If you are a working nutritionist or dietician who wants to advance your career, an online master’s in nutrition is a great option. But do you want to go into debt for it? When you are looking for affordable nutrition master’s programs to reach your personal career goals, it is important to evaluate ways to save on the costs of your education. Small public colleges have a lower average cost when compared to larger universities or private schools. They may also offer online programs to help when you must balance a job and your education.
You can also look into options available from your employer. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement to help with the costs of your degree. Keep in mind that reimbursement from your employer may require you to work for the company for a few years; however, details about a program may vary based on the company. By clarifying the best ways to obtain a dietetics degree online without a high cost, it is possible to focus on your studies and ensure that you can afford the degree program.
Our Method: Ranking the Most Affordable Nutrition Master’s Programs
Working adults who are considering going back to school for a master’s degree have a lot of logistics to take into account, but when you’re paying your own way, cost is high on the list. That’s why Best Health Degrees has ranked the Most Affordable Nutrition Master’s Programs by one factor: tuition cost, according to IPEDS data. However, to qualify, programs must be accredited and recognized for quality – not just cheap.
1. East Carolina University
East Carolina University’s MS in Nutrition offers in-depth online training for students and Registered Dietitians alike, with thesis and non-thesis options. The program is designed to offer general knowledge while offering career advancement opportunities for Registered Dietitians. The Nutrition MS program is one of the most affordable nutrition masters programs, with a majority (59%) of undergraduate students receiving need-based financial aid. The average grant or scholarship is $7,907.
East Carolina University is tied for #228 in the list of “National Universities” and #109 for “Top Public Schools from US. News & World Report. The university is the fourth-largest university in North Carolina. It’s a public research university, known for work in areas of electronic fluency, PTSD, in vitro fertilization, etc. The school colors are purple-and-gold, with the nickname “Pirates.” The motto is “Servire,” translated “To Serve.”
Degree: MS in Nutrition
2. Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University’s MS in Nutrition and Dietetics is an economical and flexible opportunity for students and Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists to earn graduate credit in Nutrition. You can complete your Dietetic internships at the same time. The Nutrition MS is one of the best accredited and affordable online masters in nutrition. Some 49% of undergraduate students receive financial assistance based on need, with the average grant or scholarship at around $7,7995.
Texas Tech University is tied for #218 in the list of “National Universities” and tied for #105 as a “Top Public School” from US. News & World Report. The university is recognized as the largest research institute in Lubbock, Texas. The school motto is “From here, it’s possible.” The colors are red-and-black, and the nickname is “Red Raiders”.
Degree: MS in Nutrition and Dietetics
3. North Dakota State University
North Dakota State University’s Masters in Dietetics is an online training course offered in collaboration with Great Plains – Interactive Distance Education Alliance member universities. The Nutrition MS is one of the most affordable nutrition masters programs, with 50% of full-time undergraduates receiving financial aid based on need.
North Dakota State University is tied for #281 in the list of “National Universities” and #140 for “Top Public Schools from US. News & World Report. It’s a research university, focused on student learning and success. Their school colors are green-and-gold, with the nickname of “Bison” or “Thundering Herd”.
Degree: Masters in Dietetics
4. Utah State University
Utah State University’s Master of Dietetic Administration prepares registered dietitians for a career as an educated leader or manager at all levels of state and local government. The coursework prepares the candidate as an authority in dietetics, which can translate to the rollout of healthy initiatives as Nutrition Program Coordinator, Health Specialties Teacher, Fitness Coach, and Health Educator. The Nutrition MS is one of the best accredited and affordable online masters in nutrition, with 53% of the undergraduates in full-time status, who also received financial aid averaging $5,116.
Utah State University is tied for #254 in the list of “National Universities” and #123 for “Top Public Schools from US. News & World Report. The motto of the school is “Research, Service, Teaching.” With the school colors as Aggie blue-and-white, the nickname for the university is “Aggies.”
Degree: Master of Dietetic Administration
5. University of Utah
The University of Utah’s MS in Nutrition and Integrative Physiology builds upon a background in Health Sciences, Dietetics, or Nutrition, with a flexible online program that supports balanced, interactive learning and growth. The career outlook for graduating MS candidates is promising, with the average salary in the range of $57,590 for a Nutritionist or Dietitian in Utah. Management roles pull in $100,000 per year with just three years of experience. The Nutrition MS is one of the affordable nutrition masters programs, with 44% of students with a full-time undergraduate status receiving need-based grants and scholarships.
The University of Utah is tied for #104 in the list of “National Universities” and #44 for “Top Public Schools from US. News & World Report. The school colors are red-and-white, with the mascot being “Swoop.” The university has grown into a hub for the field of medicine and computer science. The university is also known for its green power usage, with a rank of #3 by the EPA. Approximately 31% of power consumption is drawn from solar and wind sources.
Degree: MS in Nutrition and Integrative Physiology
6. University of Central Missouri
The University of Central Missouri’s MS in Clinical Nutrition continues in the pursuit of excellence in higher education, with a comprehensive focus that’s designed for entry-level dietitians and nutritionists. The program is more important than ever before, with the projection that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics will make the MS degree a requirement for registered dietitians by 2024. The Nutrition MS is one of the best accredited and affordable online masters in nutrition, with 59% of students in undergraduate studies receiving financial aid based on need, with an average grant award of $4,374.
The University of Central Missouri is tied for #48 in the list of “Regional Universities Midwest” and #16 for “Top Public Schools” from U.S. News & World Report. The motto for the university is “Learning to a Greater Degree,” and the colors are cardinal red and black. The school’s nicknames are “Mules” and “Jennies.”
Degree: MS in Clinical Nutrition
7. University of Nebraska Lincoln
The University of Nebraska Lincoln’s MS in Dietetics is a distance/online program available to Registered Dietitians (RDs) or for those with a DPD verification statement. It can also be a possible course of study for a candidate who has all the qualifications and requirements from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, without the credential (for example he or she may not have taken the exam yet). The program is offered in collaboration with Great Plains – Interactive Distance Education Alliance member universities. The Nutrition MS is one of the affordable nutrition masters programs.
The University of Nebraska Lincoln is tied for #139 in the list of “National Universities” and #115 for “Best Value Schools” from U.S. News & World Report. The motto is: “Literis Dedicata et Omnibus Artibus,” translated “Dedicated to Letters and All the Arts.” The school colors are scarlet-red and cream, with the nickname: “Cornhuskers.” The University of Nebraska Lincoln is known for its research, which is groundbreaking in agricultural sciences. The campus features more than 100 buildings for research and classroom use. UNL is the oldest university in Nebraska, and it’s also a research institute.
Degree: MS in Dietetics
8. South Dakota State University
South Dakota State University’s MS in Dietetics is a flexible online program, designed to enhance your knowledge and enhance your career options. Credentialed, practicing dietitians and nutritionists can retool their career opportunities via this 36-credit-hour curriculum program. The program is offered in collaboration with Great Plains – Interactive Distance Education Alliance member universities. The Nutrition MS is one of the best accredited and affordable online masters in nutrition, with a majority (54%) of the full-time undergraduate students receiving financial aid based on need, with a scholarship or grant averaging $4,681.
The University of Nebraska Lincoln is tied for #272 in the list of “National Universities” and #135 for “Top Public Schools” from US. News & World Report. It’s a research university, known for its high level of research in areas of biological science, agricultural science, and engineering. The school’s colors are blue and yellow. The nickname is “Jackrabbits.”
Degree: MS in Dietetics
9. Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green State University’s Master of Food and Nutrition is designed for baccalaureate-degreed candidates in the fields of Nutrition, Food, or related fields. The goal of the degree is to offer advanced knowledge, resources, and study in Nutrition and Food. The online eCampus program can also be combined with a dietetic internship, with accreditation from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). The Nutrition MS is one of the affordable nutrition masters programs, 64% of the students in undergraduate study are eligible for financial aid assistance based on need, with a scholarship or grant averaging $7,598.
Bowling Green State University is tied for #246 in the list of “National Universities” and #119 for “Top Public Schools” from US. News & World Report. The nickname is “Falcons.” It’s a research university, focusing on areas of education, the arts, health and wellness, social sciences, business, applied technologies, and humanities. The school is known for its “high research activity,” but it’s also recognized as one of Ohio’s Centers for Excellence because of its advanced energy and renewable energy research.
Degree: Master of Food and Nutrition
10. University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi’s MS in Nutrition and Food Systems combines a flexible, fully online program with a dietetic internship to help students earn the degree in the fastest, most affordable way possible. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), with requirements for supervised practice as part of the internship. The Nutrition MS is one of the best accredited and affordable online masters in nutrition. Approximately 73% of the undergraduate students in full-time study are eligible for financial assistance based on need, with an average award or grant of $5,729.
The University of Southern Mississippi is listed as #293-#381 in “National Universities,” and tied for #165 in Top Performers on Social Mobility” from U.S. News & World Report. The school colors are black and gold, with the nickname: “Golden Eagles.” The university is known for its research, with annual funding in excess of $100 million every year. USM is ranked #98 out of 248 institutions, the highest ranking in Mississippi, by Washington Monthly. Their rank in comparison with national universities is #235 overall.
Degree: MS in Nutrition and Food Systems
What is the Difference Between a Certificate and a Certification in Nutrition?
With a certification in Nutrition, students learn about the relationship between health and their food. The certification demonstrates a level of knowledge and experience, with an assessment process that verifies an individual’s competency, knowledge, and skills based on the Nutrition-based standards. The certification in Nutrition is offered by a not-for-profit standards-based organization, resulting in a credential that can be listed after the person’s name. A certificate denotes an educational program, designed as an introduction to newbies as well as more experienced professionals. The certificate is offered by a for-profit educational institution or program.
The certificate and certification in Nutrition is become ever more important as studies and surveys indicate the overwhelming prevalence of obesity in America, with more than 93.3 million people being affected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nutrition is also important due to necessity to reverse those trends if there is any hope of avoiding preventable, premature death due to diabetes, cancer, and other diseases. With those troubling trends, the positive news is marked by the 15% growth in the job outlook for nutritionists and dietitians. This trend it all about prevention, encouraging health choices that really will help individuals lead a more active and nutritious lifestyle.
How to Get a Certification in Nutrition
For those who are wondering how to get a certificate in nutrition, the requirements are straightforward. A student can earn a nutrition certificate with a high school diploma or GED, and there are affordable online programs online.
Here are the best Certification programs in Nutrition:
- ACE (American Council on exercise) Fitness Nutrition Specialist
- AFPA Nutrition and Wellness Certification
- ISSA Nutrition Certification
- NASM CNC Certified Nutrition Coach
- NESTA (National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association) Fitness/Sports Nutrition Coach
- Precision Nutrition Certification
Certifications like these may be needed for individuals who are seeking entry into fields or careers related to training or coaching for fitness, exercise, or related fields. There are a range of specializations to consider in the area of Nutrition.
What Kinds of Nutrition Certifications are There?
The field of Nutrition encompasses a range of different specializations and certifications to best meet the needs of nutritionists, coaches, and trainers. The Certifications for nutrition include the following:
Certification in Holistic Nutrition
The certification in Holistic Nutrition program is offered by the Holistic Credentialing Board. Other requirements for certification include 500+ hours of experience in Holistic Nutrition and membership in the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP).
Certification in Plant-Based Nutrition
The certification in Plant-Based Nutrition is available from T. Colin Campbell, PhD, a well-known health expert, in collaboration with eCornell. The certification in Plant-Based Nutrition is designed for a range of career directions, including chefs or food managers, medical and health professionals, athletes, personal trainers, teachers, parents, and entrepreneurs.
Certification in Clinical Nutrition
The certification in Clinical Nutrition through the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB) requires at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college, with the completion of core nutrition and science coursework and a 900-hour internship. The candidate must also complete the Clinical Nutrition Program via the CNCB’s online Postgraduate Studies, and pass the certification exam. The certification requires 40 hours of Continuing Education every two years, with a passing score on the retake exam every five years.
Certification in Nutrition Counseling
The certification in Nutrition Counseling is available from eCornell, with Lecturer Beth McKinney. The course requires that the person already be a Diet Technician Registered (DTR or NDTR) or a Registered Dietitian (RD or RDN). Alternatively, the individual may have completed the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). Individuals who complete the program should have the skills, knowledge and practice to blend the science of Nutrition with the art of critical counseling.
Certification in Fitness and Nutrition
The certification in Fitness and Nutrition is designed to combine behavior modification with the essentials of health and wellness. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) offers a Fitness Nutrition Certification, which includes coursework modules and quizzes, designed for any interested individual. A current NCCA-accredited certification or accepted pre-requisite credential is required for full Specialist in Fitness Nutrition certification recognition. ACE offers a range of options for certification in Nutrition and Fitness.
Certification in Sports Nutrition
The certification in Sports Nutrition is available from ISSA, the leader in fitness education. The program includes up-to-date information via the online coursebook as well as an online exercise lab, a student forum, and quizzes to offer the best possible level of preparation for the certification exam. The program is designed for personal trainers, but each student should check state-based requirements and statutes for dispensing Nutrition information.
Certification is also available from the National Sports Performance Association (NSPA), with accompanying video lessons, handouts, audio interviews, and a manual culminating in the exam.
Certification in Nutrition Support
The certification in Nutrition Support is available from the National Board of Nutrition Support Certification (NBNSC) for the interdisciplinary providers: nurses, doctors, physicians’ assistants, dieticians, etc. The NBNSC offers a candidate handbook for study purposes, but the individual must meet the requirements for eligibility. Then, it’s just a matter of applying to take the exam, preparing, and taking the exam. For those who pass, the certification is valid for five years.
Certification in Nutrition and Wellness
Certification in Nutrition and Wellness is available from the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS). Their certificate is for educators in K-12, post-secondary, higher education, business, and industry, as well as community-based practitioners and professionals. The requirements include an official transcript, AAFCS membership, and a passing score on the competency exam.
Can I Get a Nutrition Certification Online?
There are a number of programs that allow students and professionals to achieve an online certification in nutrition. The online programs are designed to be flexible and accessible, which should support qualified individuals to identify and confirm their knowledge and credentials in specific areas of specialization and Nutrition focus. While each online certification programs in nutrition may offer different education and coursework requirements, the online certification in nutrition programs are designed to offer personal and professional enrichment, with options for career advancements. The online certification in nutrition programs allow individuals to not only learn and grown at their own pace from anywhere in the world, but it’s a real opportunity to connect with clients, engage with those strategies that will make a difference, and then enact change that may have wide-reaching positive effects.