Free Online Courses for Nutritionists and Dieticians

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics along with the Commission of Dietetic Registration had forecast way back in 2010 that Dieticians and Nutritionists will be very much in demand. Even though the workforce in these professions is not yet in critically short supply, the need is way above average compared to many professions and is to continue in the times to come. In this article, we talk about some of the important aspects of the profession and free online courses that help add to your qualifications and knowledge.

First of all, let’s have a look at the difference between Nutritionists and Dieticians. Most countries do not demand that a nutritionist be formally qualified with a university degree while a dietician must meet compulsory essentials including obtaining a bachelor’s degree and go through an internship program at a recognized facility which may be a hospital or an organization involved in foodservice.

Nutritionist weighing and measuring her client
Nutritionist weighing and measuring her client

On the other hand, a nutritionist can be self-taught and/or have undergone voluntary training in an organization involved in food which may be a restaurant, a hotel, or even a food service in a hospital or an airline.

Whether a dietician or a nutritionist, the main aspect of the job is to advise people what to eat for a healthy lifestyle. Another interesting and meaningful aspect of the job is that it’s relatively stress-free work compared to most professions nowadays.

Both dieticians and nutritionists work in several different environments. These can be hospitals, homes for seniors, cafeterias at schools, companies and factories. Some even go on to specialize and work with food and agri research companies, sports teams and individual sports players. The objective is to prevent and treat diseases, work out the healthiest possible diets based on the individuals or groups and even advise cancer patients.

Biobased nutrition advice is one of the more trendy areas nowadays. According to informed estimations from several different quarters the demand for nutritionists and dieticians, in the near and medium-term is expected to grow at least 8 percent, year on year. This is well above the average for many professions. The pay scales are not bad at all with a median salary in the U.S. at 70,000 $ and similar in most of the developed countries, adjusted, depending upon the GDP per capita of each nation.

The fortuitous ones who go on to work with sports teams and well-known sportspeople, without a doubt, earn much higher. Given this backdrop, let’s have a look at some of the more interesting courses on offer.


Nutrition, Exercise and Sports

Happy couple riding bicycles
Happy couple riding bicycles

This course is offered by​ Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands. To go off the​ point a little Wageningen is also known as the Food Valley and has food companies from most parts of the world, in addition to the university which is high up there in world rankings.

The course is particularly directed at sport and health coaches, dieticians, people working in the sports food industry as well as athletes and professional sporters.

This is an intermediate level course requiring an effort of 4 to 8 hours each week over 6 weeks.


Stanford Introduction to Food and Health

Fit young woman saying NO to unhealthy carbohydrates
Fit young woman saying NO to unhealthy carbohydrates

 Stanford University needs no introduction. This course​, even though an introduction to food and​ health should be of interest to many considering that it covers Health Informatics, Nutrition, Food Safety and Food Science. The course focuses more on practical discussions on food and the environment in which it is consumed.

The program takes about 7 hours to complete and you do it at your own pace. While the medium of teaching is English they have subtitles in Arabic, English, French, Ukrainian, Czech, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Russian, Spanish and Japanese.


Nutrition Communication for Health Professionals – Applying Skills

Dietician consultation a dietplan with her client
Dietician consultation a dietplan with her client

There are ways and ways to communicate. Some are born with the ability and others have to learn it. The five basic and essential skills that are absolutely necessary are effective listening, forthright talking, understanding of non-verbal communication, to be able to manage your own and the others’ stress while communicating and being able to manage your own emotions.

We need the right communication skills in all that we do include our profession where we need to adapt and modify. This course brought to you by the University of New Castle, Australia aids you​ to develop effective communication skills. The course is especially devised for helping prevent and manage type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Lasting three weeks you will be required to put in 2 to 3 hours per week.


CARE – Nutrition in Ageing

Woman shopping healthy food
Woman shopping healthy food

 According to the World Health Organization the global average life expectancy increased by 5.5 years between 2000 and 2016 which is the fastest increase since the 1960s. With the increased life expectancy and aging come a host of associated problems and while medical advances contribute, nutrition plays an all-important part in healthy aging.

Nutritional needs of older people are quite different and the right nutrition plays a decisive role in the prevention and management of disease and a more interesting lifestyle. The demand for dieticians and nutritionists in this area is only escalating.

This course comes from Imperial College​ London.​ Requiring 2 to 4 hours a week the length of the course is 4 weeks.


Feeding a Hungry Planet – Agriculture, Nutrition and Sustainability

Global hunger issue
Global hunger issue

 Just recently we were talking about the population of the world having crossed 7 billion. Today we are already looking at 7.8 billion and according to experts the population in 2100 will be 10.9 billion given the birth rate in the developing countries and the sharp decline in mortality the world over. Compare this with 1950 when the population of the world was just 2.5 billion.

This course which​ comes from SDG Academy and is supported by the faculties of​ several distinguished institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, Rothamsted Research, Tufts University, and Wageningen University and Research, examines how to create a healthy and sustainable diet for the world population that keeps growing.

This is a course lasting over 7 weeks and shall require an effort of 3 to 5 hours per week. The video transcripts are in English and Russian.

Photos: Shutterstock / Edited by: Martina Advaney

Check free online courses for nursing students and healthcare providers:

Free Online Courses for Nursing Students and Healthcare Providers

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