Registered Dietitian Degree Programs

Dietitians undergo a series of training to become Registered Dietitians (RD). To earn RD qualifications, students must complete a combination of coursework, internships, and exams.

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) has a standard set of coursework that must be completed by every dietitian-in-training. This coursework is offered through ACEND-accredited programs. While course material was traditionally offered face-to-face, many institutions now offer online alternatives. Online courses offer students the flexibility to complete their training on their own time. Students can choose to take their coursework in either Bachelor of Science or Master's degree programs.

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 Dietitian degree programs?

Yes, there are online Dietitian degree programs. To become a registered dietitian, there are several steps.

The first step is important: completing an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). There are several options, including online coursework. Many dietitians complete online Bachelor's degrees in Nutrition, foods & nutrition, nutritional sciences, public health nutrition, dietetics, or a related field. Students receive a DPD verification statement upon graduation. The DPD verification statement certifies that the student has completed their bachelor's degree and all ACEND required coursework.

As of January 1, 2024, RDN requirements changed: Now, in 2024 and moving forward, in order to take the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist examination, a Masters degree will be required. Prior to January 2024, you can still take the RDN exam with a Bachelor's degree, but this is the last year.

Are there online Bachelor's in Dietetics degrees?

Yes, there are online Bachelor's in Dietetics degrees. Online degrees often offer more flexibility, lower costs, and personalized experiences for students. Because of this, many dietitians in-training opt for online degrees to meet their didactic requirements.

DPD verification for Dietetics degrees

When looking for an online program, look for one that offers DPD verification. This verification will allow you to become a registered dietitian. For example, Cedar Crest College and the University of Northern Colorado both offer online Bachelor of Science in Nutrition or Dietetics programs. These programs are fully online and ACEND-accredited, which means you will be verified to take your next steps toward being an RD.

In general, your Bachelor's degree will need to focus on nutrition or dietetics to earn DPD verification status. These programs are often part of a University or College department of Nutrition, Public Health, or Kinesiology. When choosing a program, you should look for ones with coursework and electives that interest you. All programs will cover dietetic and nutritional basics. However, some may have concentrations or courses that differ in specialty training. If you know you want to enter a career in a certain field, such as pediatric or community nutrition, taking courses in this area can set you up for success.

Are there online Masters in Dietitian degrees?

Yes, there are online Master's in Dietitian degrees. These degrees come in Master's and Combined programs. For example, Eastern Michigan University offers a 5-year combined Bachelor's and Master's degree in dietetics. Those with a Bachelor's can opt for just a Master's degree in dietetics. When choosing a Master's, it is important to know what you are looking for. If you have a background outside of dietetics, you will want to find a program that is ACEND-accredited. These programs offer DPD verification and allow you to take the RDN exam.

You might consider an online MPH program

If you have undergraduate experience in dietetics, you have more flexibility with your Master's degree. In this case, you should focus on your area of interest within dietetics. For example, a Master of Public Health (MPH) can open career opportunities in community dietetics and research. There are also many Master's in Nutrition and Dietetics programs that require DPD verification or an RD certification. These Master's programs are designed to help RDs expand their skill sets and move into more senior dietetics positions.

In depth review of some of the best ACEND accredited online Dietitian degrees for 2023

Completing an ACEND-accredited online degree provides a flexible pathway to a dietetics career. There are several available online programs in this area. These include Bachelor's, combined, and Master's programs. Several top options are as follows:

University of Northern Colorado - Distance Dietetic Program

The University of Northern Colorado offers several degrees in their Department of Kinesiology, Nutrition, and Dietetics (KiND). The Bachelor of Science in Dietetics degree program allows students to build knowledge related to the science of nutrition. This involves physiological, biological, and behavioral science ACED-accredited coursework. Outside of this, students have the exciting opportunity to complete experiential learning requirements. This involves working on a nutrition-related site. During on-site training, students learn professional skills and build connections. Students in this program are prepared to become registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) or registered dietitian technicians (DTR).

To enter this program, applicants need to complete a set of pre-requisite courses and maintain a 3.0 GPA. Prerequisite coursework includes biology, chemistry, psychology, food and nutrition, and statistics coursework. Once these classes are completed, you can apply for the didactic program in dietetics.

For those taking the distance-based dietetics program option, the program is the same as the on-campus version. To complete the curriculum, 15 of the courses are available fully online. For the rest of the curriculum, students can either complete the courses online or find a regionally accredited institution. Students without a bachelor's degree can earn a bachelor's degree through this program. For those with a bachelor's degree, there is an option to either earn a second bachelor's degree or a certificate. Either way, graduated students can go on from this program to apply for dietetic internships or graduate school.

University of Arizona - Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science, Dietetics

Students can choose between two concentrations in the B.S. in Nutritional Sciences program at the University of Arizona. Concentration options are in Nutrition or Dietetics. For those choosing the dietetics emphasis, courses focus on nutritional therapy, nutrition counseling, food service management, and community nutrition. This is a great option for those interested in becoming a registered dietitian. The University of Arizona is ACEND- accredited, and students are able to sit for the Registration Examination for Registered Technicians after graduation. This recognition is necessary for registered dietitians and is a critical step before entering a dietetic internship.

Those who choose this degree program can expect a well-rounded curriculum. Outside of nutritional requirements, graduates are expected to complete English, math, second language, and general education requirements. This helps students build transferable skills. These skills help dietitians succeed in professional roles in the dietetics industry.

Cedar Crest College - Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Didactic Program in Dietetics

Cedar Crest College offers a fully-online nutrition major and didactic program in dietetics. This program is ACEND accredited and has several options that can be tailored to students' needs. Depending on the student's background, each student can choose a traditionally-paced track or an accelerated track. In addition to this, students can choose to enroll in on-site or online classes.

For online students, classes are generally held in the evenings (after 4 PM Eastern Standard Time). This accommodates those working standard hours outside of coursework. Classes are held synchronously, with live class components. This helps students meet their classmates virtually and build their network.

Students will take courses in math, sociology, psychology, biology, and chemistry. This builds well-rounded knowledge. Following core courses, students take classes in nutrition. This includes specialized elective options curated based on your career goals.

Eastern Michigan University - Coordinated Program in Dietetics

Eastern Michigan University offers combined Bachelor's/Master's and Master's online ACEND-accredited degree programs. The combined program takes 5 years to complete, and the Master's takes 2 years to complete.

In both programs, students will take a range of nutrition-related courses. These courses are designed to prepare students for several potential careers in dietetics. Courses such as Nutrition Therapy, Foodservice Systems Management, Nutrient Metabolism, and Community Nutrition help students explore potential areas of interest. Students can then build on these interests and take electives in their topic area. Students can also choose a Culminating Experience option best-suited for them. Students can write a research thesis, non-research thesis, or complete a research writing class. Both programs earn a DPD verifications statement and permit students to sit for the RDN exam.

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

If you've recently discovered your interest in dietetics, a Master's can be a great way to enter the field. The University of New England offers an online Master's program designed for students who completed a degree in an alternate area. The Dietetics Focus Graduate Program (GP) is ACEND accredited through the ACEND Future Education Model (FEM).

This program is online and offers flexibility for students to complete it at their own pace. Students need to have taken applied anatomy and physiology, applied nutritional biochemistry, and applied food innovation to enter the program. These courses are offered over a 6 month period or can be completed as transfer credits. Alternatively, proof of completing a DPD program counts as the pre-req requirements.

To complete this program, students take a mixture of didactic coursework and complete a Supervised Experiential Learning (SEL) component. For entry to the program, students must have identified an SEL setting. Once this program is completed, students receive DPD verification and can sit for the RDN registration exam.

Texas Tech University - Online Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics

Many students are interested in advancing their knowledge beyond undergraduate courses in dietetics. Texas Tech's online master's program is a great way to build skills for those who have completed a DPD program, have been accepted into a dietetic internship, or have RD/RDN credentials. The focus of the program is to build research-based skills that can be applied in professional settings.

In this program, you can choose between three concentrations. The options are Nutrition and Healthy Weight, Nutrition and Sports, and Nutrition in the Life Cycle. While courses will range depending on focus, there are several core courses. All students will take Biostatistics in Nutrition, Introduction to Nutrition Research, and Clinical Applications coursework. Following this, students can take elective courses in a broad range of areas. Unique course offerings such as Issues in Sports Nutrition, Bariatric Nutrition, and Nutrition and Eating Disorders allows students to build industry-specific knowledge and work towards specialized careers.

University of Michigan - Online Master of Public Health, Precision Nutrition Certificate

A Master of Public Health (MPH) can offer broad opportunities for dietitians who wish to expand their knowledge outside clinical settings. The University of Michigan offers an online MPH program with several concentrations. Concentrations include epidemiology, biostatistics, health administration, health behavior, and precision nutrition. If you have your DPD verification or have passed the RDN exam, earning an MPH can open career opportunities. Many MPH professionals work in healthcare administration, research, or management positions. Students in this program can choose two certificates to complete.

The precision nutrition certificate offers coursework in cutting-edge nutrition science. Topics like nutritional genetics, nutrigenomics, epigenetics, and metabolomics will offer new insights into the nutritional field. This can help dietitians design more personalized interventions. Four courses are required to complete this certificate.

What it takes to become a Registered Dietitian (RDN)

After completing an accredited program, you will be able to take the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Examination for Dietitians Test by the Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR). This exam is a type of “quality assurance” for dietitians. Taking and passing this exam shows you have adequate nutrition and dietetics knowledge.

NOTE: Prior to 2024, you only need to hold a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field to take the RDN examination. However, master’s degrees are often preferred in dietetics professions and will be required for the RDN after 2024.

Dietetics professionals may complete a Master’s degree for several reasons. For those with bachelor’s degrees in an unrelated area, Master’s degrees can provide the coursework needed to take the RDN exam.

For those that have DPD verification, Master’s degrees can build expertise in a specific area. This often opens career opportunities. Master’s degrees in health administration or health management can be applicable to dietitians not interested in working in a clinical setting. However, most dietitians benefit from a directly nutrition-related degree.

Top courses for an Online Dietitian Degree

To become a registered dietitian, you must complete the ACEND-required coursework. These courses span topics. Several of the required courses are outlined below:

NUT 1202: Basic Food Science

This course teaches students about the scientific principles of food. This involves basic nutrient information, meal management, and consumer perspectives.

NUT 2202: Nutrition and Health

In Nutrition and Health, students learn basic nutritional principles. The goal is to reduce disease and increase health. This course covers topics such as chronic health, health risk assessment, health behavior change, and more. Students also learn how to evaluate literature and make educated, unbiased decisions.

NUT 4240/4206: Advanced Nutrition I and II

In these courses, students learn how to counsel individuals and communities about nutrition. This involves interventions to reduce obesity, chronic diseases, and infections. Students also learn support techniques to treat patients empathetically.

NUT 4504: Foodsystems Management

The focus of Foodsystems Management is to learn how to allocate resources, develop a budget, and evaluate current systems. Students learn quality improvement techniques and facility planning. Students interested in this type of work can expand their knowledge with advanced elective coursework.

NUT 4506: Community Nutrition

Community nutrition is a public health-focused class aimed at promoting healthy communities. Students learn how to plan and evaluate nutritional interventions. these interventions vary in focus depending on the community’s needs and resources.

What can you do with a Registered Dietitian degree?

A dietetics degree opens many career opportunities. Most often, dietitians will work in roles directly related to food and nutrition. Dietitians typically follow their degree with a dietetics internship and take RD exams. Registered dietitians can then work in a variety of locations. These include hospitals, outpatient clinics, long-term care facilities, community agencies, government agencies, private clinics, schools, universities, and more.

In hospitals and health care settings, RDs often work with patients on nutrition education and medical nutrition therapy. These professionals work on health care teams and are part of a multi-faceted care plan for patients. In these settings, dietitians may also oversee food purchasing by the organization. In community and public health settings, dietitians often teach and advise community members about nutrition. With advanced degrees, many dietitians work in management or administrative positions

Many dietitians work in specialized areas, such as research or sports nutrition. Sports dietitians often work with teams to create custom meal plans and counsel players on their diets. In research, dietitians work with Universities, pharmaceutical companies, or medical facilities. In these roles, dietitians conduct experiments and push forward the field of nutrition.

Career and salary info

Registered Dietitian (RD): Plan and implement nutritional programs for individuals or communities. Median pay is $61,650, according to BLS.

Registered Nutrition and Dietetics Technician (NDTR): Implement nutrition and dietetics practices, such as patient screening or data collection. Overseen by RD. Median pay is $29,520, according to BLS.

Sports dietitian: Registered dietitian who specializes in sports dietetics. Sports dietitians work with athletes or teams to maximize performance.

Pediatric dietitian: Registered dietitian who works with child populations to ensure healthy development. Pediatric dietitians may work with young populations with eating disorders.

Geriatric dietitian: Registered dietitian who works with aging populations. These populations may have illnesses or conditions that make eating difficult.