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2023 Most Affordable Online Nutrition Degrees

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 8/30/2023
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Nutritionists and dieticians who understand food and nutrients and their effects on the metabolism play a key role in helping us manage and prevent disease. An affordable online bachelor's degree in nutrition can provide cost-effective options so you can develop skills in helping others stay healthy. Some programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) as Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD), which is necessary for registered dietician (RD) or registered dietician nutritionist (RDN) certification. 

We've ranked our list by manually collected tuition to help you stay within your budget. If this isn't a priority, the best online bachelor's degrees in nutrition are also worth exploring. View our methodology for details about rankings or learn more about us

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Locations Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Weber State University Ogden (UT) $8,730
# 2 #2 Chadron State College Chadron (NE) $8,970
# 3 #3 American Public University System Charles Town (WV) $11,150
# 4 #4 University of Alabama Tuscaloosa (AL) $11,550
# 5 #5 Kansas State University Manhattan (KS) $13,500
# 6 #6 Purdue Global Indianapolis (IN) $16,695
# 7 #7 Cedar Crest College Allentown (PA) $18,750
# 8 #8 Arizona State University Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others) $19,830
Annual Tuition: $8,730
Annual Tuition: $8,730
Annual Tuition: $8,730

Weber State University (WSU) in Ogden, Utah, is a public institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Nutrition Education with concentrations in integrative or sports nutrition. This 120-credit program takes full-time students about four years to complete. Weber accepts all applicants and has a 42% graduation rate.

WSU uses the learning management system Canvas for its online program delivery. Depending on the concentration, online nutrition education courses may include Medicinal Plants - Chemistry and Use, Foundations in Diet Therapy, Structural Kinesiology, and Nutrition for Athletes. Courses help prepare students for graduate studies and employment in settings including health clubs, medical and wellness centers, and school systems.

Additionally, WSU offers an online Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies - Nutrition, with emphases in exercise science and nutrition, allowing students to earn bachelor's degrees in three academic areas.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 3,009
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 130
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: NWCCU

Chadron State College

Chadron (NE)
Annual Tuition: $8,970
Annual Tuition: $8,970
Annual Tuition: $8,970

Midwestern Chadron State College (CSC) in Nebraska is a public institution with an online Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics, which is an ACEND-accredited DPD. Graduating requires 130 credits and a 1,200-hour internship. A verification statement showing DPD program completion is conferred upon graduating. It takes students about four years to complete. CSC accepts all applicants and has a 45% graduation rate.

CSC distance learners use the Sakai learning management system to login to their classes remotely. Those enrolled in the online nutrition and dietetics bachelor's degree program take courses such as Nutrition and Metabolism, Global Food Systems, Lifecycle Nutrition, and Micronutrient Metabolism. This online DPD program helps students prepare to sit for the RDN and RD exams. However, starting in 2024, a master's degree is required to sit for the RD exam.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 601
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 466
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
Annual Tuition: $11,150
Annual Tuition: $11,150
Annual Tuition: $11,150

American Public University System (APUS) is a private, for-profit institution in West Virginia, offering an online Bachelor of Science in Public Health - Nutrition and Wellness, with concentrations in emergency and disaster management, general, nutrition and wellness, and public health informatics. This 120-credit program takes full-time students at least four years to complete. APUS has a 100% acceptance rate and an 18% graduation rate.

APUS delivers online courses via Brightspace. Online nutrition and wellness courses within the public health major include Special Operations in Emergency Medical Services, Current Issues and Trends in Fitness and Wellness, and Health Informatics Project and Enterprise Management. The coursework is designed to prepare students for community health, community education, health sciences, and occupational health and safety careers.

APUS also offers an online Bachelor of Science in Sports and Health Sciences - Nutrition for Health and Fitness for those who want to specialize in the sports field.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 37,335
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 7,914
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa (AL)
Annual Tuition: $11,550
Annual Tuition: $11,550
Annual Tuition: $11,550

The University of Alabama (UA) in Tuscaloosa is a public institution with an online Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition that helps prepare students to become RDs. This ACEND DPD program requires 120 credits. It generally takes full-time students at least four years to finish. However, the time will vary based on individual schedules and course availability. UA accepts 79% of applicants and has a 69% graduation rate.

Online food and nutrition students use the Blackboard software system to access courses virtually, including Community Nutrition, Nutrition Counseling, Quantity Food Production & Service, and Experimental and Functional Food Science. These online courses help prepare students for nutrition careers in various settings, such as small hospitals, public health departments, community agencies, and private consulting firms.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 79%
  • Average SATs: 1080 -1340
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,856
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,659
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

Kansas State University

Manhattan (KS)
Annual Tuition: $13,500
Annual Tuition: $13,500
Annual Tuition: $13,500

Kansas State University (KSU) in Manhattan, Kansas, is a public institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Dietetics. This ACEND-accredited DPD is designed to help prepare students to become RDs. It requires 120 credits and generally takes students 4.5 years to finish if they maintain a full-time schedule. KSU has a 96% acceptance rate and a 63% graduation rate.

KSU delivers its online coursework and instruction via Canvas. As part of the online dietetics degree, courses include Health Communication and Program Planning, Nutritional Assessment, Food Production Management, and Science of Food. Graduates often seek employment in hospitals and clinics, private practice and corporate wellness, and food and nutrition-related businesses.

KSU also offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Health for students interested in becoming nutritionists who work with special at-risk groups.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 88%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 961
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,425
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Purdue Global

Indianapolis (IN)
Annual Tuition: $16,695
Annual Tuition: $16,695
Annual Tuition: $16,695

Indiana's Purdue Global (PG) is a public institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Nutrition with a concentration in holistic nutrition approved through the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. Graduating requires 120 credits, which generally takes online students about four years. An accelerated bachelor's to master's program is also available for students interested in pursuing graduate degrees in nutrition. PG accepts all applicants who submit the required material, and it has a 27% graduation rate.

PG uses Brightspace to deliver its distance learning programming. Online nutrition bachelor's degree courses include Food Safety, Nutritional Counseling, Nutrition for Special Populations, Biochemistry, and Legal and Regulatory Environment in Food Production. The online coursework helps prepare students to become board-certified in holistic nutrition, Certified Clinical Nutritionists, and Certified Dietary Managers.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 76%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 28,447
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 9,331
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Cedar Crest College

Allentown (PA)
Annual Tuition: $18,750
Annual Tuition: $18,750
Annual Tuition: $18,750

Pennsylvania's Cedar Crest College (CCC) in Allentown is a private, nonprofit, women-only institution with an online Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, an ACEND-approved DPD. While most coursework is completed online, two on-campus residencies are required. A non-verification statement track for students not seeking certification and a verification statement track for students interested in becoming RDs are available. Students complete 120 credits, taking about four years if attending full-time. CCC accepts 69% of applicants and has a 55% graduation rate.

CCC delivers its online programming through Canvas. Online nutrition students enroll in courses such as Advanced Nutrition and Metabolism, Management in Dietetics, Medical Terminology for Nutrition, and Food and Culture. Graduates may enter the job market as entry-level dietitians once they earn their credentials. Others may enroll in master's degree nutrition programs for career advancement.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Average SATs: 963 -1180
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 76
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 112
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE

Arizona State University

Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others)
Annual Tuition: $19,830
Annual Tuition: $19,830
Annual Tuition: $19,830

Arizona State University (ASU) is a public institution offering an online Bachelor of Applied Science in Food and Nutrition Entrepreneurship that may appeal to culinary professionals who want to gain business skills to advance in the food and nutrition industry. Graduating requires 120 credits, taking about four years of full-time study. ASU accepts 70% of applicants, and 47% of students graduate with degrees.

ASU uses Canvas for online coursework and instruction delivery. Online food and nutrition entrepreneurship classes include Cultural Aspects of Food, Retail Food Service Operations, and Nutrition Management and Leadership. Alums may seek careers as private chefs, food service managers, sous chefs, and community health workers.

Alternatively, ASU offers an online Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition Entrepreneurship focusing more on theory for culinary industry entry.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Average SATs: 1091 -1301
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 33,410
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 10,843
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Overview of Online Nutrition Bachelor's Degrees

A bachelor's degree program in nutrition is designed to give you the knowledge and tools you need to help your future clients achieve optimum health. Through the courses on food science, physiology, health, and more, you'll learn how to evaluate clients' nutritional status, assess their food-related behaviors, and recommend appropriate changes.

An online nutrition degree typically requires the completion of 120 credit hours. Most full-time students earn their degree in four to five years, but part-time students may need five or six years. By the time you graduate, you'll have developed both technical skills, such as dietary analysis and nutrition planning, and soft skills like effective communication, instruction, research, and empathy. 

Throughout the program, you'll be given many assignments that provide real-world experience in a simulated environment. You can expect to engage in projects like meal planning for specific medical conditions and running community nutrition campaigns. The goal is to prepare you for a diverse range of opportunities in the field.

Common Courses

Nutrition bachelor's degree programs include a wide array of courses on the human body and nutrition. Some courses, such as food science or chemistry, may include hands-on lab work. Many programs include an internship or some type of work in the nutrition field, as well as a capstone project. 

Some of the courses likely to be included in an online nutrition program include:

Nutritional Science

Typically one of the earlier courses in a nutrition program, this class provides an understanding of the fundamental principles of nutrition, including the role of nutrients in the body. Students will learn about metabolism, digestion, and how different nutrients affect overall health.

Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition

Focusing on therapeutic diets, students in this course learn to create and manage diet plans for specific medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Community Nutrition

This course explores the role of nutrition in public health. Students will gain real-world experience in developing community-based interventions by designing nutritional programs that promote health within various populations.

Food Safety and Sanitation

Students will learn about foodborne illnesses and the importance of proper food handling, safety regulations, and sanitation practices within the food industry.

Behavioral Nutrition

By emphasizing the psychological aspects of eating, this course helps students understand how behavior influences nutritional choices and how to encourage healthy eating habits.

Sports Nutrition

This course covers the specific nutritional needs of athletes and those engaging in regular physical activity. Coursework may include developing individualized nutrition plans to optimize performance.

You'll gain additional information about the nutrition field by reading Is a Nutrition Degree Right for Me? and What Can You Do With a Nutrition Degree?

Funding an Online Nutrition Degree

Earning your bachelor's degree in nutrition is a significant investment that requires careful planning and smart decision-making. The following five suggestions may allow you to reduce the cost of your undergraduate education and save money while you're in college:

  1. One way to minimize costs is to opt for an online program like those on the list of the most affordable nutrition degrees above. Tuition is by far the most expensive part of going to college, but many schools charge lower tuition rates if you earn your degree completely online. Also, by studying remotely, you cut out other expenses like room and board and transportation to and from school. 
  2. When looking at program options, consider attending a public university. Current data published by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) show that the average tuition and fees for bachelor's degrees at public schools was about one-fourth of what private schools charge — $9,375 versus $32,825. Here again, a public school could help you realize a significant reduction in tuition fees.
  3. One of the biggest advantages of attending school online is that it lets you live anywhere you choose, including a state with a lower cost of living. Relocating to an affordable city or town could help you save on rent, food, and other living expenses. 
  4. Consider fulfilling your general education requirements at an affordable community college. In the first two years of a bachelor's program, you'll need to take about 20 basic courses in subjects like English, calculus, and data literacy. You could complete these courses online at any community college, and the NCES notes they average $3,501 a year in tuition and fees.
  5. A part-time or full-time job may allow you to earn extra income that you can put toward your degree. Working while you're in school has its benefits and drawbacks, but it may help you avoid or at least minimize student loan debt.

Financial Aid

For many students, financial aid is one of the primary sources for funding a degree. As long as you're enrolled in an accredited program, you can apply for financial assistance by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you qualify for aid, you'll receive a financial aid offer from your school. This letter will explain the types and amounts of aid you can receive.

Out of all the types of financial aid available, grants and scholarships from the government or your school are preferred because they don't have to be paid back. However, depending on your financial need, you may be offered a federal or private student loan. Keep in mind that loans have to be repaid with interest, so you may want to use a student loan repayment calculator to determine the total cost of the loan before accepting it. 

If you do some research, you may also discover that you're eligible for several privately funded scholarships. These can be awarded based on financial need, academic excellence, or family heritage. There may also be scholarships available for students majoring in nutrition or health.

What Can You Do With an Online Nutrition Degree?

After earning an online nutrition bachelor's degree, you may want to enter the workforce or continue to enhance your credentials through certification or graduate studies. 

One of the most common occupations that graduates with this degree pursue is a nutritionist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nutritionists typically find employment in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, large private practices, and nursing homes. They are responsible for assessing their clients'’ nutritional needs and providing counseling and education. The median annual wage for nutritionists is $61,650, and demand for professionals is expected to grow by 7% over the next decade.

The knowledge and skills you acquire while earning a bachelor's in nutrition qualify you for other jobs as well. For example, you might become a health education specialist or community health worker. In these roles, you'll work with entire communities of people, developing programs to help them improve their health through diet. The median annual wage for these professionals is $46,590, and 12% job growth is projected through 2031. You could also become a food scientist — earning a median annual salary of $74,160 — who helps develop food products.

Further Education, Certification, and Licensure

Depending on the state where you live, you may need additional education, certification, or a state-issued license to work as a nutritionist or dietitian. State requirements vary significantly, so be sure to check with your state's licensing board to determine whether a nutrition bachelor's degree is adequate or if a master's degree will be required. Although affordable online nutrition master's degree programs are available, it will still add a substantial amount to the cost of your education.

Some states require certification, but even if it's not required by your state, you may want to consider earning a professional credential since many employers prefer to hire job candidates who've obtained certification. Two of the most popular credentials are the Registered Dietitian (RD)/Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS). In 2024, you will need a master's degree to qualify for these certifications. 

Another benefit of earning a master's in nutrition is that you'll be able to choose an area of specialization as you study. You may decide to specialize in working with people suffering from specific diseases, including diabetes, digestive disorders, or cancer, or with particular groups of people, such as athletes.

If original research in the field of diet and nutrition is your passion, you may want to consider earning a doctorate in nutrition. This will enable you to work in research labs and universities.

Thinking about earning a graduate degree? Explore our lists of the best nutrition master's degrees and the most affordable nutrition master's degrees.

FAQs About Online Nutrition Degrees

How Do I Choose a Bachelor's in Nutrition?

You'll undoubtedly want to explore several key factors when you're evaluating your options for earning an online nutrition bachelor's degree. In addition to reviewing the curriculum to ensure it will help you meet your career goals, you'll want to look at tuition and other fees, availability of financial aid, online format, and support services offered by the school.

When it comes to nutrition degrees, accreditation is also extremely important. The school you select should have institutional accreditation, and the program should be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). You may need to hold a degree from an ACEND-accredited program to obtain certification or licensure.

What Are the Admission Requirements for Nutrition Degrees?

Admission requirements for online nutrition programs are fairly similar across schools. Some of the common requirements include a high school diploma or the equivalent, a high school GPA of at least 2.5, and high scores on standardized tests like the SAT or ACT. 

When submitting your online application, you may be asked to provide high school transcripts, a personal essay, a list of extracurricular activities and achievements, and one or more letters of recommendation.

You'll want to start applying to colleges about 6-12 months before you plan on enrolling. For most colleges on a regular admissions schedule, applications are due sometime in the fall or winter of the year before the program starts. However, if you're planning on attending an online-only school, they often accept applications all year and offer start dates scattered throughout the year.

Do You Need a Bachelor Degree for a Career as a Nutritionist?

The career requirements for becoming a nutritionist vary widely depending on the state where you live. However, many states do require a bachelor's degree in nutrition or something similar, and some require a master's.

Are Nutrition Degrees Worth It?

Many variables need to be considered when you're deciding if a nutrition degree will be worth it, most of which depend on your priorities and goals.

You can try to evaluate a bachelor's in terms of financial investment, but that can be challenging. In some states, you'll be able to find nutrition jobs that pay fairly well with just a bachelor's degree. In other states, you may need a master's degree. If that's the case, the combined cost of a bachelor's and master's may not give you the best return on your investment, given that the median annual salary for nutrition professionals is $61,650.

However, there's so much more to consider, like having a career that's interesting and challenging and experiencing the rewards of helping others. If you're sure this is the right major for you, look for ways to economize on college, including choosing one of the most affordable online nutrition programs.


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