California Nutrition Degree Programs, Online Included

There are over 45 nutrition degrees in California at all degree levels, from Bachelor's to Masters and Doctorate. There are over 20+ ACEND accredited Dietetics programs in California.

California has nine schools in its university system (known as the 'University of California System', or 'UC' schools) and 23 schools in its state system (known as the CSU system of schools). Nutrition programs in either the public university or state school system typically offer two courses of study in either dietetics or nutrition/food science. Options for dietetics are generally ACEND-accredited (Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics Education) Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD), which fulfills the academic requirements to prepare students to apply for supervised practice. This option can also lead to a Master's program and eventually an opportunity to sit for the CDR exam to earn the registered dietitian nutritionist credential.

School Program Admissions
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.
Arizona State University Online Bachelor of Science in Health Education & Health Promotion
Gain knowledge in health promotion program planning, implementation and evaluation as well as health education and health advocacy. This degree will also prepare you for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam.
Arizona State University Online Bachelor of Science in Community Health
If you’re interested in a career supporting healthy, sustainable communities, a community health degree may be right for you.
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Are there online nutrition programs in California?

Yes, there are several options for online nutrition degrees in California as well at the Master's degree level. The University of Southern California has an online option available with their ACEND accredited MS in Coordinated Program in Dietetics program.

There is also a related public health program at California State University San Marcos, with an online Master of Public Health degree that is CEPH accredited and has concentrations in health promotion and education or global health.

Online nutrition degrees in California

University Degree Program Accreditation Format

Bastyr University

Master of Science in Nutrition for Wellness and Health Coaching Online courses, hybrid program

California State University San Marcos

Online Master of Public Health CEPH Online available

Loma Linda University

MS in Plant-Based Nutrition CEPH Online

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

MS in Coordinated Program in Dietetics ACEND Online available

What you find in online nutrition programs in California

Programs for dietetics and non-dietetics nutrition

There are online degree programs training both dietitians and nutritionists (dietetics and non-dietetics). Choosing the right one will depend on your goals and requirements. If your aim is to become a registered dietitian, then you will need to look at ACEND-accredited programs. Most ACEND programs lead to either a BS or MS in nutritional sciences with an emphasis on dietetics.

All nutrition degree levels are available

Common degree types you will find at most public universities in California are a Bachelor, or Master's in Dietetics or Nutritional Sciences or both. Most of the ACEND-accredited degrees are offered only on campus, but many other degrees are offered online, or a combination of both online and on-campus. Other undergraduate degree offerings you will find at many of the California State universities include a Bachelors in Nutrition and Food Services, or a Clinical Nutrition degree program.

Many different areas of nutritional study

If your interest is to study nutrition outside of the lens of dietetics, you have some more flexibility with other online nutrition degree programs. There are a range of advanced online nutrition-focused degree programs in the state of California. Students can earn a Master of Science in plant-based nutrition, an MS in integrative and holistic nutrition, or an MS in nutrition- health and longevity, all online. Other online degrees focus on health span and combine study in lifespan, nutrition and dietetics. Whatever your interest or passion, you will find advanced degree options from California-based schools.

Highly concentrated coursework

Coursework concentration options in California include: nutritional science, medical nutrition therapy, community nutrition, nutrition education, food science, food production and management of foodservice operations, chemistry, physiology, plus a variety of supporting coursework in related disciplines. However, if you are looking to study dietetics fully online with a California-based school, there is just one option for an ACEND-accredited program leading to a Masters of Science degree.

Note on the requirement for 2024 by the Commission on Dietetic Registration

Graduates who complete an undergraduate DPD program can apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program (dietetic internship), which is a 1,000 hour internship, often combined or coordinated with master's level courses. Coordinated programs combine educational coursework with experiential learning to fulfill the requirements to sit for the CDR exam, and register as a dietitian in California. Beginning January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a Master's degree (in every state) to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). Students who receive the RDN credential before 2024 are not required to get a master’s degree to maintain registration.

In depth review of top online nutrition degrees in California

California-based schools offer a range of online nutrition degree programs. Students all across the world can enroll in programs to study nutrition and its impact on health span and longevity, as well as nutrition for dietetics. The programs below are all from 4-year universities and colleges based in California, but students living in the state and out-of-state can benefit from California-based online degree programs to advance their nutrition knowledge. Listed below are some of the top online nutrition degrees from California-based schools.

University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology - Master of Science in Nutritional Science

USC's Master of Science degree online is the most comprehensive program offered online in the state. It is one of the top ACEND-accredited programs since it is a coordinated (didactic + experiential/masters) program that can be completed online. It is also one of the most expensive. USC is a private institution and therefore more costly to attend versus the Cal State and CU schools.

USC's Leonard Davis' Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity is a Coordinated Program (CP) in Nutrition and Dietetics, with some flexibility since it allows students to complete the degree program on campus or online. It also provides an option to complete the program part-time (24-36months) or full-time (21 months). The USC MS program is cultivated around coursework and experiences that highlight evidence-based practice in human nutrition and dietetic professions, and aims to graduate well-trained professionals who are competent in the research-based methods that impact the the delivery of nutrition services through the lens of longevity and lifespan.

USC's coordinated program is comprised of 44 units of study, with 28 being didactic coursework courses, 10 units of supervised practice and 6 units of research-based work. To earn the Master of Science degree, students are required to present their summative work at a dietetics conference as a requirement of graduation. Upon completion of the MS program (along with the 1,000 hours of supervised practice), students are eligible to sit for the CDR (Commission on Dietetic Registration) exam. A successful passing score means students earn the RDN credential. Fully online students, as a condition of program acceptance, are required to identify all supervised practice rotations and provide confirmation of their intended practice sites for the first year of the program.

The MS in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity program has a January 15th deadline for a subsequent fall start date. Application requirements include a 3.0 GPA, resume, statement of interest, 2 letters of recommendation, and official transcripts. A GRE may be required if academics are not sufficient. The program accepts only a few dozen students each year, preparing its prospective graduates for roles in nutrition and dietetics working in hospitals and health care facilities, long-term care or school food service programs, business, teaching, scientific research or private practice, offering lifestyle and wellness consulting, public policy or advocacy work.

USC uses the Blackboard online learning management system (LMS). Some of the courses taken by students in the Master of Science program are:

  • Nutrition, Genes, Longevity and Disease
  • Perspectives on a Changing Society an Introduction to Aging
  • Current Topics in Clinical Nutrition
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy
  • Chronic Conditions and Older Adults

Bastyr Master of Science in Integrative Nutrition online

Bastyr University is a federally-recognized non-profit private university known for its advanced academic programs in natural and alternative medicine, and for the training of naturopathic doctors (ND's). It has a campus in San Diego and in Kenmore, WA. Recently, Bastyr announced it intends to merge with NUNM (the National University of Natural Medicine) in Portland, OR, to form the nation’s largest natural health and medicine university. Bastyr's Master of Science in Integrative Nutrition coursework is fundamentally rooted in functional and holistic nutrition, versus the ACEND programs which are focused mostly on dietetics. Its Master's program is a 2-year fully online program training students in whole body nutrition with a foundational lens on the intersectionality of diet, lifestyle, environment. Bastyr and NUNM both are well-respected around naturopathic circles and are highly regarded holistic and naturopathic institutions. Students take courses with a focus on whole-person health through the lens of nutrition research, culinary medicine, counseling skills, disease prevention, whole foods nutrition, dietary supplementation, food systems and cultural justice.

Bastyr's MS in Integrative Nutrition is a distinguished academic program that can be more affordable than other California public institutions since its cost per credit hour is generally a few hundred dollars less than the Cal State or University programs. Bastyr differentiates itself from a cost perspective by offering a tuition guarantee, which means that tuition never increases as long as you remain in the program. Admission requires a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university, official transcripts and minimum 2.75 GPA.

Bastyr also has a 2-year hybrid program based in San Diego offering a Master of Science in Nutrition for Wellness and Health Coaching. This program combines nutrition education and health coaching science into one program, and is best for students who want to become functional or holistic nutrition practitioners or nutrition educators. Students complete the first year online and the second year on campus in San Diego.

Loma Linda School of Public Health - Master of Science in Plant Based Nutrition

Loma Linda University (LLU) is based in Southern California in the town of Loma Linda, east of Los Angeles. It is well known locally for its academic rigor and university-based medical and health center serving the local community. Its campus is widely known for over fifty years of excellence in vegetarian nutrition. This MS in plant-based nutrition program, a first of its kind, provides evidence-based graduate training to support and promote the role of plant-based diets for health of individuals and communities. It was developed in direct response to increasing demand by registered dietitians and peer professionals for graduate curriculum and competency in plant-based nutrition that could be completed fully online. It's is geared toward students who are already RDNs with an undergraduate degree looking to earn a Master's degree, and for furthering their expertise in plant-based nutrition. It is not a path to sit for the CDR exam and earn the RDN credential.

The program requires a science-based undergraduate or health professional degree (MD or DDS), some prerequisite courses (organic chemistry, physiology and human nutrition), 3 letters of reference and a GPA of 3.2 or higher.

Are there ACEND-accredited nutrition and dietetics degrees in California?

Yes. There are over 20 ACEND-accredited programs available at schools in California. Of those, there are 14 ACEND-accredited nutrition or didactic degree programs in nutrition or dietetics that lead to a Bachelor of Science, and 4 programs leading to a Master of Science in Nutrition or Dietetics. Three programs offer an associate-transfer 2-year degree which can be transferred to a different California state or university school to continue didactic undergraduate education.

University of California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology - Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity

USC's Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity is listed here again since it is a top online ACEND accredited Coordinated Program (CP) in Nutrition and Dietetics that can be completed both on campus or online. The program focuses on coursework and experiences that highlight evidence-based practice in human nutrition and dietetics, with a goal to graduate well-trained professionals that are competent in research-based methods that impact the the delivery of nutrition services through the lens of longevity and lifespan. USC's program is competitive, accepting only 24 entrants into the cohort, whether they are on campus, online or part time (3-year program completion). Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA, 2 letters of recommendation, and transcripts with completed prerequisite coursework.

University of the Pacific - Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition (MSCN)

Pacific’s Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition is an accelerated 16-month full-time ACEND accredited program. Pacific's MSCN is a hybrid program with the majority of coursework completed at the Sacramento campus and some coursework available online. Supervised clinical practice experience (SCPE) courses take place at clinical education sites throughout California and some out-of-state facilities. The MSCN program has a rolling admissions deadline, which means that applications will continue to be reviewed until the class is full for August start date. Students with a bachelor’s degree or higher in any major/area of study, not just nutrition and dietetics can apply, but must meet prerequisite requirements or have a DPD verification statement (or intent to complete one before enrollment), and a minimum 3.0 GPA in other coursework.

Pacific's MSCN program integrates didactic coursework with 1,110 hours of supervised experiential learning in a competency-based curriculum designed to prepare graduates as fully trained nutrition and dietetics practitioners. Students can complete coursework remotely from a location of their choosing and have more flexibility to work or spend time on meeting competencies that they need to improve and less time than doing separate didactics and master's programs. The program's first half of the program is dedicated to didactic coursework to establish competencies in preparation for subsequent supervised clinical practice experience (SCPE). The second six months are for supervised rotations where students are in rotation 4 days of the week and working on capstone projects or autonomously on day 5. Pacific integrates the supervisory experience into their MSCN program so students do not have to complete separate DICAS/internship applications. Graduates are ready to write the CDR exam upon successful completion of the program can earn the RDN credential.

California State University Chico - Bachelor of Science, General Dietetics, or Master of Nutritional Science

CSU Chico is in the process of making significant changes to its Master's program to offer a coordinated program options that integrate didactic learning and supervisory experiences. Chico State's Department of Nutrition and Food Science currently offers a graduate program leading to an MS in Nutritional Science, on campus only. There are two options, one is General Nutrition Science and is a pathway to a PhD, and the other is required for students who wish to become RDNs. The Nutrition Education option is for students interested in applying to a dietetic internship. The new combined program will start in 2024-2025 is designed to be completed over two academic years and one summer. To apply you must have completed an ACEND-accredited DPD program at another school, or at Chico with its BS in General Dietetics option (ACEND-accredited). Whether you want to become an RDN, pursue a doctorate degree after your Masters, or embark on a career position, CSU Chico provides education options with a strong foundation in nutritional science. According to post-graduate surveys, 90% of its program graduates are RDNs working in healthcare, community nutrition programs or state agencies, and the other 10% work in industry or education.

Campus-based and online dietetics and nutrition degrees in California

University Degree Program Accreditation Format

Bastyr University

Master of Science in Nutrition for Wellness and Health Coaching Online courses, hybrid program

California Polytechnic State University

Master of Science in Nutrition program Campus

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

California State Polytechnic University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

California State University Chico

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

California State University Fresno

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

California State University Fresno

MS in Dietetic Internship ACEND Campus

California State University Long Beach

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

California State University Long Beach

MS in Dietetic Internship ACEND Campus

California State University Los Angeles

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

California State University Northridge

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

California State University Northridge

MS in Dietetic Internship ACEND Campus

California State University Sacramento

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

California State University San Bernardino

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

California State University San Marcos

Online Master of Public Health CEPH Online available

California State University, Chico

BS in Nutrition and Food Sciences Campus

California State University, Long Beach

Bachelor of Science in Health Science Campus

California State University, Northridge

M.S. Degree in Human Nutrition Campus

Central Valley WIC Dietetic Internship

MS in Dietetic Internship ACEND Campus

Loma Linda University 

Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics Campus

Loma Linda University 

MPH Nutrition (Coordinated Program in Public Health Nutrition and Dietetics) Campus

Loma Linda University

MS in Plant-Based Nutrition CEPH Online

Loma Linda University 

MS Nutrition & Dietetics (Post-RD) Campus

Loma Linda University

BS, MPH, MS in Coordinated Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

Merritt College

AS in Dietetic Technician Program ACEND Campus

Orange Coast College

AS in Dietetic Technician Program ACEND Campus

Pepperdine University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

Point Loma Nazarene University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

San Diego State University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

San Diego State University

Master of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences. Campus

San Francisco State University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

San Jose State University

Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science with a concentration in Dietetics Campus

San Jose State University

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

Santa Rosa Junior College

AS in Dietetic Technician Program ACEND Campus

University of California at Berkeley

Master of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics Campus

University of California at Berkeley

Master’s in Public Health Nutrition (MPH) Campus

University of California Berkeley

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

University of California Davis

BS in Didactic Program in Dietetics ACEND Campus

University of California, Davis

Master of Advanced Study in Maternal and Child Nutrition Campus

University of Southern California

Master of Arts in Foodservice Management and Dietetics (MAFMD) Campus

University of Southern California

Master of Science in Lifespan, Nutrition and Dietetics (MSLND) Campus

University of Southern California

Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity (MSNHL) Campus

University of Southern California

Master of Science in Nutritional Science (MSNS) Campus

University of the Pacific

MSCN ACEND Campus

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

MS in Coordinated Program in Dietetics ACEND Online available

VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

MPH, MS in Dietetic Internship ACEND Campus

In depth review of top campus-based nutrition programs in California

California has a wide range of both ACEND-accredited didactic and non-ACEND nutrition programs offered on its campuses. The programs range from Bachelors of Science (DPD, or didactic program in dietetics) to a Master of Science in Nutrition, coordinated programs (didactic plus experiential learning), as well as doctoral programs focused on nutrition science and research.

University of California at Berkeley Master of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics (MNSD), ACEND-accredited

Berkeley’s 21-month Master of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics (MNSD) is an on-campus only program that prepares students for a career as an Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. The dietetics specialization of Berkeley’s program is rooted in the science of human nutrient metabolism with a strong foundation in the biological and chemical sciences combined with advanced coursework in the application of nutritional sciences. The program is an ACEND-accredited coordinated program providing the required coursework plus the supervised practice hours required to sit for the credentialing examination to become an RDN. The program provides experiential learning sites in the Bay Area for the supervised practice hours so that students do not have to find an internship/supervised program on their own. Students in this coordinated Master’s program start their supervisory rotations at the end of year one, and rotate through a hospital setting, a community nutrition setting, and a foodservice management setting, completing the rotation end the end of year two.

Berkeley’s MNSD program requires students to earn a minimum of 1,172 hours of experiential learning, which is slightly more than the ACEND requirement of 1,000 hours. Admission is rigorous, requiring a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, and prerequisites in nutrition (intro), statistics, the social sciences, organic chemistry, microbiology and physiology. Admission also requires 3 letters of recommendation, 2 being from previous professors.

Loma Linda – Bachelor and Master of Science in Nutritional and Dietetics, ACEND-accredited

Loma Linda University (LLU) is based in Southern California in the town of Loma Linda, east of Los Angeles. LLU is a christian-based educational institution regarded for its innovation in the health-sciences. Its approach is geared toward treating the whole person. It also promotes vegetarianism on campus, in line with its focus on whole-person health. LLU offers three ACEND-accredited degree programs, a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Public Health, and a Master of Science.

LLU’s School of Allied Health Professions, which is connected to LLU’s university health center, offer 4 coordinated/experiential opportunities. Loma Linda’s Nutrition and Dietetics Coordinated Program (CP) is divided into 4 tracks and includes lecture-based coursework plus the 1,000 hour experiential/supervised practice required by ACEND. Student clinical experiences are integrated within the curriculum with hands-on, supervised training in LLU’s progressive, state-of-the-art medical centers and in local clinical facilities. According to its website, many of its alumni return as faculty and clinical instructors.

Four CP tracks are available at Loma Linda University. The first three are focused on medical nutrition therapy and clinical nutrition and are available through LLU’s School of Allied Health Professions, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Master of Public Health is offered through LLU’s School of Public Health and is focused on community nutrition.

  1. Option 1 – Bachelor of Science + Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. This program is a joint degree program and includes one year of graduate study after the completion of undergraduate courses. Graduates are eligible to sit for the RDN exam after completion of the graduate courses, earning both a bachelor and a master of science.
  2. Option 2 – Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics (for bachelor graduates and international students)- is a program for students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in a nutrition-related field at a non-ACEND accredited program. Graduates are eligible to sit for the RDN exam after completion of the MS degree.
  3. Option 3 – Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics (post-Didactic Program in Dietetics)- this program is for students who have completed an ACEND-accredited didactic Bachelor of Science program. Graduates are eligible to sit for the RDN exam after completion of the MS degree.
  4. Option 4 – Master of Public Health in Nutrition, Track II. This program is for students who wish to pursue careers outside of clinical practice, focusing on community nutrition and public health with an emphasis on public policy.

University of California at Davis – BS in Clinical Nutrition (ACEND), BS in Nutritional Science

UC Davis offers two primary paths of study, an ACEND- accredited BS in Clinical Nutrition or a non-ACEND program leading to a BS in Nutrition Science. It also offers advanced degrees in Nutritional Biology (MS, PhD), and a Master of Advanced Study in Maternal and Child Nutrition.

The Clinical Nutrition option focuses on dietetics with a path to ACEND accreditation. Students choosing the Clinical Nutrition major at UC Davis, spend four years in the DPD program, and upon graduation receive a pre-professional verification statement meaning they are eligible to apply for a supervised practice program (accredited Dietetic Internship) where students complete 1,000 hours of practical training in dietetics. Over half of students applying to dietetic internships from UC Davis typically receive acceptance into accredited supervised practice programs after graduating from the DPD program. The Clinical Nutrition pathway prepares students for graduate study and further career preparation in the health professions (dietetics, medicine, pharmacy, nursing) as well as food service, food production and distribution, education, research and public health. UC Davis also facilitates the DTR exam (Dietetic Technician, Registered) process where students are eligible to take the DTR exam once they have completed the didactic program.

UC Davis also offers a BS in Nutrition Science pathway that is non-ACEND accredited, for students pursuing careers in public health, policy or teaching/research. The Nutrition Science major emphasizes the biochemical and physiological aspects nutrient metabolism. Key areas of study include biochemistry, metabolism, nutrition and food policy and public health. Students in the nutrition in public health option take additional coursework in social and health-related and social sciences.

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo – BS, Applied Nutrition (ACEND); MS, Nutrition

Cal Poly’s Food Science and Nutrition Department offers comprehensive education in food science and nutrition. It is one of a few schools in California with a deep focus on the chemistry of food, food agriculture, food science and human nutrition. Undergraduate coursework spans from subjects like the development of new foods to the study of how foods impact health, wellness and disease prevention. Cal Poly offers an ACEND-accredited didactic program, leading to a BS in Applied Nutrition. It also offers a Master of Science in Nutrition through the Food Science and Nutrition Department. The combined option would satisfy the new 2024 CDR requirement of earning a Master’s degree to be able to apply for a supervised dietetic internship and sit for the CDR exam to become a registered dietician nutritionist.

Cal Poly recently earned the top spot for Best Bachelor Degree Programs in Nutrition from BestAccreditedColleges.org. Their College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science offers degree pathways in both Applied Nutrition and Food Science. The Applied Nutrition option is an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). The DPD pathway focuses on dietetics training, with core competency in courses like medical nutrition therapy. Students learn practical skills in food and nutrition research, nutritional assessment and nutritional intervention. Cal Poly’s path to becoming an RDN would require completion of its 1,024-hour dietetic internship program upon completion of a Master’s degree, which can be done as a stand alone internship, or in combination with acceptance to its graduate degree program (MS in Nutrition). The internship program is housed in its Food Science and Nutrition Department with rotation sites in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.

Cal Poly’s strengths lie in its food and nutrition research programs. Many of its undergraduates work closely with faculty on research projects on topics like obesity, diabetes and other diet-related chronic diseases. Students also perform research in sports nutrition, genomics, metabolomics and the microbiome, functional foods/nutraceuticals and global and community nutrition.

The Nutrition Science (non-ACEND) option prepares students for post-graduate study in health-related professions like medicine or nursing, with emphasis in the physical and life sciences as well as nutrition. This pathway can prepare students for further graduate study in nutrition research, public health, nutritional biochemistry or molecular biology.

San Diego State University – BS, Foods and Nutrition

San Diego State University’s didactic program in dietetics is an ACEND accredited joint didactic program in dietetics with its School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences. Most of the coursework for the first two years are completed on campus, with some courses allowed to be completed online or via study abroad options in the 3rd or 4th years. A DPD verification statement is required (with grades C or better) to apply for an internship that is required, along with a master’s degree (graduates after 2024) to become registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). SDSU does offer clinical supervisory experience rotations with its sponsored WIC program, but entry is extremely competitive at only 6 applicants accepted to the program at the time of this writing. Otherwise students may need to apply for most dietetic internship programs through the online centralized internship application (DICAS) matching internship opportunities.

Undergraduate coursework for the DPD program focuses on nutrition opportunities, fundamentals of nutrition, microbiology, organic chemistry human anatomy, social sciences and statistics. Core/upper division courses include Advanced Nutrition, Nutrition Throughout the Lifespan, Food Systems Management, Medical Nutrition Therapy, Physiology of Exercise and Principles in Human Physiology, to name a few.

Typical online nutrition coursework at universities in California

  • – Examines role of nutrition and genes and the impact each has on longevity and diseases, particularly diseases related to aging.
  • – Macro, and micronutrient requirements across the lifespan, topics and controversies in nutrition and health are discussed.
  • – Examines the tools and resources used to assess the nutrition status of individuals including biochemical, anthropometric, subjective global assessment and evidence-based screening and assessment tools across the health
    disciplines used to evaluate health status.
  • .

What to know about becoming a Registered Dietitian in in California

In addition to having credentials from an ACEND-accredited institution, it is also important to understand the professional licensing requirements in your state, and for your scope of practice. California grants title protection of the “Registered Dietitian” title to Registered Dietitians. California (and a few other states) does not require dietitians to maintain additional state licensure or registration. Registered Dietitians, like in many states, are required to pass the CDR exam to hold a Registered Dietitian credential with the CDR, and uphold continuing education (CE) requirements to maintain the RDN license. To maintain CDR certification in California, you must complete 75 continuing professional education units (CPEU’s) every five-year cycle. One unit every five years must be in ethics.

Holistic nutrition and other nutrition education professionals may work within their scope of practice as unlicensed practitioners in the state of California but cannot call themselves dietitians or RDNs. They are often credentialed through other organizations like the Council of Education for Public Health (CEPH) or the Board of Certified Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) or . More information about the practice act or statute for dietitians in California can be found here California Code

To become a credentialed registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) in California you will need to complete:

  1. Accredited academic coursework (by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges or other regional accreditation agency) in an ACEND-accredited dietetics program
  2. A minimum of 1,000 hours in a post-baccalaureate ACEND-accredited supervised practice program
  3. A master’s degree (effective January 1, 2024)
  4. Passage of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing examination
  5. In some states, graduates also must obtain licensure to practice. Other licensure is not required in the state of California

Information about state licensure requirements can be found on the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) website. CDR State Licensure Info

Organizations to know for nutrition in California

There are few resources if you are considering becoming a registered dietitian in California. The California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the leading organization for nutrition and dietetic professionals in California. Registered Dietitians, nutrition students and dietetics interns are all eligible to join this non-profit association. The academy holds events on various nutrition topics and provides a platform for nutrition professionals to network and gain continuing education in the profession: Calif Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Other helpful resources:

Nutritionist career options in California

Nutritionists and dietitians have a wealth of career options whether it be full-time employment, self-employment as a service provider, or in private practice. Many nutritionists with advanced training and clinical experience have lucrative careers as private chefs, online course creators, ghost writers, researchers, community health advocates, policy-makers, educators and authors.

The post-pandemic years have created an increased focus on health, nutrition and longevity while simultaneously creating gig economy opportunities that can expand earning potential for dietitians and nutritionists. Many RDN’s now work beyond the scope of institutional or private practice and have lucrative careers as teachers, writers, authors, podcasters, online coaches, corporate wellness consultants and even travel dietitians.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dietitians is projected to grow 7% from 2021-2031, which is as fast as the average for all occupations. This is likely because of the increased emphasis on the role of food and nutrition in preventing and treating disease, and a growing aging population combined with increased public interest in nutrition and lifespan.

In the state of California, RDN’s on average earn salaries higher than than most other states. California ranks number 6 out of 50 states nationwide for RDN pay, with salaries as high as $80,000 for advanced degree professionals (think of roles like Chief Clinical Dietician). According to the 2021 Compensation & Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession, the U.S. median full-time annual salary of RDNs is $72,000, but salaries vary significantly by region, employment settings and supply of RDNs. For example, RDN’s working in business, management, education or research in the state of California can earn incomes as high as the $80-$90K range.

California Nutrition Programs
Information about these California nutrition programs was hand-gathered through a lot of research on the web. Several sources we used include: ACEND, ASN, CEPH, IPEDS, and more. You can also contact us if you see a missing school or program, or a degree needs adjusted.

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