Online College Courses in Nutrition
An understanding of nutrition is essential knowledge for anyone who wants to practice healthy eating habits. For those interested in helping others eat right by developing food programs, or combating issues such as obesity, diabetes, or malnourishment, this knowledge can also lead to a rewarding career.
Nutritionists and dieticians have expert knowledge of food, its makeup, and how it affects the human body. They may work on an individual scale in communities, or on a global one, addressing such issues as malnourishment, obesity, or limited food supplies. Nutritional knowledge isn't just limited to nutritionists or dieticians, but can also extend to those who work with food and the public. Teachers, chefs, and trainers, for instance, could benefit from nutrition courses, as they teach young students how to develop healthy eating habits, help an athlete prepare for a big game, or whip up a new dish for a restaurant that must abide by certain health standards.
Online college courses in nutrition provide a flexible alternative for students who don't have a program near them, or have family and work obligations that prevent them from attending class on campus. They offer the same information as a class at a brick-and-mortar school, too, covering the different components of food and its effects on the human body through such topics as nutrition, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and physiology. Classes can be used towards a degree in dietetics, foods and nutrition, food service systems management, or a related area, at the undergraduate or master's levels.
These programs can take anywhere from four to six years to complete, and often will include other courses, such as economics or sociology. It's important to make sure that the course you want to take is through an accredited institution. You'll have an easier time getting credit for a course from an accredited program than one that's not. You can check to see if your school is accredited through the U.S. Department of Education's database. Dietitian programs may also be accredited by the American Dietetic Association's Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education. You can search for accredited dietitian programs on its website.
Nutrition and Your Career
Online college courses in nutrition will teach you how to plan food and nutrition programs, prevent illness through diet, and recommend dietary modifications. These skills can lead to work in a number of fields, including as a dietitian who manages food service for hospitals and schools; clinical dietitian who serves patients in hospitals and nursing care facilities; and community dietician who counsels people on good nutritional practices to prevent disease and promote health. Some states require dietitians to be licensed, so courses in nutrition can help prepare you for any necessary licensing exams, as well as fulfill any continuing education requirements need to maintain licensure.
For those interested in continuing their education, greater education at the master's level or higher can open the door to careers in research, public health, or advanced clinical positions. Nutrition degrees may also lead to diverse careers that directly or indirectly work with food, such as food manufacturing, advertising, pharmaceuticals sales, chef, and food writer. They can also prepare students for medical school.
Job prospects in nutrition fields are stable. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of dietitians and nutritionists is expected to increase 9% during the 2008-18 decade, which is on par with the average increase for all occupations. A growing emphasis on disease prevention through dietary habits accounts for this projected growth. Demand for nutritional counseling and treatment in such facilities as hospitals, schools, prisons, and home healthcare agencies will also increase due to a growing and aging population. Nutritionists who specialize in obesity and diabetes may find themselves in demand, too, according to the BLS, as Medicare coverage expanded to include medical nutrition therapy for renal and diabetic patients.
Free Online Nutrition Courses:
- Human Growth and Development – Open.Michigan at the University of Michigan
- Food and Nutrition Policy – OpenCourseWare at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Principles of Human Nutrition – OpenCourseWare at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Agricultural Science and Policy – Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University