Online Nutrition Associate’s Degree

By Derick de Souza

Updated March 15, 2024

Derick de Souza

Derick is a business and education consultant working on various projects and scopes. With about 25 years of experience in different settings, he loves to tell others about “how not to be a failure” rather than “how to be successful.” Derick writes and edits articles on online learning, business, employment, and skill development, among others. His hobbies include photography, web design and development, and traveling.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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Nutrition is an essential component of health and development. Those pursuing this field will counsel clients on different nutrition issues and help develop excellent and sustainable eating habits. A good educational background in nutrition can help you get started with pursuing a career in this field. One can take up an online nutrition associate’s degree to prepare oneself for entry-level jobs in nutrition and dietetics. Some students want to understand if they are interested in studying nutrition full-time; for such individuals, an online associate’s degree in nutrition helps one get an overview of the field. They can also transfer credits to a four-year institution and complete their undergraduate degree requirements. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is expected to grow by 11 percent, which is a rate much faster than the average for other occupations between the decades of 2020 and 2030 [1]

Online Nutrition Associate’s Degree

Find the Best Online Associate Programs
in Nutrition

There are many institutions offering associate’s degrees. A good school education can significantly impact one’s professional and personal career. There are many factors one needs to evaluate, like the quality of faculty, school accreditation, courses and specialization offered, etc. FBD teams have evaluated many colleges and programs in nutrition from all over the U.S. and, using our unique ranking system, prepared a list of institutions offering the best online nutrition associate’s degrees: *

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College (CSTCC or Cincinnati State) is a public technical and community college established in 1969 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The college offers over 75 associate degree programs and majors and over 40 certificate programs.
Univ Address
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College 3520 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45223

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to Expect from an Online Associate Program
 in Nutrition

An associate’s program in nutrition makes one use their knowledge to work with clients about their health and wellness, community behaviors, lifestyle, and appropriate food choices. It takes two years, prepares one for a nutrition-related position, and transfers into advanced degrees. The degree requirements differ from program to program; however, an associate degree in nutrition online requires an average of 60 credits and can be completed online, offline, and in hybrid learning modes. By completing this degree, one can earn more money than those with a high school diploma. They can continue their higher learning with an undergraduate degree in less duration and improve their job prospects. The coursework provides various opportunities, including dietary aid, food co-ops, nutrition product sales, wellness education, health food stores, nutrition support services, dietary management, and more.

Curriculum and

The nutrition programs’ curriculum generally helps achieve outcomes of nutrition education through comprehensive coursework and focusing on scientifically sound practices in the field. There are many general education courses like written communications, mathematics, behavioral science, and other topics.

The curriculum is a mixture of nutrition-related major courses, nutrition-related electives, other general education courses, etc. Some natural science subjects are mandatory as they help strengthen the basics, including anatomy and physiology, human biology, general chemistry, organic and biochemistry, and more. Coursework that one is expected to take in an associate’s program in nutrition or a related field, including

Introduction to Human Biology

This introductory course to human biology examines different aspects of human organisms like genetics, ecology, anatomy, physiology, anthropology, development, and nutrition, amongst others. It also helps one understand how humans function and their role in the natural world.

Nutrition Assessment

In this course, one understands the systematic process of interpreting and collecting information to make decisions about nature and different nutrition causes related to health issues affecting individuals. It also involves looking at other components of nutritional assessment like biochemical, dietary, clinical, and anthropometric types.

Foods Lab

The execution of this course may depend from school to school, depending on the art tools they have in their laboratory. One learns how to use these tools for sample preparation; physical, biological, and chemical analyses; and lead data management.

Community Nutrition

This course prepares one to understand and help solve nutritional problems in communities and families. It provides practical training in both public health nutrition and hospital dietetics. It involves learning about different methods of nutritional assessment of individuals and groups indirectly and directly.

Foodservice Purchasing and Production

This course involves learning about tools of management relating to food services. The topics under study include safety, master menu development, recipe standardization, facilities, design and equipment, and more. It includes using current nutrition informatics technology to develop and disseminate data and information.

Some of the other standard courses one can pursue are

  • Dietetic Practicum
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy
  • Eating Disorders and Weight Management
  • Medical terminology
  • Bio-organic chemistry
  • Intermediate algebra
  • Vegetarian Nutrition
  • Environmental Challenges and solutions
  • Introduction to psychology
  • Nutritional Counseling Skills
  • Computer fundamentals and applications
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Eating disorders and weight management

Many electives are offered in nutrition, including exercise physiology, sports nutrition, pregnancy nutrition, women’s unique health concerns, introduction to herbal science, current weight management theory, herbs and body systems, and more. Some associate programs in nutrition require students to complete a food or dietetic-supervised internship or practice. In this supervised work program, one will work under the direct supervision of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist or RDN. This can be completed in different settings like medical or healthcare facilities, community nutrition centers, schools, etc. To understand the requirements, refer to the guide to associate programs.

Learning Outcomes and
Skills Gained

Through the curriculum of an associate’s degree in nutrition, one understands different ways in which one can promote health and manage diseases. They also conduct and plan food service, nutritional campaigns, or programs that help people lead healthy and well-balanced lives. Through the skills gained in this program, one can work in government and nonprofit agencies, health maintenance organizations, public health clinics, etc.

On completing an associate’s degree in nutrition degree, a graduate of the problem will gain many skills, including the ability to

  • demonstrate critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills while solving the challenges of the clients;
  • apply mathematical formulas to calculate different nutritional components;
  • apply concepts and principles from behavioral, social science, and biological components into decision-making about food and nutritional
  • demonstrate and apply knowledge of clinical and general nutrition to diseases and health challenges;
  • promote practices of healthy nutrition for clients by educating them about nutrition;
  • create individualized nutritional programs that are based on the health needs of counsel clients and monitor their health through nutrition;
  • develop programs and curricula based on nutrition, health, and food topics.

Types of Degrees Nutrition
Students Can Obtain

Different types of associates in nutrition online programs are found in the United States. Generally, three degrees are popular at the associate level, including an online associate of science in nutrition, an online associate of applied science in nutrition, and an online associate of arts in nutrition. All of these programs will allow one to transfer to an online bachelor’s degree in the future.

Associate of Science or AS in Nutrition

The Associate of Science or AS in nutrition typically provides a traditional track to academics in nutrition. It prepares one for the more technical and scientific-oriented subjects. One can learn how to analyze nutrients, plan menus, create individualized diets, calculate nutritional supplements, and intake nutritional data.

Associate of Applied Science or AAS in Nutrition

This degree incorporates different topics of nutrition and provides a comprehensive curriculum. After completing this degree, one achieves thorough education in the scientific principles of nutrition and scientifically oriented alternate practices in the field.

Associate of Arts or AA in Nutrition

The Associate of Arts or AA in nutrition is useful for those who want to plan a career in nutrition as a registered dietician nutritionist and provides a gateway for students to pursue a dietician’s transfer plan. It helps them learn about foundational nutrition principles that can be applied to careers in healthcare, wellness and prevention, food and nutrition management, and more.

Areas of Specialization for
Nutrition Students

Concentrations include courses from a particular field of the subject that provide students with an understanding of working in that domain. By specializing in one area, they can choose a niche and develop expertise and strengths in those specialized courses, helping them start their careers in that direction. Generally, there are no specializations found in the nutrition associate’s degree. However, some of the domains available in the field of nutrition include

Area of Specialization Description Career Options
Clinician NutritionThis concentration deals with diagnosing, managing, and preventing nutritional and metabolic changes related to chronic and acute diseases and challenges caused by excess or lack of nutrients and energy. It gets students involved in clinical nutrition research as well. Various roles as a clinical nutritionist, management dietetics, nutrition research scientist, nutrition product manager, nutrition sales executive, and more.
DietitianIn this specialization, one learns how to identify and treat disease-related malnutrition and conduction of medical nutrition therapy. It also helps students understand what medical and nutritional interventions can provide for acute and chronic conditions.Various roles as clinical dietitians, community dietitians, food service dietitians, neonatal dietitians, gerontological dietitians, and more.
Nutrition and PolicyThis specialization understands the different interventions and public policies of nutrition that have affected populations globally. It evaluates the formulation and implementation of complex nutritional policies.Work in local, state, and federal agencies; health advocates and policymakers; community groups; schools and childcare facilities; etc.
Nutrition and ExerciseThis concentration emphasizes learning about the importance of exercise and the need to restore nutrients. It could include knowledge about calorie deficit, dietary modifications, reducing chronic diseases, improving mental health, and more.Various roles as sports nutritionists, fitness nutritionists, metabolic specialists, fitness trainers, etc.

Full-Time and Part-Time

The associate’s  degree in nutrition online prepares students to transfer into four-year programs successfully and, in most cases, share their credits. Obtaining an associate degree typically requires 60 semester or 90 quarter credit hours. Generally, it takes two years to complete an Associate program in nutrition when taken up full-time. Some colleges provide a short-term duration that takes 12 months or less or a long-term period that takes more than 12 months of program completion. A part-time option that takes more than two years to complete is available for those who want more time to finish their curriculum. Most institutions across the U.S. now provide an option of taking courses online, where one can complete the learning in asynchronous or synchronous learning formats.

Requirements for Getting into an Online
Associate Nutrition Program

The admission requirements for an online nutrition associate’s degree can differ from institution to institution. Generally, schools have criteria like official high school transcripts, placement test scores, admission essays, and much more. A student must review the admission guidelines and get documentation before applying for programs. However, some standard requirements for an online nutrition associate’s degree include the following:

  • Application form and fee
  • High school diploma and its equivalent
  • Official transcripts acquired from previous schools
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Standardized test scores may be required for admissions like the ACT and SAT
  • Admissions essay is required for students

How to Ensure an Online Associate Nutrition
Program Is Accredited

With a degree from an accredited institution, one has an assurance of receiving quality education and gaining recognition by other schools and employers for the degree received. Attending unaccredited degrees could mean that one might be unable to transfer credits, be eligible for federal financial aid, or obtain legitimate professional licensure in your study field.

The  Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics is the accrediting body for academic programs preparing graduates who are training to become nutrition and dietetics technicians or registered dietitian nutritionists [2].  To understand legitimate accrediting organizations, one can refer to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education [3] [4].

Some colleges in the United States are also getting accredited by the state recognized bodies, including

Those wanting to pursue an online associate’s degree in nutrition can also refer to the guide to college accreditation to get more details about the same.

Where to Find Free Online Courses for
Nutrition Associate Students

To understand more about nutrition, one can take free courses to gain additional knowledge. The regular curriculum provides essential insight into the field, but to keep up with the developments, one should take a course that adds to one’s basic nutrition knowledge. There are many free nutrition courses that one can take up, including

Course Description Provided by
Introduction to Food and HealthThis free course helps explore the global epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases. The curriculum also explores innovative strategies to promote healthy eating. Learners are given information and practical skills needed to optimize their way of eating.Coursera [5]
Nutrition and Health: Macronutrients and OvernutritionThis course explores topics about macronutrients and overnutrition and how it impacts humans as well. This self-paced course helps one address the relationship between human health and nutrition while focusing on health problems related to overnutrition.edx [6]
Starter Nutrition CourseThis course comprehensively covers many topics related to wellness, nutrition, and diet. It helps one complete exercises and reading materials, take quizzes, and listen to lectures. One also learns about different components of a balanced diet, superfoods, and much more.The Health Science Academy [7]

Ways to Pay for an Online Associate
Nutrition Degree

The cost of an associate’s program is considerably lower than the other degrees. However, one may still wonder how to pay for college. Many applicants fund their education through part-time or full-time jobs. However, other than jobs, various financial aid can ease the burden of your education. Some financial assistance means that those pursuing an associate degree in nutrition online should be aware of include.


This type of financial funding can be merit-based, need-based, or sometimes even a combination. Merit-based scholarship can be given to someone who has excelled in academics or athletics. In contrast, a need-based scholarship is given to those with a monetary need and whose families cannot fund their education. You can also understand more about how to find scholarships.


It is a kind of award tailored to specific needs, and one will not be required to pay it back. Most grants are based on need and consider the financial status and background of the student and their family. Some may also be merit-based. It can defray education expenses like housing, tuition, books, research materials, etc.

Private Student Loans

Besides the federal government’s funding, private institutions like credit unions, banks, and private lenders offer educational loans. One can borrow up to 100% of their attendance cost, including fees and living expenses. Repayment of loans can be taxing, and one can look up donors and grants; both options can help you repay the loans on time.


One can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA to understand your eligibility for various financial aid like grants, federal loans, work-study benefits, etc. This form can be filled out online on the student aid website with your details like academic information, family background, financial history, etc.

To understand more details, refer to the financial aid guide

Career Opportunities and Salaries
After Graduating

In nutrition, one is trained to help clients make healthy decisions and improve their overall well-being and health through eating and dietary habits. They can pursue careers like registered nutritionists or dietitians, but there are many options for nutrition majors outside the field of nutrition as well. One should keep in mind that an online associate’s degree in nutrition is an entry-level degree; therefore, one will get entry-level jobs in the field. However, some of the typical jobs in this profession can be

  • Nutritionist
  • Health Educator
  • Physical Therapist
  • Health and Wellness Product Sales Representative
  • Fitness Trainer
  • Registered dietitian

Some of the occupations have been explored below.

Occupation Job DescriptionSkills RequiredMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2031)
Dietitians and Nutritionists [8]In this job, one plan and conducts nutritional programs and food services that help people lead healthy lives. They also assess clients’ health and nutritional needs and counsel them on healthy eating habits.Analytical, listening, organizational, problem-solving, speaking, and compassion skills.$61,6507% (as fast as the average for the other occupations)
Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers[9]Health education specialists explain to people about thoughts and behaviors that promote wellness. They also develop strategies to improve the well-being of communities and specific individuals and educate clients about the availability of healthcare services. Analytical, communication, instructional, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills.$48,86012% (much faster than average for other occupations)
Social and Human Service Assistants [10]These professionals provide various client services, like supporting families, in different psychology, social work, and rehabilitation fields. They determine what aid the client needs and help them with daily activities like eating.Communication, interpersonal, organizational, problem-solving, and time-management skills.$37,61012% (much faster than average for other occupations)
Fitness Trainers and Instructors[11]These professionals instruct, lead and motivate individuals or groups to exercise, through cardiovascular workouts, stretching, and strength training. They demonstrate different routines and exercises to improve fitness and minimize injuries. Communication, customer service, listening, motivational, physical, and problem-solving skills.$40,70019% (much faster than average for other occupations)
Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides[12]Physical therapists or other advanced professionals supervise physical therapist assistants and aids to help them regain movement and manage pain after their illness and injuries. They often need to do tasks related to patient care, like moving patients, clerical duties, etc.Compassion, detail-oriented, dexterity, interpersonal skills, and physical stamina.$49,18024% (much faster than average for other occupations)

Certifications and Licensing for Online Associate
Students in Nutrition

In nutrition, one must take many steps to keep advancing with the updated information coming up in the domain. There are many professional certifications available that are provided by the national board. However, one must remember that such certificates do not qualify for licensing. Regardless, these certifications can help in boosting both personal and professional careers. Some of the certifications that graduates of an online nutrition associate degree can take up include

Most professional certifications in chemistry require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree or more. However, those with online chemistry associate degrees can keep the following certifications in mind for future use and knowledge:

Certified Nutritional Consultant [13]

The American Association of Nutritional Consultants offers this certification. It gives one entry-level credibility in the domain, even if they don’t have a state license. One can take an 11-part exam with a minimum score of 85 percent. One also needs to be a member of this certification and have a high school diploma or GED scores to qualify for this examination.

Certified Nutrition Coach Certification [14]

There are no prerequisites to achieve this certification, and it prepares one for a career in nutrition and familiarizes them with different topics in the field. They understand the scope of practice, learn to differentiate from other nutrition professions, and manage professional expectations.

American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA) Certifications[15]

This certification is very diverse and suits the interests of many professionals, whether one wants to work in nutrition coaching or managing weights.  It helps one learn how to teach healthy eating habits to others, set goals or conduct strategic counseling, dispel false beliefs about nutrition, and more.

Many states have different requirements to become licensed to practice. Even though the requirements differ, having an undergraduate degree is essential to obtaining licensure; therefore, generally, associate students are not applicable for licensure, and they can work in entry-level positions.

Additional Resources for Associate
Students in Nutrition Degree

Students pursuing an online associate’s degree in nutrition can access various resources across the internet to aid their personal and professional development. To get such legitimate resources, they can follow professional organizations, including: 


National Association of Nutrition Professionals[16]
This organization is one of the primary resources for providing information about holistic nutrition. It aims to support professionals who are practicing individually as well as in larger firms. They also offer their certification program, which maintains resources.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics[17]This organization provides many resources that are characterized by sex and age range and are essential to the maintenance of good wellness and nutrition. They aim to promote safe and healthy eating practices that apply to one’s everyday life.
American Nutrition Association[18]The American Nutrition Association conducts an annual personalized nutrition summit to demonstrate the recent scientific solutions from the world’s leading nutrition clinicians and researchers. They also train their practitioners in the science and practice of individualized nutrition.
American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition[19]ASPEN is an organization that focuses on good nutrition and is integral to patient care. They are a large funded organization and have high regard within the medical community. It offers elaborate resources on promoting a healthy lifestyle and patient health through good nutrition.
American Council on Science and Health[20]The American council on science and health is a research, pro-science, and educational organization that operates under internal revenue codes. It aims to focus on public support and use evidence-based scientific strategies to educate the public and debunk false information.

FAQs About Online Associate
Nutrition Programs

Why should you do an associate’s degree in nutrition online?

Online associate’s degree in nutrition has similar learning outcomes and professional opportunities post-completion of the program. Such programs are also cheaper, and more credits can be completed in one semester. The most important advantage of an online degree is that it can be done from any geographic location.

Is an online degree in an associate’s program in nutrition considered valid?

Are there accelerated online nutrition associate degrees?

What can you do with a nutrition associate degree?

Is being a nutritionist stressful?

Is an associate degree in nutrition worth it?

Author Bio:

Derick de Souza

Derick is a business and education consultant working on various projects and scopes. With about 25 years of experience in different settings, he loves to tell others about “how not to be a failure” rather than “how to be successful.” Derick writes and edits articles on online learning, business, employment, and skill development, among others. His hobbies include photography, web design and development, and traveling.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners.