There are multiple colleges and universities across the U.S. that offer nutrition programs and degrees. Regardless of whether you desire to become registered with the American Dietetic Association (ADA) it is wise to select a school that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE).
These schools provide the best nutrition programs and allow for flexibility should you later decide you do wish to seek status a registered dietitian.
Programs are evaluated by the CADE regularly to determine eligibility for accreditation. This means that it is possible to attend a school that is not currently accredited, but may seek and obtain accreditation by the time you graduate. Similarly it is a good idea to research the school and program you are considering as some schools are put on probation or have their accreditation withdrawn if they do not meet guidelines.
Some accredited schools across the U.S. include:
California State University, Los Angeles
Colorado State University
North Dakota State University
The John Hopkins University
University of Alabama
University of Kentucky
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Texas at Austin
Washington State University
To become a Dietetic Technician, Registered you must earn a two-year associate’s degree. The ADA recognizes 51 Dietetic Technician Programs throughout the U.S. which offer this degree.
To become a Registered Dietitian you must obtain a bachelor’s degree in dietetics or nutrition from an accredited school. There are two types of nutrition, or dietetic, programs offered by nutrition schools for those who aspire to become a Registered Dietitian. These are the Coordinated Program and the Didactic Program.
A Coordinated Program (CP) provides the coursework necessary to obtain a bachelor’s or graduate degree and the 900 hours of required internship work.
Upon completion of this type of program, you will be ready to sit for the national RD exam for registration. The ADA recognizes 51 Coordinated Programs in Dietetics at nutrition schools throughout the U.S.
The second type of dietetic program is the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). These programs provide the necessary coursework for a bachelor’s or graduate degree, but do not include a dietetic internship. Upon completion of the degree you must apply for an internship. This is a very competitive process, but once an internship is granted and completed students can then sit for the national RD exam. The ADA recognizes 224 of these programs at nutrition schools throughout the U.S.
Nutritionists obtain bachelors and graduate degrees from the same nutrition schools as those seeking to become a Registered Dietitian. For example, some may study nutritional sciences or earn nutrition and fitness degrees that don’t specifically fall into the program of dietetics, but include many of the same required courses.
In addition, some Nutritionists complete the DPD programs for a degree, but simply do not complete an internship or seek the Registered Dietitian title.
Some individuals who have not previously earned a degree in nutrition, or those that wish to further or specialize their nutrition education, may attend schools of integrative nutrition to earn certification. For example, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City, specializing in holistic nutrition education and health coaching, provides students with an Integrative Nutrition certificate, qualification to be national board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and the opportunity to earn continuing education credits from Purchase College of the State University of New York.