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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Aspiring Dietitians

Majors Overview March 20, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs for aspiring dietitians and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Aspiring Dietitians

Many four-year universities and colleges offer broad interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Dietetics degree programs through their education, human science, health science, or food science departments. Students enrolled in the program are provided with a strong grasp of exercise and nutrition, along with coursework that covers liberal studies, food service administration, community health, wellness, and healthcare.

The American Dietetic Association has established the requirements needed to be satisfied by an undergraduate degree program in dietetics. Coursework in such programs combines nutrition courses with courses covering education, chemistry, counseling, and technology. Students enrolled in some bachelor’s degree programs in dietetics are allowed to select a focus of concentration, such as geriatric nutrition, clinical nutrition, or sports nutrition.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. Sophomores and college freshmen that seek admission to a major program in dietetics must complete prerequisite courses in college writing, communication, physical science, and mathematics.


The coursework of a bachelor’s degree program in dietetics covers many areas of wellness studies and physical science. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Institutional food purchasing
•Food technology
•Chemical health service
•Quantity food production
•Food finance and cost control
•Physiology and anatomy
•Health enhancement
•Multicultural foods
•Dietetics as a profession
•Medical terminology

Career Choices

Dietitians, who often function in an advisory or clinical capacity, study the effects of food and nutrition on the human body. In 2012, there were about 67,400 individuals employed as dietitians and nutritionists in the U.S. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Many of these professionals found employment in various healthcare centers, including nursing care facilities and hospitals.

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a faster-than-average job growth rate of 21% has been predicted for dietitians and nutritionists (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals brought home an average annual wage of $55,240 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Those who wish to become dietitians should look into master’s degree programs in nutrition and dietetics, which provide an advanced education of the emerging technologies and research methods in the food science field. Individuals will also be ready for upper-level management, research, and consulting positions.

Certification, registration, or licensure is a requirement in the majority of U.S. states for nutritionists and dietitians. Each state has its own separate licensure procedures, but those looking to become dietitians may also look for national certification from the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association.

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