Nutrition Courses Online & Certificate Programs 2022

Nutritionists help people lead healthier lives by providing expert advice on eating well and making positive lifestyle choices. Practitioners may find the field to be rewarding because they can make an impact on a client’s life.

But with an overwhelming number of schooling options, from graduate programs to online certificates and courses, it may be hard to choose a path into the field. In this guide, we share information about online nutrition courses and certificate programs, the pros and cons of both, and some general insights into the field so you can decide whether you’d like to pursue nutrition education.  

Online Nutrition Courses from Accredited Schools

If you’re considering a career in nutrition, completing a course or certificate may be one way to decide if it’s a good fit for you. A number of schools offer online nutrition certificate programs that may allow you to complete courses from home while also maintaining a full-time work schedule. If you’re only interested in taking a single course, there are options for this, as well. 

Check out this collection of some online programs and courses from accredited schools: 

Cornell University

Cornell Division of Nutritional Sciences

Nutrition and Healthy Living Certificate

Ithaca, New York

Name of Degree: Nutrition and Healthy Living Certificate

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 6 months

Credits: 6 courses

Concentrations: N/A

Colorado State University

Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Science

Fort Collins, Colorado

Name of Degree: Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Science

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: Less than 1 year

Credits: 9

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited school 
Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Science from Colorado State University

Harvard University

Harvard Medical School

Nutrition & Wellness Course

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Name of Degree: Nutrition & Wellness Course

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: Varies

Credits: N/A

Concentrations: N/A

Tufts University

Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Nutrition Science for Health Professionals

Boston, Massachusetts

Name of Degree: Nutrition Science for Health Professionals

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1+ years

Credits: 3 courses

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal statement
Learn more about the Nutrition Science for Health Professionals from Tufts University

University of Cincinnati

College of Allied Health Sciences

Human Nutrition: Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

Cincinnati, Ohio

Name of Degree: Human Nutrition: Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: 1 year

Credits: 12

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Prerequisites: One year of biochemistry, one year of anatomy and physiology, one year of chemistry, and one course on introductory nutrition
Learn more about the Human Nutrition: Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from University of Cincinnati

University of Kentucky

College of Medicine

Graduate Certificate in Applied Nutrition & Culinary Medicine

Lexington, Kentucky

Name of Degree: Graduate Certificate in Applied Nutrition & Culinary Medicine

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: 12

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Completion of at least two courses in basic nutrition, biochemistry, biology, or physiology
Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Applied Nutrition & Culinary Medicine from University of Kentucky

The University of Maine

UMaine Online

Graduate Certificate in Human Nutrition

Orono, Maine

Name of Degree: Graduate Certificate in Human Nutrition

Enrollment Type: Full-Time and Part-Time

Length of Program: N/A

Credits: 12

Concentrations: N/A

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Essay
  • Prerequisites: one year of chemistry, one semester of biology, one semester of anatomy and physiology, and one introductory nutrition course
Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Human Nutrition from The University of Maine

University of North Dakota

Fundamentals of Nutrition Course

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Name of Degree: Fundamentals of Nutrition Course

Enrollment Type: Self-paced

Length of Program: Less than 1 year

Credits: 3

Concentrations: N/A

What is a Nutrition Course?

Generally, a nutrition course is much shorter than a certificate or degree program in nutrition. They may last for a week or two, or as long as several months. There are health care certificate courses that are available to both the general public and working health care professionals like doctors, pharmacists, and nurses with nursing degrees who are trying to acquire more knowledge about nutrition to better help their patients or complete continuing education hours. 

In some cases, universities may offer certificates of completion for the nutrition course. This may be helpful for personal trainers, wellness coaches, or health care professionals hoping to differentiate themselves in a competitive industry and demonstrate their dedication to the field.  

What to Expect from a Nutrition Course?

No two courses are the same. Each school designs its nutrition course with a specific audience and specific learning outcomes in mind. Depending on the coursework, an online nutrition course may introduce you to the metabolic and chemical side of nutrition, or macro-level aspects like creating a diet plan and exercising. Some courses heavily involve the medical side of nutrition, while others focus more on theories that guide public health policy decisions in the field, preparing candidates to analyze nutrition-related research and claims

Every class is different, so be sure to read course descriptions to get a sense of what you can expect to learn. Regardless of the course you choose, after completing it, you should have a better understanding of the basic science behind nutrition.  

Should I Consider an Online Nutrition Course?

From personal gratification and goals to earning potential, there are several reasons why someone might enroll in an online nutrition course. Ultimately, only you can decide whether completing a nutrition course will benefit you.  

In order to practice, nutritionists and dietitians typically need a bachelor’s degree, supervised internship experience, and licensure. If you’re serious about following this career path, then completing a bachelor’s or graduate degree may allow you to kickstart a career in the field. 

You may choose to work in a hospital, where you’ll make nutritional plans for patients and advise them on eating plans. Or, you might prefer to work in a residential care facility, public health clinic, government agency, nonprofit, or school. In any one of these settings, you may end up working with patients to help them tackle digestive disorders or obesity and obesity-related conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

However, if you’re unsure whether you’d like to commit to a full degree program yet, an online course may give you a snapshot of the topics you would learn in a bachelor’s or graduate program. Alternatively, if you’re a professional who could benefit from acquiring more knowledge about nutrition—like a nurse or physician—an online course may help you make informed decisions and offer better guidance to your patients. 

Those interested in becoming a full-time nutritionist may be wondering about job outlook. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment of nutritionists and dietitians will grow by 11% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the national average. When it comes to pay, those figures vary by location, employer and work setting, among other factors. The BLS however found that nutritionists earned a median salary of $69,660 in 2020. The highest 10% earned more than $90,000.    

What Can You Do with a Nutrition Certificate?

Workplace settings for nutritionists are wide-ranging, with some professionals working for food or pharmaceutical companies. Others may even run a private practice. Online nutrition courses may be catered to professionals with a particular background. Whether you’re a health practitioner or a journalist who could benefit from an introduction to the field, you may find a course that fits your needs. 

Online nutrition certificates may also come in handy if you’re planning on launching a career as a personal trainer or fitness instructor. In this case, it may help to prepare you to offer credible advice to your clients when it comes to diets that optimize their athletic performance. Be sure to check professional requirements and standards in the field to determine the right level of education for your career.

Keep in mind that while certificates might be a positive addition to your resume, you still need a license to practice in many states. Licensure requirements vary by state, and so does scope of practice. Some nutritionists pursue the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credential, which involves obtaining a master’s or doctoral degree and 1,000 hours of supervised practice. Administered by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists, the CNS credential is accepted in a number of states for licensure purposes

Similarly, those entering the field may choose to earn the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential. According to the BLS, the RDN credential is not always required, but “the qualifications are often the same as those necessary for becoming a licensed dietitian in states that require a license,” and certain employers may look out for it. The Commission on Dietetic Registration administers this credential, which requires candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree.

From performing patient assessments and prescribing nutrition plans to overseeing procedures and outcomes, you may find that working as a licensed nutritionist may be a rewarding career for you. There are also alternative jobs, like corporate nutritional consultant and culinary specialist that may allow you to put the knowledge gained from your course or certificate program to use. 


Still wondering whether an online certificate or course in nutrition is right for you? We’ve answered a few common questions about the nutrition field to help you make an informed decision about this career path.                  

Is a certificate in nutrition worth it?

A nutrition certificate may be worthwhile if it’s issued from an accredited institution, which may help to ensure that employers and other universities or colleges will recognize the accomplishment. A certificate may help you develop a niche in nutrition within your current profession, whether it’s in or out of the health care sector. Depending on the program, it may also be possible to transfer the credits earned through the certificate toward a graduate program. At the end of the day, be sure to pick a certificate or course that aligns with your personal goals and needs.  

How do I become a certified holistic nutritionist?

Holistic nutritionists integrate the various aspects of health—including emotional health, diet, and physical health—into one practice. To become Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (BCHN), you will need to complete an approved program in holistic nutrition, finish 500 hours of professional experience in the field, and pass an exam administered by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP).  

What is the difference between a nutrition degree vs certificate?

Earning a nutrition degree may prepare you for a career as a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) or a Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN), provided you complete the required internship hours and pass the corresponding exams. On the other hand, some credentials can be obtained with just a high school diploma. In some states, you need a license and degree to practice as a nutritionist, so check with your state to determine the necessary education requirements. Also remember that full degree programs typically last longer than standalone courses or certificate programs. 

What is the difference between a nutritionist vs dietician?

Nutritionists and dieticians both study similar concepts—in particular, the ways nutrients impact our bodies—but the two professions are different. Registered dietitians typically pursue an intensive professional program in school that prepares them to become licensed. While dieticians have to complete an accredited dietician program and their practice is governed by the law, nutritionists’ training can vary widely, and only some nutritionists are registered. 

Information on this page was last retrieved in January 2022.