Earning a Master's in Nutrition Online

Should I Pursue a Master's in Nutrition Online?

Earning a master's in nutrition online can qualify graduates for careers in industries including policy making, fitness, healthcare, and public health. Most programs reflect the diversity of graduates' career options by offering specializations in specific industries or categories. For example, a student interested in helping athletes may specialize in sports nutrition.

Nutrition students should value fitness and healthy eating, and they should be passionate about helping others pursue these ideals. Learners study these concepts at the molecular level in the context of all life stages. Graduates often pursue careers as dieticians, health educators, and community health workers.

While earning an online master's in nutrition, students gain technology skills applicable to roles in the nutrition field. For example, nutritionists may create pamphlets with health tips for clients. The best online nutrition master's degree programs help learners develop computer skills to better serve future clients.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Nutrition Graduates

Master's in Nutrition Salary

Salaries for graduates of the top online nutrition master's programs vary by location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for U.S. dietitians and nutritionists is more than $60,000 per year. However, professionals in some states, such as California, earn higher average salaries.

When choosing a career and location, professionals should consider each state's employment figures. California's high pay, combined with the state's employment of nearly 8,000 workers in the field, indicates high professional potential. However, Alaska holds low employment numbers in spite of the high salaries professionals in the state earn, which could make finding a job more difficult for graduates.

Experience level also impacts a nutritionist's earning potential. Over the course of their career, nutritionists increase their salary by an average of $17,000. After entering the field with an accredited online nutrition master's degree, professionals can expect to earn higher salaries as they gain experience.

Top Paying States for Dieticians and Nutritionists

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
California 7,950 $72,130
Alaska 150 $68,310
Oregon 710 $67,820
New Jersey 1,880 $67,800
Connecticut 850 $67,270
United States 62,980 $60,150

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Nutritionists

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $40,000
  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $43,000
  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $43,000
  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $57,000

Source: PayScale

Master's in Nutrition Careers

Earning a master's in nutrition online can prepare students for a variety of careers. Those who enjoy providing individual guidance may become nutritionists, while those who prefer assisting groups may fill roles as community health workers or postsecondary educators. Learners should consider their career goals before pursuing a master's degree in nutrition online to ensure the degree fits their intended profession.

Dietician or Nutritionist

Annual Median Salary: $59,410
Projected Growth Rate: 15%

These workers offer guidance based on clients' nutritional needs. These professionals often prepare eating plans and adjust those plans based on each client's progress. They may also discuss nutrition in public forums, construct instructional field materials, and research nutrition concepts. Certifications, such as the Certified Nutritionist Specialist credential, often require a master's degree and can lead to career advancement.

Health Educator and Community Health Worker

Annual Median Salary: $45,360
Projected Growth Rate: 16%

Health educators and community health workers examine the health needs of groups. They may plan events that address community health problems or promote healthy habits, such as cancer screenings. Candidates may oversee employees, connect clients to health services, and support policies related to community wellness. Some employers require these professionals to hold a master's degree.

Postsecondary Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $97,870
Projected Growth Rate: 26%

These educators prepare lesson plans, deliver lectures, and grade assignments. They may help develop school curricula and advise learners on class scheduling. Postsecondary teachers must typically hold at least a master's degree in the field they teach. Many institutions hire teachers with an online master's in nutrition.

Department Chair (College/University)

Annual Median Salary: $84,207
Projected Growth Rate: N/A

These professionals oversee academic departments by conferring with administrators and guiding faculty. Department chairs may also teach classes, alter curricula, address the department's financial needs, write articles, and participate in the hiring process. Colleges and universities typically require candidates for these positions to hold at least a master's degree.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Nutrition Program?

Program details for an accredited online master's in nutrition vary by school and concentration. Concentrations such as fitness or health education prepare learners for careers in related areas. However, nutrition students typically take the following classes, regardless of concentration.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Nutrition

  1. Community Nutrition: This course prepares students for careers as community health workers and health educators. Students learn strategies for determining community health needs and the best methods for offering assistance. Coursework may also cover program creation, available resources, funding, and policies related to the field.
  2. Metabolism and Nutrition: Students learn how nutrients impact general health aspects, such as organ wellness, and how proper nutrition can prevent illnesses. Coursework addresses concepts such as deficiencies and supplements and helps aspiring dietitians and nutritionists understand nutrition's impact on basic functions.
  3. Nutrition in the Life Cycle: Learners explore nutritional needs throughout life stages, such as adolescence and elderly years. Coursework examines the body's health needs during these stages, along with the impact of nutrition on growth. Learners can use this information to guide clients of all ages toward healthier choices.
  4. Nutrition and Performance: Students explore the relationship between nutrients and exercise, including which foods best fuel performance. Coursework may cover eating disorders, signs of nutritional complications in athletes, nutritional recordkeeping, and calorie needs. This course prepares future nutritionists to work with athletes and other active clients.
  5. Nutrition Communication: Students learn to deliver nutrition concepts through technology, written forms, and public forums. This process involves researching, assessing the value of sources, and organizing ideas for different audiences. Coursework prepares learners for careers as public speakers and researchers in the field, and aspiring nutritionists learn to communicate ideas to clients.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Nutrition Prepares For

  • Licensed Nutritionist: Nutritionist licensing requirements vary, depending on location and occupation. For example, Arizona does not require a license for general nutrition work, while Florida requires both a license and status as a registered dietitian for counseling. Steps to earn licensure vary by state.
  • Certified Nutrition Specialist: These specialists may perform nutritionist work in clinical settings or conduct research. Candidates choose from three certifications, each designed for a specific career. Healthcare workers can pursue the healthcare professions option, and individuals interested in research can pursue the certification for scholars. Applicants must fulfill education and experience requirements, and must complete the certification examination for nutrition specialists.