Is a Degree in Nutrition Worth It: Salaries, Job Prospects, and Best Schools

Nutrition majors are experts in how nutrients in food impact human health.

Those who are working in related careers are usually a part of the health and wellness sector as well as private food businesses.

Majoring in nutrition in college is good for students who like to keep others stay well and healthy.

It’s recommended for those who are not only interested in the relationship of nutrition to health but also those who like basic or general biochemistry and microbiology. Individuals with a nutrition degree may enter the workforce or graduate or medical school.

Read on if you like to have a career that allows you to keep everyone in the pink of health — this article is all about the things you need to know about being a nutrition major.


Is a Nutrition Degree Right for You?

Degree-seeking students who would like to become nutritionists or professionals in the healthcare setting one day may consider majoring in nutrition.

It also provides pre-medical students with a strong foundation for their medical careers.

Good research, communication and problem-solving skills are must-haves for nutrition majors.

Especially if the goal is to have a job where you can make a positive impact on the lives of others by helping to improve their health and well-being, consider enrolling in a nutrition program.

Being a science, it can prove to be challenging to students who are not passionate and interested in nutrition.

Possessing certain traits and qualities can increase your chances of not only successfully earning a bachelor’s in nutrition but also having a fulfilling and rewarding career as a nutritionist or any other professional under the healthcare umbrella.

Some of the top skills students planning on majoring in nutrition must have are:

  • Analytical
  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal
  • Leadership
  • Motivational
  • Persuasive
  • Problem-solving
  • Research
  • Teamwork

It goes without saying that you should have a genuine interest in the scientific aspects of food and nutrition as well as working in a care-based setting after graduation.

Is Nutrition Hard in College?

Majoring in nutrition is not as hard as majoring in a STEM field.

However, before undergraduate students can take upper-division core courses necessary for them to earn a degree, they will have to take and pass a number of lower-division hard science courses.

They include chemistry, biology, and microbiology.

Core courses can vary from one nutritional program to the next or from one concentration to the other.

However, it’s not unlikely for most colleges and universities to require nutrition majors to take the following core courses:

Applied nutrition

The course is all about topics such as eating habits and exercise, which equips nutrition majors with the knowledge and skills vital for them to be able to use their degree to help others lead healthy lives and manage health issues.

Nutrition research

Simply put, the core course trains undergraduate nutrition students in academic research fundamentals, thereby allowing them to stay updated with the latest studies, developments and trends in nutrition.

Nutrition across the lifespan

Because nutritionists work with individuals of all ages, it’s a must for nutrition majors to be well-versed with the dietary needs of their clients throughout their lives, which enables them to come up with customized advice.

It was said earlier that hard science courses are some of the things that can make majoring in nutrition a challenge for some degree-seeking students. The following are some health and science courses they should expect to take:

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical nutrition
  • Community nutrition
  • Epidemiology
  • Food safety and sanitation
  • Food science
  • Human development
  • Macro and micro nutrients
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrigenomics
  • Nutrition and human metabolism
  • Organic chemistry
  • Physiology

Nutrition Degree Careers and Salaries

Besides a nutritionist, which pays $29.64 per hour, an undergraduate degree in nutrition opens many other job opportunities in the healthcare field, particularly those in the food and nutrition sphere.

Job openings for nutrition majors are projected to grow faster than average in the next 10 years.

The following are just some of the things that you can do with a bachelor’s in nutrition:


  • Median annual salary: $61,650
  • Job outlook in 10 years: 11%

Of course, nutrition majors can work as nutritionists, who are tasked with planning and administering nutritional programs for individuals or groups. In some states, nutritionists are required to have a certificate or license.

Food scientist

  • Median annual salary: $74,160
  • Job outlook in 10 years: 9%

What food scientists do is look for ways to improve not only the safety but also the effectiveness of various agricultural products and services. Most entry-level food scientist jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree.

High school health educator

  • Median annual salary: $61,820
  • Job outlook in 10 years: 8%

Nutrition majors have the knowledge base and skills to instruct high schoolers on nutrition and other related subjects. It’s likely for public high school health educators to be required to have a certificate or license issued by the state.


  • Median annual salary: $50,160
  • Job outlook in 10 years: 25%

While chefs are not required to have any degree, although a culinary arts or a related degree is a huge advantage, nutrition majors can take advantage of their bachelor’s for coming up with nutritious and healthy meals.

Sales representative

  • Median annual salary: $62,890
  • Job outlook in 10 years: 5%

Nutrition degree holders who have an interest in becoming sales representatives may consider selling health and wellness products offered by manufacturers or wholesalers to businesses, organizations, governmental agencies, etc.

Fitness trainer

  • Median annual salary: $40,700
  • Job outlook in 10 years: 39%

Besides instructing and motivating clients in exercise activities, fitness trainers also provide advice on nutrition and diet, which is why nutrition majors can make for some of the most qualified and versatile fitness trainers.

Community health worker

  • Median annual salary: $48,860
  • Job outlook in 10 years: 17%

Basically, community health workers serve as intermediaries between the communities they serve and the residents’ healthcare needs and services available to them. They also develop health and wellness-related programs.

nutrition degree

Best Schools for Nutrition Majors

Some of the best nutrition programs are available from colleges and universities highly ranked by US News and other reliable college ranking sites. Non-traditional students can also choose to major in nutrition by attending online schools, in particular those that are accredited by recognized accreditors.

According to US News, which is arguably one of the most popular college ranking sites, the following are some of the best colleges and universities in the country with some of the top nutrition programs:

New York University$56,500
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill$8,992 (in-state) and $36,776 (out-of-state)
University of California – Davis$14,654 (in-state) and $44,408 (out-of-state)
University of Texas at Austin$11,448 (in-state) and $40,032 (out-of-state)
Case Western Reserve University$54,020
University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign$16,866 (in-state) and $34,316 (out-of-state)
Ohio State University$11,936 (in-state) and $35,019 (out-of-state)
Syracuse University$57,591
Texas A&M University$13,178 (in-state) and $40,087 (out-of-state)
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities$15,253 (in-state) and $33,843 (out-of-state)
Baylor University$50,232
Virginia Tech$14,174 (in-state) and $33,253 (out-of-state)
Howard University$28,916
University of Delaware$15,020 (in-state) and $36,880 (out-of-state)
University of Arizona$12,384 (in-state) and $34,667 (out-of-state)
Best schools for Nutrition Major

Top 5 Online Schools for Nutrition Major

Besides going to a college or university just like everybody else, it’s also possible to earn a bachelor’s in nutrition via the internet — there are many fully-accredited online schools that give non-traditional students the opportunity to earn a nutrition degree that employers will honor and respect.

Here are some of the best of the bunch that you might want to consider:

Eastern Michigan University

  • Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan
  • Cost: $580.00 (in-state and out-of-state) per credit hour
  • Accreditor: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Acceptance rate: 75%
  • Graduation rate: 38%
  • Population: 16,294
  • Average starting salary: $33,700 per year
  • College ranking: #3 in Most Liberal Colleges in Michigan (Niche)

University of Northern Colorado

  • Location: Greeley, Colorado
  • Cost: $419.25 (in-state) and $847.00 (out-of-state) per credit hour
  • Accreditor: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Acceptance rate: 88%
  • Graduation rate: 47%
  • Population: 11,460
  • Average starting salary: $34,100 per year
  • College ranking: #6 in Lowest Out-of-State Tuition Colleges in Every State (Best Value Schools)

Purdue University Global

  • Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Cost: $280.00 per credit hour
  • Accreditor: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Acceptance rate: 100%
  • Graduation rate: 22%
  • Population: 43,927
  • Average starting salary: $28,900 per year
  • College ranking: #127 in Best Global Universities (US News)

Kansas State University

  • Location: Manhattan, Kansas
  • Cost: $375.00 (in-state and out-of-state) per credit hour
  • Accreditor: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Acceptance rate: 94%
  • Graduation rate: 60%
  • Population: 20,854
  • Average starting salary: $39,000 per year
  • College ranking: #3 in Popular Colleges With High Acceptance Rates (Niche)

University of Alabama

  • Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Cost: $385.00 (in-state and out-of-state) per credit hour
  • Accreditor: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Acceptance rate: 80%
  • Graduation rate: 66%
  • Population: 37,840
  • Average starting salary: $39,000 per year
  • College ranking: #1 in Best Value Colleges in Alabama (College Simply)

Just Before You Enroll in a Nutrition Program

Whether you would like to work as a nutritionist one day or any other professional in the healthcare field or associated with food and nutrition, feel free to consider nutrition as a major. It’s also a good option if you are about to enter college undecided or planning on attending graduate or medical school after earning a bachelor’s.

Related Questions

How long does it take to complete a bachelor’s in nutrition degree?

Generally speaking, nutrition majors can obtain their bachelor’s degrees in around four years. It can take longer for part-time undergraduate students, or shorter for students who enroll in accelerated nutritional programs or work quickly on a nutritional degree online.

Is an associate in nutrition a good degree?

An associate in nutrition is a degree that prepares its holders for an assortment of entry-level jobs. However, compared to nutrition majors with a bachelor’s, individuals with an associate’s in nutrition may earn $18,772 less per year. There may also be limited career opportunities available for them.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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