What to Major in to Become a Nutritionist

Nutritionists usually need a bachelor's degree in a major like dietetics, nutrition or food science, although graduate programs are available. Read about undergraduate majors for aspiring nutritionists, and learn about graduate program options, certification, career prospects and salary potential.

View 7 Popular Schools »

Educational Requirements

Typically, nutritionists only need a bachelor's degree related to food science or nutrition to practice, though most states require licensure or state registration as well. Both on-campus and distance learning bachelor's degree programs in many areas of health and nutrition science are available. These programs usually involve an internship that provides the clinical training needed to work in the field. After graduation, students may pursue certification as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, which requires having supervised training, possessing a bachelor's degree and completing a state exam.

Major Options

Common undergraduate majors for prospective nutritionists include food and nutrition, clinical nutrition, dietetics and food service systems management. While some programs prepare students for registration as dietitians, others do not. Practical experience through an internship is common, while field experiences are often incorporated throughout these programs. Although coursework depends on the health and nutrition science major you choose, some topics you may learn about include:

  • Dietary systems management
  • Food science
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Nutrition education
  • Lifecycle nutrition
  • Epidemiology
  • Community nutrition
  • Food service administration
  • Biochemistry
  • Medical nutrition therapy

Advanced Degrees

Although it's not required, some nutritionists hold advanced degrees. There are several areas of concentration and research available to master's and doctoral students in nutrition. Students in graduate programs may focus on:

  • Biotechnology
  • Sports nutrition
  • International and community nutrition
  • Agricultural and environmental sciences
  • Biochemical and molecular nutrition
  • Public health and education
  • Medical nutrition
  • Holistic nutrition
  • Molecular toxicology

The American Dietetic Association: Registration and Resources

Professional registration through the American Dietetic Association (ADA) is recommended, if not always required, for nutritionists since it can lead to more desirable jobs, salaries and professional opportunities. Registration requires the completion of a practicum at a local laboratory, healthcare facility or food production company. This requirement is usually completed as part of an undergraduate or graduate degree program.

The ADA also provides a listing of schools by state with at least one degree program in health and nutrition, including degree type, average class sizes, tuition rates and contact information. Students may also look up accredited internship sites available in their state on the ADA's website, www.eatright.org.

Membership in the ADA offers continuing education opportunities for registered nutritionists to maintain an active certification. Other benefits include access to research studies, travel discounts, networking with other professionals and career information. The organization also invests in the future of the profession by offering student members scholarships between $500 and $3,000 annually.

Job Outlook and Salary

Nutritionists fill vital roles in private industry and public service. Nutritionists may find careers in research, education, public health and consultation services. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for nutritionists and dietitians as of May 2013 was $56,300. The BLS anticipates the employment rate for dietitians and nutritionists to grow 21% between 2012 and 2022, and those with advanced education and certification may find themselves with the most desirable qualifications.

Show me popular schools

Related to What to Major in to Become a Nutritionist

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Sports and Fitness Nutritionist: Job Description and Requirements

A sports and fitness nutritionist is responsible for teaching athletes and fitness enthusiasts effective ways to improve their...

Career Information for a Degree in Human Sciences

The human sciences field is devoted to understanding human principles. Continue reading for an overview of potential human...

How to Become a Culinary Nutritionist: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become a culinary nutritionist. Research the education requirements, training, licensure information and...

Pet Nutritionist: Job Description, Duties, Salary and Outlook

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a pet nutritionist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as...

How to Become a Certified Holistic Nutritionist: Career Guide

Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (14)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (5)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (2)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (4)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (5)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (2)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your classroom preference?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (2 campuses)
    • California (5)
    • Colorado (1)
    • Florida (1)
    • Hawaii (1)
    • Texas (2)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    Do you prefer online or campus based learning?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Which degree level do you plan to pursue?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Currently not accepting applications from Texas residents
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor of Science - Healthcare Management With a Dental Hygiene Emphasis

    Which subject are you interested in?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • North Dakota (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of North Dakota include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Nutrition Services
        • Clinical Nutrition
        • Dietitian
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Illinois (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Loyola University Chicago include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Nutrition Services
        • Clinical Nutrition
        • Dietitian
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Informatics and Illustration
      • Medical Residency Programs

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Copyright