Nutritionists fulfill a key role in healthcare. With their specialized knowledge of biochemistry, nutrition, and assessment, they are able to help their clients manage, treat, and prevent illness. An integral member of their clients’ healthcare team, nutritionists are capable of improving their clients’ health outcomes holistically. However, as it’s possible to earn certification as a nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree, some never consider the benefits of earning a master’s degree in Nutrition. Further still, many never consider pursuing this path online. Many ask, “Is a master’s in Nutrition worth it, and can it be done online?”
An online master’s degree in Nutrition can greatly improve your career options, salary potential, and hireability. Read on to learn the ways in which earning a master’s degree in Nutrition online can help you achieve your career goals.
The Graduate School Advantage
While it’s possible to declare yourself a nutritionist or dietitian without training or licensure in some states, it is a distinct advantage to have earned at least a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition or Dietetics. However, many employers prefer candidates who have earned a master’s degree and, in fact, some licenses require it. Therefore, a Master’s in Nutrition is worth it for aspiring nutritionists. If you’re not convinced, here are a few reasons why earning a master’s in Nutrition is so advantageous.
As of 2019, only nineteen states had licensing requirements for Clinical Nutritionists. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find employment as a nutritionist in a clinical setting without certification. It’s possible to earn licensing as a Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) with only a bachelor’s degree; however, for those wishing to earn licensing either as a CCN or Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS), a master’s degree is preferred. Those who earn a master’s degree are eligible to sit for the licensure exam for the CNS certification. This license affords its holders with more employment opportunities and a higher salary range.
Career Opportunities and Salary Potential
With a master’s degree in Nutrition, you’ll have several employment opportunities. These can include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Certified Nutrition Specialist
- Community Health Educator
- Exercise Physiologist
- Industry Consultant
The opportunities are numerous. Perhaps most importantly, though, a master’s degree in Nutrition can improve your earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a master’s degree can increase your earnings by 20 percent. The median salary for a master’s degree holder is $77,844. Even more importantly, the unemployment rate is a mere two percent. Earning a master’s degree in Nutrition can broaden your career outlook and improve your overall salary potential.
A master’s degree in Nutrition can prepare graduates to continue their studies in a doctoral program, such as a Doctorate of Health Science. These degrees are necessary for those who wish to teach at a university or college level or who wish to conduct high-level, clinical research in the area of nutrition.
Online vs. Traditional Programs: Is there a Difference?
If you’ve been a traditional student in the past, you may not have ever considered the benefits that an online program can offer. Traditional programs are, of course, designated as such because they’re primarily completed in-person, and full-time. Online degree programs, by contrast, offer their students the freedom and flexibility to complete their coursework when and where they want to. Additionally, many online programs offer their students a less expensive option for completing their degree. Without the facility fees, parking costs, or housing charges associated with an in-person degree, many students find an online program far more affordable than a traditional degree.
How Long Does a Master’s in Nutrition Online Take?
For many, an online graduate program is the perfect choice as it provides a flexible and expeditious way to earn a master’s degree. The online master’s in Nutrition can be finished in as few as 23 months. However, for those wishing to complete their coursework while working full time, a part-time option is available. For these students, there is an element of flexibility available. The pace is up to the student. The online program can be completed up to five years from the start of the first master’s course.
Online Master’s in Nutrition Coursework
The pursuit of an online master’s in Nutrition does not preclude you from taking the coursework you need to successfully enter the nutrition field. The Human Nutrition Program at University of Bridgeport, for example, consists of foundational coursework in human physiology and biochemistry, human development, and nutritional therapeutics.
Depending on what your undergraduate degree was in, you may be required to take a variety of prerequisites including:
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Intro to Biochemistry
- Nutrition Fundamentals
In addition to these foundational courses, students will be expected to complete a variety of core classes. These include:
- Evidence-based Nutrition
- Pathophysiologic Basis of Metabolic Diseases
- Biochemistry of Nutrition
- Assessment of Nutritional Status
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Lifelong Healing with Food
Lastly, students in the online program will participate in a semester of virtual clinics. This semester is completed in four monthly modules on clinical management online with different instructors. Students learn key skills in assessment, clinical test analysis, treatment plan design, weight loss strategies, and how to start and grow their own nutrition practice.
A master’s in Nutrition can prepare you for an exciting career with endless potential. However, graduate study need not come at the expense of your other responsibilities. Whether you’re a busy professional looking to change careers or you’re preparing for future doctoral programs, an online master’s degree in Nutrition can get you where you want to go. In other words, an online master’s in Nutrition is well worth it!
Is a master’s of science in Nutrition in your future? Contact the Admissions Office at University of Bridgeport to find out more about our online Master’s in Nutrition program!