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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Dietetics

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Dietetics

Value
North Dakota State University won our best value award of colleges that offer an online master’s degree program in dietetics. According to PayScale.com, North Dakota State University’s annual return on investment (ROI), or the amount students pay in tuition versus what they earn back in lifetime earnings, is 8.4%. If financial aid is considered, the annual ROI increases to 9.1%.

Flexibility
Arizona State University, which offers an online Bachelor’s in Nutrition, wins the award for best online degree in nutrition for its fully online program designed for busy individuals with full-time jobs. ASU’s online degree programs are effective, flexible and smart. Unlike a standard online lecture, ASU’s online courses are highly interactive, engaging each student and ensuring the subject matter is fully understood. This structure also facilitates interaction with the highly recognized faculty on campus and classmates to encourage learning through collaboration. It was specifically designed to provide access to the vast academic, research and career resources that ASU offers – to anyone, anywhere.

Career Support
The award for best online master’s degree in nutrition for career support goes to the Liberty University, which offers a Master of Science in Exercise & Nutrition completely online. Besides providing job search and resume writing support, Liberty’s Career Services department offers networking and graduate school support. In addition, students can participate in annual career fairs, connect with Liberty Career Services on career assessments, search for jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities using Liberty Network, an online job search service accessible only to Liberty students and alumni.

Financial Support
Benedictine University earned our award for financial support. The university believes a college degree will provide great long-term returns and the cost of tuition should not prevent an individual from obtaining a college degree. Benedictine University demonstrates this principle through its financial aid programs which helped 100% of beginning full-time undergraduate students receive some sort of financial aid in the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES).

Student Engagement
Colorado State University claimed our award for student engagement. College Prowler gave Colorado State a grade of “B” for academics which demonstrates that courses are engaging and professors communicate well with their students. The grade also shows that class sizes are favorable to students and that teachers are accessible, knowledgeable, and interested in how their students are performing in their classes.

Disability Support
Colorado State University won our award for disability support. The university’s Resources for Disabled Students service seeks to support the unique academic needs of students with temporary and permanent disabilities. Students may receive accommodation if they provide the proper documentation, including diagnosis of disability, duration and prognosis of the condition, a statement specifying functional limitations, and more. The school offers a variety of services for students with disabilities, including alternative testing, alternative text, note-taking support, and more.

Library/Research Support
Central Michigan University received our award for library and research support. The university’s off-campus library services offers research and citation guides, databases, e-journals, and the ability to search for books and articles. If a student needs assistance they can contact a librarian by phone, email, text message, and instant message during operational hours.

Learning Support
Central Michigan University also won our award for learning support. In addition to its off-campus library, the university offers online students tutorials for Blackboard, its course management system, registration instructions, academic advising, and access to the writing and math assistance center. Central Michigan University also offers its students career services which includes access to a jobs posting database, career advising, sample resumes and cover letters, job hunting tips, and a listing of career events.

Faculty Credentials
The University of Nebraska – Lincoln won our award for faculty credentials. U.S. News & World Report placed the University of Nebraska – Lincoln 101st in its 2012 Best Colleges ranking of national universities. The national universities ranking is based on a wide variety of factors, including student-to-faculty ratio, retention and graduation rates, faculty salary, and the percentage of professors with the highest degree in their fields.

Faculty Accessibility and Involvement
The University of North Carolina received our award for faculty accessibility and involvement. College Prowler gave the university a grade of “A-” for academics, which shows that the school’s professors are accessible, knowledgeable, and care about how their students are doing in class. Other factors, including class size, whether or not classes are engaging, and how well professors communicate with their students, were used to determine the grade.

Alumni Engagement
South Dakota State University claimed our award for best alumni engagement. Members of the South Dakota State University alumni association receive a wide range of benefits, including discounts on auto and home insurance and membership in alumni chapter organizations in their area. Graduates can also access the university’s career center, which has job postings on its website.

New Student Orientation
Colorado State University received our award for new student orientation. The university offers new learners an orientation course that teaches students how to use RamCT Blackboard, its online class management system. The course covers how to navigate through the system, create a profile, customize the dashboard, participate in class discussions, send emails and messages, submit assignments, complete tests, and access the grade center. Students can self-enroll in the course at any time throughout the semester.

Explore a Master’s Degree in Dietetics

Dietetics is the scientific practice of examining the diet and its effects on a person’s health. For example, a dietitian may plan a diet that can help treat their patient’s diabetes or they could work for a non-profit agency to educate the public on food, nutrition, and healthy eating habits. An online master’s degree program in dietetics presents practicing dietitians an opportunity to earn more credentials while completing their course work in their own time. Some master’s degree programs require the completion of at least 36 credit hours of course work, although the length of the program varies by institution.

Class Curriculum

A master’s degree program in dietetics provides instruction in how to design and implement food and nutrition programs. As such, they may enroll in courses such as nutrition assessment, macro and micronutrients, clinical nutrition, nutritional assessment, and research methods in nutrition. Read on for a closer look at three dietetics courses:

  • Nutrition Assessment. This course introduces the techniques of nutritional assessment used by professionals in the evaluation of individuals and groups. This includes evaluation of dietary intake, biochemical and clinical indices, anthropometry, and nutritional analysis software.
  • Clinical Nutrition. The clinical nutrition course covers the advanced concepts of dietary therapy and care in the prevention or treatment of disease. It may include the application of the principles of biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, psychology, anthropology, nutrition, and food science.
  • Macronutrients. A macronutrients course provides an advanced study of nutrition, including the function of proteins, carbohydrates and fats in relation to health and disease. This may include how these macronutrients affect metabolism, disease risk and recovery and how they undergo metabolism with the tissues of the human body.

Students of a master’s degree program in dietetics are typically required to complete a reading assignments from scientific textbooks, participate in class discussions that demonstrate an understanding of the course material, analyze case studies, and write research papers. They may be assessed by their performance on quizzes and exams, and on the quality and oral defense of their thesis.

Building a Career

Graduates of a master’s degree program in dietetics may be qualified for employment as a dietitian in a medical clinic, hospital, nursing care facility, or in their own practice. Dietitians explain nutrition issues, assess a patient’s health needs and diet, develop meal plans, change the plans as needed, and give talks to groups of people about nutrition, dieting, and good eating habits.

Dietitians earned a median annual salary of $53,250 in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment of dietitians is expected to increase 20%, or faster than average, from 2010 to 2020, the BLS reports. An increasing interest in health and wellness and the role of food in preventing and treating illnesses, especially in the healthcare field, will increase demand for dietitians, according to the BLS. However, these statistics are no guarantee of actual salary or employment opportunity, which are determined by the condition of the economy, your employer, and location.

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