Expand your nutrition skill set in just one year.

American University's online Certificate in Nutrition Education can prepare you for continued success in the nutrition and public health fields. Designed for students with a bachelor's degree who want to earn a valuable credential fast, this program can be completed in one year.

As a student, you will learn from expert faculty as you study from anywhere in a flexible format designed for working adults. Develop your knowledge of nutrition education, programming, and policy and prepare to address food and nutrition-related issues in a wide range of roles.

Coursework Details

American's online Certificate in Nutrition Education consists of six courses delivered 100% online. Electives are built into the curriculum for a customizable learning experience.

This 18-credit program gives you the skills to translate research and theory into practice, providing a deep understanding of nutrition approaches and health recommendations throughout the lifecycle. Most students finish the program in 12 months.

If you decide to continue your education with a master's degree before you've completed 12 credits of certificate coursework, you can transfer all of your credits into American's online Master of Science in Nutrition Education program. Contact an admissions adviser for complete details.

Core courses (12 credits)

HLTH 610 Life Cycle Nutrition (3)
This course explores the role of nutrition through the entire life span. Beginning with conception, pregnancy, early childhood feeding, adolescence, adulthood, and the elderly, each lifecycle is discussed with an understanding of the physiological changes and their implications for nutritional factors. Special emphasis is placed on using this information in nutritional education programming.

HLTH 630 Nutrition Education Methods (3)
In this course, students explore the current status of nutrition and nutrition education in the United States and identify the factors that influence nutrition status. Students learn to perform a needs assessment and design and implement educational strategies.

HLTH 645 Nutrition for Health (3)
The role of nutrition in maintaining health and physical fitness is studied in relation to the responsibilities and opportunities of a nutrition educator. Current food myths, diets for those in athletic programs, and special needs of overweight and underweight clients are included.

HLTH 655 Vitamins and Minerals (3)
This course explores the role of vitamins and minerals in maintaining cellular health through biochemical and physiological mechanisms. Topics provide an in-depth view of specific vitamins and minerals as well as effective ways to translate this information toward efforts for the prevention of chronic disease.

Elective courses (6 credits):

Choose from:

HLTH 525 Health in the School Environment (3)
Examine the promotion of healthy behaviors and beliefs in the school setting from early childhood through higher education based on the Center for Disease Control's Division of Adolescent and School Health coordinated school health program model.

HLTH 530 Sports Nutrition (3)
This course allows students to translate theory into practice and to relate content to fitness and sports. Included are topics on weight and body composition, eating disorders, and guidelines through proper nutrition. The material covered gives students a comprehensive knowledge of nutrition for use in complementary fields focusing on sport and exercise.

HLTH 570 Strategies for Weight Control (3)
This course is designed to address the strategies used to assist in reversing the obesity epidemic. Students gain an understanding of the trends of obesity, risk factors associated with being overweight, and chronic disease patterns. Further, strategies of proper weight management are explored on an individual and societal level, looking at current diet trends and evaluating their health implications.

HLTH 625 Nutrition Epidemiology & Research Methods (3)
In this course, students learn how to design, implement, and analyze studies involving nutrition-disease associations. Research methods and challenges are assessed in relation to epidemiology, focusing specifically on food and nutrition.

HLTH 640 Nutrition Program Design (3)
Nutrition Program Design introduces students to advanced principles in program planning for nutrition education activities. Building on nutrition education methods, this course emphasizes the development, implementation, and evaluation of nutrition programs to effectively reduce the risk factors associated with chronic disease and improve health.

HLTH 641 Health Communication (3)
This course addresses distinct forms of delivering health promotion messages to consumers, professionals, and large groups through various communication methods and social marketing. The course is divided into three modules, covering health coaching, mass health communication, and consumer health writing, and public speaking. Students have the opportunity to coach individuals, advocate for a health issue, or give a presentation on a health-related topic.

HLTH 650 Behavior Change in Health Promotion (3)
This course provides students with an overview of the theory and application for assisting individuals and groups change lifestyle behaviors related to health promotion. Includes cognitive behavior techniques to change lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, obesity, stress, or diet for the reduction of chronic disease risk. Students deepen their understanding of select theories and practices necessary for effective health behavior change.

Program Outcomes and Career Opportunities

When you earn your graduate certificate in nutrition education from American, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate scientific knowledge in nutrition, consistent with health recommendations, throughout the lifecycle.
  • Translate nutrition research and theoretical nutrition concepts into practice.
  • Develop programming and intervention skills related to nutrition.

Graduates of this program are qualified for nutrition-based roles in government, community agencies, schools, nonprofits, businesses, and more. You might also work for departments of health, health clubs, or on a consulting basis. Nutrition education specialists earn an average of $51,193 per year.1

The online certificate in nutrition includes coursework that may be applied to the Certified Nutrition Specialist®™ credential. Additional CNS requirements include a master's or doctoral degree and coursework in biochemistry, anatomy/physiology, clinical/life sciences, and behavioral science, as well as supervised practice experience.


1 Payscale.com. Average Nutrition Education Specialist Salary. Retrieved from https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Nutrition_Education_Specialist/Salary.

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To learn more about American University’s online Graduate Certificate in Nutrition education program, call 855.725.7614 to speak with an admissions representative or request more information.