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Best Online Degrees in: Dietetics

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Dietetics

Value
Kansas State University‘s bachelor’s degree in dietetics wins the award for best value. It has a 7.4% return on investment — which increases to 8.3% with financial aid — for in-state students and a 6.0% return on investment for out-of-state students, according to PayScale.com. It is also ranked as No. 73 on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of the top public universities.

Flexibility
Kansas State earns the award for having the best online dietetics bachelor’s degree for flexibility. It was ranked by College Prowler as No. 23 on a list of the top most flexible curriculums, and also ranked No. 13 on College Prowler‘s list for most manageable workload. Kansas State understands that students have obligations outside of the classroom, and the school makes sure to employ flexible curricula so that students can attend to their jobs and families while pursuing their degrees.

Career Support
Kansas State University has a comprehensive career services website, which allows students to seek help with writing resumes, participating in interviews, and establishing employer connections. The website also gives students the opportunity to browse job and internship listings. By providing so many tools for career assistance, Kansas State University has earned the award for best online dietetics degree for career support.

Financial Support
Eastern Michigan University is the winner of the award for best financial support. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 93% of the school’s student body was awarded financial aid during the 2010-2011 school year. Students who need help paying for college will find that Eastern Michigan University provides them with a good opportunity for acquiring aid.

Technology Support
All schools must have some form of technology support for students that take their classes online. Eastern Michigan goes above and beyond merely providing online assistance, and therefore earns the award for best technology support. According to U.S. News & World Report, Eastern Michigan University has a smartphone app for students. It also has a help desk that is available every day, 24 hours a day, which is accessible via email and phone, the school’s website states.

Student Engagement
The University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey has a student-to-teacher ratio of 2-to-1, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Such a small ratio gives instructors the ability to focus on students’ individual learning experiences. The university also arranges for online students to participate in internships in their local area, which keeps them actively involved in learning and helps them apply what they’ve learned to real-life situations. The University of Medicine & Dentistry is therefore the winner of the best online dietetics degree for student engagement.

Disability Support
Most schools have disability policies, but some go above and beyond merely providing accommodations. Eastern Michigan University is the winner of our disability support award because it has an efficient website with information for students, faculty, and parents. The university works hard to foster an inclusive environment, and does so by offering accommodations, counseling, resources, and videos for any who may need them.

Library and Research Support
By providing research guides, library classes, and quick links to find books and references, Kansas State University wins the award for best online dietetics degree for library and research support. Its library website is equipped with multiple resources for students that need assistance with research projects. In addition, the librarians are very accessible, and students can choose to contact them through email, text, instant messenger, or phone.

Learning Support
Eastern Michigan University wins the award for best learning support, as it provides live tutoring for online students and also has a smartphone app for on-the-go access to student services, according to U.S. News & World Report. The university also has multiple support offices, as outlined on its website, including veteran services, a math laboratory, and a writing center.

Faculty Credentials
The University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey wins the award for best online dietetics degree for faculty credentials. The faculty list for the Bachelor of Science in Health Science degrees — under which dietetics is included — can be found by accessing the school website. Faculty members have at least a master’s degree, along with years of experience within their fields.

Faculty Accessibility
In addition to having a highly qualified faculty body, the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey also offers students easy access to their faculty members. By having a student-to-teacher ratio of 2-to-1, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, instructors are able to dedicate their time and energy to individual students, who can feel comfortable with contacting them as needed.

Alumni Engagement
Eastern Michigan University wins the award for best alumni engagement, for having services for students that go beyond graduation. The alumni career connection program gives former students access to job openings and career services, and also offers the opportunity for networking. Eastern Michigan University was also ranked No. 15 for strongest alumni engagement by College Prowler.

Prior Learning Options
Eastern Michigan University accepts multiple forms of prior learning and gives students the opportunity to earn credit from past life experience. In addition to accepting dual credit classes and credit from AP exams, the university accepts on-the-job training, seminars, and independent learning, all of which students can demonstrate through a portfolio, according to the school’s website. Due to providing excellent opportunities for college credit, Eastern Michigan University is the winner of the award for best online dietetics bachelor’s degree for prior learning options.

New Online Student Orientation
The University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey wins the award for best new online student orientation. The school’s website provides students with access to orientation materials at all times. These include program-specific information, step-by-step instructions for utilizing the website to access Web courses, and a suggestion box for improvements.

Explore a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics

Dietetics majors study human nutrition and other sciences to enable others to make informed decisions about food, including diet design and food preparation. Students also learn about attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors toward food and eating habits. Upon graduation, they combine their research and practical skills to become dietitians and nutritionists who design and manage nutrition programs at hospitals, nursing homes, or schools. Dietitians survey nutritional needs, address dietary problems, and help prevent diseases by counseling clients on smart dietary practices. The standard dietetics program requires students to complete 150-180 credit hours, but these stipulations vary by program.

Class Curriculum

Dietetics students will take courses in the sciences, such as biology, microbiology, chemistry, and organic chemistry. Students will also study statistics, human anatomy, human physiology, and the social sciences, such as psychology and sociology. Other classes may include:

  • Food Production Management. Students will learn about the principles of food production, including food service systems, quality food, and the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system. They will also learn about the basic principles and theories of food service systems, such as menu planning and standardization.
  • Human Nutrition. Students will learn about nutrients, including their function and their relationship with health and disease. They will study the concepts of human nutrition and apply these to personal food choices and overall health.
  • Environmental Issues in Hospitality. This course provides an overview of environmental issues that impact the hospitality industry. Students will study the principles of foodborne disease, bloodborne pathogens, solid waste management, and governmental regulations in the hospitality industry.

Some programs require students to complete internships, even if they complete the dietetics program in an online setting. During these internships, they may work at a large foodservice operation or shadow a dietitian at a clinical practice. Students may also be required to complete lab work and participate in case studies and projects.

Building a Career

Upon completion of an undergraduate program in dietetics, students must pass the National Registered and Dietitian Exam to become registered dietitians. In the field, their work will involve the prevention and treatment of illnesses through proper dietary care. Some may work as nutritionists who evaluate the diets of patients and clients. Many dietitians work in health care facilities, such as hospitals and in public health settings. Dietitians may also work in the fields of sports nutrition, education, research, and foodservice management.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage of dietitians and nutritionists was $53,250 in May 2010. Employment outlook for individuals in these fields is positive, as rates are expected to increase 20% from 2010 to 2020. However, individuals should note that these figures are subject to variation, and that actual salaries will reflect the individual’s level of education and experience, among other factors.

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