Best Accredited Online Master’s in Dietetics Programs

Advance your career in nutritional health and counseling by enrolling in a master’s in dietetics online degree program. Learn what it takes to apply and what you can expect during the program and after graduation.

Whether you are looking to take the next step in your dietetics career or want to move into the field, chances are you’ve been thinking about pursuing a master’s in dietetics online degree. There are so many good reasons to consider this degree: it not only provides the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively teach and guide others in proper diet and nutrition, but it’s also one of the more popular ways to become eligible to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

Completing a dietetics master’s degree program online is a significant commitment. You’ll want to find the right program to meet your needs before investing in the educational pursuit. You’ve likely got questions about finding the right program, and we’re here to help. We’ll talk about the admissions requirements, what kind of classes you can expect, and what job prospects will be possible after graduation. Read on to take the first step toward earning your master’s in dietetics online.

College Spotlights: Best Online Master’s in Dietetics Programs for 2021

Aspiring online master’s in dietetics students have a large selection of programs to choose from. To help you find the right one, we’ve created a full rankings list identifying the top schools and programs, which will be released later in 2021. Until then, we’ve identified the three top-notch online dietetics master’s degree programs that are among the best, not just quality of education, but the flexibility of learning, affordability, and program formats.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

At the University of Alabama at Birmingham, students follow the Coordinated Program in Dietetics model to become RDNs. Specifically, they can enroll in the ACEND-accredited Dietitian Education Program, which leads to a Master of Science in Nutrition Sciences and a curriculum that contains the necessary coursework and supervised learning experiences to sit for the exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

The curriculum is designed for full-time study, consisting of 58 credit hours that can be completed in two years, including a summer term. During the summer, fall, and spring terms, students will take between 10 and 13 credits, with 24 total credits allotted for supervised learning experiences. Even though the coursework can be completed online for maximum flexibility, the supervised learning is in-person. However, UAB allows students to earn the supervised learning requirements at a location convenient to them.

Texas Tech University

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Texas Tech University’s Online Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics is for students interested in learning about dietetics and nutrition, regardless of their professional background or future goals. This is unique because other online masters in dietetics programs are designed for individuals who are already RDNs.

This curriculum consists of 33 credits and does not include a thesis. It is for students who are already RDNs or plan to complete the Dietetics Internship on top of the non-thesis 33 credit curriculum. Regardless of the chosen track, students will take courses to prepare for work in a wide range of practice areas, such as geriatrics, maternal health, pediatrics, and eating disorders. Students can choose among the following three concentrations:

  • Nutrition and Healthy Weight
  • Nutrition and Sports
  • Nutrition in the Lifecycle

Logan University

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The Master’s of Science in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics online program at Logan University consists of 40 credits. The curriculum is in line with the Future Education Model, which requires Registered Dietitian Nutritionists to possess a master’s degree by 2024. As a result, the curriculum consists of two primary components.

First, there’s the coursework, which students can complete fully online. It consists of classes such as:

  • Health Education Concepts and Theories
  • Health Policy
  • Survey of Sustainable Food Systems
  • Nutritional Assessment of Athletes

Second, there are the supervised experiential learning (SEL) experiences. This will help students meet the practice requirements to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Students can complete the SEL requirements in the St. Louis area. Upon completing the entire curriculum, students will be eligible to sit for the registration exam to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

Why Earn an Online Master’s in Dietetics?

The master’s in dietetics online degree is well worth the time and effort. Not only is this degree convenient to earn, but it is also essential to taking full advantage of a dietetics and nutrition education. Let’s look at the benefits of earning a master’s degree that a bachelor’s degree just can’t provide you:

  1. Learning flexibility

    Except for the curriculum’s supervised practice component, most of the classwork can be completed online. And in most cases, it can be completed asynchronously, allowing students to attend class at a time that’s most convenient for them, even if it’s in the middle of the night or on weekends.

  2. Required to become an RDN

    Starting on January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration will require applicants to hold a master’s degree to become a Registered Dietician Nutritionist. A bachelor’s degree will no longer be the standard for becoming an RDN, so earning a master’s degree is essential.

  3. Obtain an advanced level of knowledge

    Whether it’s the desire to learn more about a topic commonly seen in practice or earn sufficient knowledge to be eligible for the Certified Nutrition Specialist credential, the online master’s in dietetics degree makes it possible for students to dive deep into a particular area of nutrition.

What You’ll Learn in a Master’s in Dietetics Online Programs

The curriculum in online master’s programs in dietetics can vary widely. Some can include a thesis, capstone, or internship – or none of the above. It largely depends on what the goals are for the program, such as being qualified to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. However, there are many similarities across dietetics master’s degree online programs, like classes that focus on certain populations’ nutrition needs.

Popular Courses

  • Advanced Medical Nutrition

    This class provides information about the importance of proper nutrition to maintain health and medical issues that have causes rooted in poor nutrition. Course content also addresses interactions between nutrients and medications.

  • Nutrition Internship

    This class can usually be found in the Dietetic Internship or supervised experiential learning component of an online dietetics master’s degree program. Students will obtain practical experience in how nutrition principles apply to real-world situations, such as with athletes, preventing disease, and research.

  • Micronutrients

    This course examines what micronutrients are in relation to human processes. For example, students will see how human cells use micronutrients and how the metabolic process is affected by them.

  • Practicum in Medical Nutrition Therapy

    Students will apply their nutritional knowledge in a therapeutic context, such as hospitals or long-term care settings. During this practicum, students will monitor the diets of their patients and how those diets affect the patients’ overall health.

  • Geriatric Nutrition

    This course will explain what the nutritional needs are for older individuals. Topics covered include the relationships between diet and human aging and how lifestyle changes as someone gets older can change the person’s nutritional needs.

ACEND Accreditation for Master’s in Dietetics Online Programs

Accreditation is the process by which schools and programs request a review from an independent organization that assesses their educational offerings and confirms they meet a minimum level of quality. Employers typically recognize only accredited degrees, sources of financial aid, and other schools. An accredited degree may be needed to be eligible for a credential or certification.

There are two primary types of accreditation, institutional and programmatic. Institutional applies to an entire educational institution. Programmatic accreditation applies to a specific program. Within the context of master’s in dietetics online degree programs, the primary accrediting body is the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. Students wishing to become Registered Dietician Nutritionists must complete coursework and supervised training from an ACEND-accredited program.

What You Can Do with a Master’s in Dietetics

The master’s in dietetics degree is the required and all-important step toward becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. It also provides the opportunity to focus on a particular specialty or obtain the academic credentials for a new career, such as in education. As a result, graduates from online master’s degree programs in dietetics can expect to find work in many settings, such as higher education, primary education, healthcare, community services, and private industry.

Dietician

In the majority of states, a dietitian will need a license to practice. Currently, only a bachelor’s degree is needed to meet the academic eligibility requirements to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. However, starting in 2024, a master’s degree will be necessary. Even if becoming an RDN is not the goal, the master’s degree will offer additional professional opportunities, including the possibility of teaching or specializing in a particular area of dietetics or nutrition.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$38,890 $61,270 $87,360

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Community Health Worker

Community health workers serve as an intermediate between lay individuals in a community and doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. They help teach individuals how to improve and maintain their health and create programs to convey healthy lifestyle habits to the community. Earning a master’s degree in dietetics can be quite helpful for those providing the most effective and up-to-date nutrition advice possible.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$26,660 $40,360 $68,350

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Career/Technical Dietetics Teacher

A graduate degree is often required to teach at a technical or vocational school. Because a doctorate usually isn’t necessary, the master’s in dietetics online degree offers the perfect option for individuals who already have extensive training and experience in the nutrition and dietetics field.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$32,840 $54,620 $99,230

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Food Service Manager

Food service managers handle the day-to-day operations of establishments that serve food, including restaurants, hospitals, and schools. Part of these duties relates to food production and acquisition oversight, including dealing with suggested changes in the food being served. The master’s in dietetics online degree offers knowledge that can help food service managers make better decisions concerning the nutrition level of the food offered.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$33,210 $55,320 $93,040

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainers focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of injuries relating to athletic activities. A critical component in staying injury-free or recovering from an injury is the athlete’s nutrition. The proper diet is critical to the proper healing of tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. By earning a master’s degree in dietetics, an athletic trainer will have the advanced knowledge in nutrition to provide well-rounded treatment for the athlete.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$31,300 $48,440 $73,470

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Online Master’s Degrees in Dietetics

Earning a graduate degree can be expensive, but there are many financial aid options available to help. Among the most common include scholarships, grants, fellowships, employer tuition assistance, and student loans. These can come from various providers, including federal and state government, corporations, charities, and the student’s employer. To find out more about these and other financial aid opportunities, look at our financial aid page.

How Affordable Your Online Master’s in Dietetics Could Be

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Total Tuition Cost

University of Arizona

30

$950.00

$28,500

University of Rhode Island

36

$444.44 (est.)

$16,000

Simmons University

40

$1,280.00

$51,200

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Dietetics Master’s Degrees

What are the admissions requirements for an online master’s in dietetics?

Each online dietetics master’s degree program will have admissions requirements that reflect the school’s desire to find the best potential students. However, there are parallels among most programs concerning what applicants must submit. These common components typically include:

  • Application
  • Application fee
  • A bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA
  • Personal statement or statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume or curriculum vitae

Some schools will have variations in the above requirements. For instance, a school may not require incoming students to have a bachelor’s degree in a particular area of study. Still, they will require students to have completed certain prerequisite courses. Some require GRE scores, while others don’t even mention them. Depending on the program’s learning outcomes, students may need to provide evidence that they are RDNs.

How long will it take to finish my master’s in dietetics online?

A master’s in dietetics online degree will usually consist of 30 to 39 credits. However, some may require far more classes, like at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which consists of 58 credit hours. Typical dietetics programs will include both the coursework and supervised experience necessary to become an RDN. Most students will complete these requirements in two to three years by taking a part-time course load.

Can I earn a master’s in dietetics 100% online, or do I need to visit campus?

While most, if not all of the coursework can be completed online, the Dietetic Internship or supervised experiential learning cannot. This is the program where students will complete their 1,200 hours of supervised practice to become eligible to apply for the RDN credential. Depending on the school, students can complete their supervised hours at a predetermined location or another approved site.