Online Dietician Degree Information with Curriculum Overview
Online dietician degree programs are available to students at all levels of education and experience; options include certificate courses and undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Curricula at each level can vary, but typically include classes in nutrition and medical terminology.
Online Dietician Education
Dieticians work to promote healthy dietary habits in clinical environments like hospitals and nursing homes, as well as in public settings like businesses and schools. Individuals pursuing an online degree program emphasizing dietetics can find offerings on the certificate, associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. The online coursework normally involves video conferencing, live chat sessions and e-mail.
Online dietician degree programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) are recommended for students preparing for a career as a registered dietetic technician (DTR) or a registered dietitian (RD). Students who complete a DTR program are usually awarded an associate's degree and accrue supervised experience as dietetic technicians. The RD designation tends to signify that the holder has an undergraduate or graduate degree and has completed at least 1,200 hours of supervised practice as part of that degree program, traditionally through an internship. Although courses are often available fully online, students may need to complete the practical dietetics work with a preceptor in their local area.
A listing of CADE-accredited programs can be found on the American Dietetic Association's website (www.eatright.org). Prospective students can search the list to find programs offered through online or distance education.
Students pursuing an online dietician degree should first make sure that the computer they are going to use conforms to the program's technical specifications. The most common requirements are a broadband Internet connection, the capability to download and run plug-ins like Adobe Acrobat and Apple Quicktime and an up-to-date Windows or Mac operating system.
In addition to food and nutrition studies, dieticians' education and training tends to focus on scientific topics such as physiology, behavioral sciences and biochemistry. Listed below are some classes common to many certificate, associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs.
Certificate Program Curriculum
Certificate courses are normally 34 credits long and can be completed in two semesters. Class topics on the certificate level can include nutrition assessment, medical terminology and food service orientation.
Associate's Degree Program Curriculum
Commonly, courses for students taking a 2-year associate's degree program involve food safety foundations, nutrition and wellness. Students are also introduced to health care for nutrition.
Bachelor's Degree Program Curriculum
Online bachelor's degree programs typically take four years to complete. They can include classes in complementary and alternative medicine, nutrition therapy and nutrient metabolism.
Master's Degree Program Curriculum
Most master's degree programs are about six semesters long, involving coursework and research in topics like food and culture or nutrition of the life-cycle. Graduate-level programs can also involve taking online seminars in dietetics and creating a thesis.
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