite courses, including physiology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, nutrient metabolism, and medical nutrition therapy.

Kings College - Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics

Kings College offers several timeline options so students can fit the program schedule to their needs. Those entering as an undergraduate can enroll in the 3+2 program, which is comprised of 3 years of undergraduate study in exercise and 2 years of graduate study to earn the MS in Nutrition and Dietetics. For those entering as a Master's student, all backgrounds of study are accepted, though some may require a few prerequisite courses to be taken before entering their first semester.

The MS in Nutrition and Dietetics Future Graduate (FG) program is completed in 7-week accelerated terms and designed to be completed part-time over a 2 year period. Each accelerated semester will include 1-2 courses, with the required curriculum ranging over broad topics. In the first year, students will take courses such as The Physiological Basis of Nutrition, Advanced Nutritional Biochemistry, Nutrition through the Lifecycle, and Nutrition Counseling. In the second year, students take courses such as Advanced Leadership, Principles of Food and Management, Advanced Sports Nutrition, and Food Systems and Health.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Master of Science in Food and Nutrition

This 24-month Dietitian-Nutritionist Program (DNP) can be completed with the in-residence or distance education options. Up to 18 students are admitted each year, so students can expect personalized learning and small class sizes in this program. The curriculum is designed to educate students on clinical care practices, community nutrition, and modern food systems. This program is also focused on delivering care to diverse communities, and students are encouraged to learn about and work with several different population types and environments. While distance learners can participate mostly through Zoom, there are 2 to 3 in-person experiences to meet students and learn hands-on skills.

Practicum experience consists 320 hours of community nutrition practice, 96 hours of long-term care practice, 224 hours of acute care practice, 192 of food service practice, and 140 hours of advanced fieldwork practice is an area of choice to total over 1000 hours. Students learn well-rounded skills and are prepared to enter several industries as a result of the program's focus on diverse fieldwork, and students will be guided on how to find an appropriate mentor in each area.

What to know about online ACEND accredited program requirements

To practice dietetics, students must complete several training steps in order to qualify as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

  • Coursework and experiences: This includes didactic coursework in key subjects and a supervised learning experience to gain hands-on experience. In addition to coursework and experiential practice, most states require that dietitians pass the national examination offered by the Commission on Dietitian Registration (CDR).
  • Prior to 2024, students need to have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution in order to qualify to take this exam.
  • However starting in 2024, ACEND and CDR are raising the requirement to completion of a graduate degree in order to take the qualifying exam. Because of this, Master’s in Dietetics programs are in high-demand and highly valued by potential employers.

Typical requirements to sit for the RDN exam

In addition to completing ACEND-accredited coursework, students need to complete a supervised experiential learning (SEL) program under an approved advisor to qualify for the CDR examination. The SEL experience typically lasts 6-12 months. These programs can be completed with organizations or professionals in healthcare, community, or food service locations. Because of these supervised learning requirements, many Master’s in Dietetics programs integrate this experience in with didactic coursework. For distance learners, SEL mentors are often identified near their physical location and students work with their university and mentors to coordinate requirements and ensure they are on track to sit for the CDR exam after graduation.

What to look for in your Masters Dietitian degree program

When choosing a Master’s in Dietetics program, students should pay attention to the practicum and coursework requirements.

  • DPD Professional and DPD Science courses: All ACEND-accredited programs must offer DPD Professional and DPD Science courses teaching basic life science and mathematics skills, as well as comprehensive material covering modern practices in community and clinical nutrition.
  • Non-core coursework and requirements: Outside of core requirements, programs differ in the required supervised learning material and elective requirements. For example, students with a full-time position outside of their coursework may prefer a part-time program taking place over mini-semesters, while a student new to nutrition may value a program with experiential learning requirements in several different settings.
  • Consider a focus area or concentration: Choosing the right program for you can ensure you gain experience in your focus area, learn about opportunities in your field, and build the skills needed to succeed professionally when entering the job market.
  • Talk to the admissions representatives at your program of interest: You want to make 100% certain that any online Masters program you take will allow you to take the RDN exam (assuming you meet the other requirements). You will want to talk with each program you are considering to ask this question and what our career options would be post-graduation.

ACEND Future Education Model Accreditation Standards

ACEND released Future Education Model Accreditation Standards that programs must meet to remain ACEND accredited. When looking for a Master’s in Dietetics program, it is important to ensure the program is continually updating its curriculum to meet new standards and adequately prepare you to enter a career in this field. We have compiled a list of our top recommendations for Master’s in Dietetics programs that use the Future Education Model and prepare students to take the CDR examination through a combination of advanced coursework and supervised practice experience.

Many students are seeking Master’s degrees in Dietetics to expand their skill-set, connect with like-minded individuals, and ensure they are competitive in the modern-day job market. For existing RDNs, a Master’s in Dietetics can be a great way to learn continuing professional education credits to maintain registration.

Top courses for an Online ACEND accredited nutrition program

To qualify for the CDR examination, students must complete a set of professional and science coursework that is ACEND-accredited. This curriculum is designed to ensure that all Registered Dietitian Nutritionists have the foundational knowledge needed to safely and effectively work with patients and communities. Courses may vary in their name and number depending on the program. While not an extensive list, several of the core courses you can expect in a Master’s in Dietetics program include:

NUTR 201: Fundamentals of Nutrition

This course is designed to understand the role a nutritionist plays in preventing disease and promoting healthy individuals and communities. This course is often discussion based and will cover current practices, ethics, and considerations when entering the field.

NUTR 203: Cultural Aspects of Food and Nutrition

This course focuses on how regional, ethnic, and cultural differences play a role in nutrition. Students will learn about historical and social influences in different populations and how to best serve diverse communities.

NUTR 205: Introduction to the Science of Food

Students typically take this course as a combination of lecture and lab. Students learn about the composition of food, including how to prepare and preserve it. Students also learn about consumer perception of food and how our sensory organs play a role in our diet.

NUTR 404: Food System Management

Students learn how to manage and analyze food systems. This includes production, consumption, carrying capacity, life cycle analysis, food shed analyses, system dynamics, and integrated modeling.

NUTR 406: Medical Nutrition Therapy I

Medical nutrition therapy is designed to teach students how to work with patients with chronic and acute diseases. Students learn how to use diet and nutrition as a therapeutic intervention and tailor nutritional advice for patients with different conditions. Coursework covers topics in nutrition assessment, diagnosis, pathophysiology, and medical nutrition.

NUTR 511: Counseling and Health Communication

This course covers counseling theories and principles for nutrition education. This includes how to work with students, design effective materials, perform necessary research, and utilize persuasive techniques to influence behavior. Students also learn how to critique existing health education and health promotion programs.

NUTR 512: Nutrition for Athletes

Nutrition for Athletes is designed to teach students how to design dietary plans for athletes in different sports and at different levels, including how to measure nutrition and athletic performance.

BIOL 211: Fundamental of Microbiology

This microbiology course will focus on how microorganisms play a role in our bodies, environment, and health. This course typically requires prerequisite knowledge in biology and chemistry.

ENS 304: Physiology of Exercise

This course teacher students how physical activity affects our bodies and how nutrition plays a role in supporting physical activity.

What can you do with a dietetics degree?

A Master’s degree in Nutrition or Dietetics opens many career opportunities in private and public industries. Many dietitians choose to take the CDR examination, which qualifies them to work with patient populations in the community. Dietitians can then work with patients in hospitals, community or government agencies, private clinics, hospice care, outpatient clinics, schools, academia, and more. Many dietitians work within the Unites States, but there are also many opportunities to volunteer or work abroad to help communities with targeted nutritional programs and interventions. As you gain experience in the field, you may also enter leadership positions to help impact nutrition policy, implement new community programs, and evaluate existing resources to enhance community health.

Dietitians also have the opportunity to work with specialized communities in need of tailored nutritional education. Sports dietitians often work with athletic teams to help players stay strong and fit, which pediatric dietitians work specifically with children to help them through development stages. For dietitians interested in research, there are many opportunities to work in public research and private industry sectors to further our understanding of the role nutrition plays in our communities.

RDN career and salary info

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) earn a median pay is $61,650, according to BLS. While this is the median national salary, several factors will affect your individual wage. Location, experience, work location, and industry will all have a huge impact on how much you can expect to make in your professions. For example, Agriculture and Food Scientists earn a median pay of $74,160, while health service managers bring in around $101,340 annually. For those without their full qualification, work as a Registered Nutrition and Dietetics Technician (NDTR) makes a median pay is $29,520.