Associate's Degree In Nutrition
Associate degree programs in nutrition cover basic concepts in dietetics and may help prepare students for entry-level careers in the field. They may also serve as a step along the path toward entering a bachelor's degree in nutrition. Earning a degree from a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics can also fulfill the educational qualifications for registered dietetic technicians.
Associate Degree Programs in Nutrition: Coursework
Students who pursue an associate degree in nutrition will become familiar with the fundamentals of nutrition science, and may take courses such as:
- Human Nutrition -- a look at the principles of human nutrition and the impact of food on overall human health. Topics within this course could include the role of food in disease and disease prevention, the basics of human metabolism and the function of different macro-nutrients (i.e., fat, carbohydrates, protein), healthy weight maintenance, dietary guidelines and recommendations, and the role of food in culture and society.
- Developmental Nutrition -- an exploration of the different nutritional needs of humans at various life stages, from infancy to childhood to adolescence to adulthood into old age.
- Nutrition, Food, and Culture -- an examination of the relationship between different cultures, the foods they eat, and their dietary habits. Topics might include how the typical Western diet differs from the diets of other cultures and regions.
- Nutrition and Weight Management -- understanding the importance of sound nutrition and calorie balance in successful weight management.
- Nutrition and Disease -- an analysis of the role of food in the promotion and prevention of various diseases and health conditions; for example, the role of saturated and trans fats in heart disease, the impact that pesticides may have on cancer risk, and the effect of antioxidants in certain foods on cancer and other conditions.
- Food Preparation, Sanitation and Safety -- building knowledge about the essential principles of food preparation and safety, including cooking methods, kitchen skills, and proper sanitation.
Careers with an Associate Degree in Nutrition
Earning an associate degree in nutrition through a program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) can fulfill one of the requirements for working and receiving licensure as a dietetic technician, registered (DTR).
Dietetic technicians support and are supervised by registered dietitians in various professional settings, such as hospitals, wellness centers, and private clinics. DTRs have responsibilities that may include but are not limited to planning menus for patients or clients, monitoring clients' meals and nutrient intake, or supervising the production and delivery of food to organizations. In 2013, dietetic technicians earned a mean annual wage of $28,580 in the U.S.
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Become an RD or DTR, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, http://www.eatright.org/BecomeanRDorDTR/content.aspx?id=8142
Dietitians and Nutritionists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm
Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR), Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, http://www.eatright.org/BecomeanRDorDTR/content.aspx?id=8144
Dietetic Technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292051.htm
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What is a Dietetic Technician, Registered?, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, http://www.eatright.org/HealthProfessionals/content.aspx?id=6861