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Online Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education

Program Length: 12 Months
Credit Hours: 18
Total Classes: 6
Cost per Credit: $1,485
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What are the program start dates?

Spring 2024

Summer 2024
May 6

Fall 2024
Late August

At a Glance

Better the Lives of Others Through Nutrition

The online Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education from American University gives you the knowledge and skills you need to help others improve their health and well-being through more informed nutritional choices and a greater understanding of the connection between diet and disease.

This powerful program is unique in its dual focus.

  • Dive deep into the science of nutrition – macronutrients, vitamins & minerals, lifecycle nutrition, and more.
  • Use behavior change strategies and program design to support individuals and communities in making improved nutrition choices.

Our students are passionate about nutrition and helping individuals, communities, and entire populations improve their lives using nutritional education. They come from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds and are at various stages in their career. Few come in with a background in nutrition, and many are interested in switching careers altogether. What they share is a desire to understand the science of nutrition and develop the skills they need to positively impact those around them.

Earn the certificate to be a trusted source of nutritional information who can impact health for generations.

Note: Effective January 1, 2024 the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics will require all registered dietitian candidates to have a master’s degree. Fulfill this requirement now with American University’s MS in Nutrition Education degree and learn how you can help your clients make the lasting changes you know they need.

Program Objectives

Support Continued Nutritional Health

Throughout the Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education, you’ll learn how to translate research into practice, develop effective nutrition education programs, and understand how to remove barriers to implement lasting change. By graduation you will be able to:

  1. Apply Nutrition Knowledge

    Understand how nutritional health intersects with other aspects of health such as physical activity, child development, aging, quality of life, and disease prevention, in order to analyze and demonstrate scientific knowledge in nutrition consistent with health recommendations for the human lifecycle.

  2. Create Nutrition Programs

    Design nutrition education programs and advance nutrition knowledge for diverse audiences in various settings, including schools, communities, public health departments, government organizations, and corporations, using select models and theories.

  3. Interpret Nutrition Research

    Understand where and how to find and interpret accurate, reliable, and evidence-based nutrition information and disease studies to integrate evidence-based findings with existing knowledge to achieve sound nutrition practices and improved health.

Program Rankings

See How We Set the Standard


  1. Become a CNS®

    Many courses in the certificate program can be counted toward the requirements necessary to become a Certified Nutritionist Specialist®, a formal recognition for nutrition professionals who have met rigorous and demanding eligibility requirements.

  2. Use Dedicated Services

    Faculty, students, and alumni help you reach your career goals through the Faculty Mentorship Program, nutrition-specific webinars, networking events, and social media groups.

  3. Study Career-Based Topics

    Choose electives that serve your specific career goals so you can work on the projects and assignments that build real-world experience in your area.

A Top-Ranked Online MS


Ranked number 15

Best Online Masters in Nutrition -, 2020

Admission Requirement
Curriculum Description
Careers and Outcomes
Student Experience

Admission to American University’s online Master of Science in Nutrition Education program requires an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university.

Applicants will need to submit the following:

*The application fee is typically waived if the application file is complete within a three-week period.

When you complete the online Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education from AU, you’ll have the ability to develop and implement nutrition education programs in a variety of industries, interpret nutrition research to understand the connection between diet and health, and communicate information regarding nutritional health to the general public. In short, you’ll be ready to share nutrition information in a helpful way that promotes lasting change.

Details can be found on our Program Curriculum page.

The Critical Need for Nutrition Educators

Explore Careers in Nutrition

In America, where 6 in 10 adults live with one or more diet-related chronic diseases and 74% of adults are obese,1 nutrition is a critical focus at government and private levels.

The USDA reports¹ that eating a more nutritious diet lowers the risk and occurrence of:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Obesity

Your ability to understand nutrition information and share it in a way that has a lasting impact can have a profound effect on almost every aspect of a person’s life.

Snapshot of Careers in Nutrition

Employee Health and Wellness Manager $99,300

Nutrition Educator $60,600

Explore Avenues for Careers in Nutrition

Nutrition educators are needed across all sectors – government, nonprofit and corporate – and in areas such as:

  • Advocacy and Policy
  • Food Banks
  • Gardening Organizations
  • Government Organizations
  • Health Education Agencies
  • Public Health Departments
  • Private Corporations
  • Research and Promotion
  • School Systems

To learn more about the roles and organizations for each of these, visit the career section of the MS in Nutrition Education page.

Career Services

American University’s Career Center offers its services to online and on-campus students as well as to all alumni, so you’ll continue to receive support for as long as you need it.

This means you’ll have access to resources for your job search, career advising, internships, and scholarships. You can also network, look for jobs, and apply for positions by making an account at AU Career Web, our online career search tool.

The Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education Program Also Provides:

Networking Events

Both virtual and in-person networking events are offered each semester. Alumni panels offer an opportunity to connect with peers, faculty, and industry experts.

Social Media

Students, alumni, and faculty share open dialogue about the program as well as provide information about jobs and industry trends on dedicated Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

Student Webinars

Webinars are hosted every semester on popular topics and trends such as White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, Food Addiction, Nutrition Policy, Entrepreneurship, and Nutrition Equity and Food Access. Webinars are free to students, and we encourage you to participate in as many as possible to expand your learning and build your professional network.

Alumni Employers

As passionate change-makers, our alumni are employed in various settings all over the country. You can find some of them working at these outstanding organizations:

  • Alliance for a Healthier Generation
  • American Liver Foundation
  • Beyond Hunger
  • Beyond Type I
  • Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
  • Compassion in World Farming
  • Fairfax County Public Schools – Florida Department of
  • Health
  • Hinge Health
  • Kaiser Permanente 
  • Kinship Milk Tea
  • Levi Strauss & Col
  • Leah’s Pantry
  • McLean Dermatology and Skincare CenterMedStar Health
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Montgomery County Food Council
  • Noom, Inc.
  • NOVA Physician Wellness Center
  • NY State Education Department
  • Share Our Strength
  • Texas A&M AgriLife
  • The Food Group Minnesota
  • The Wellness Center at Ballard Health
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Trident
  • TriHealth
  • USDA
  • Wellness Workdays

We’re especially proud of our faculty—prominent scholars and real-world professionals at the top of their fields who value mentoring students as much as they value excellence in the classroom. Through their teaching, scholarly achievements and first-hand experience, you’ll gain a special entry point to nutrition education.

Visit our Program Faculty page to learn more about our faculty.

Learning Online

American University welcomes its online students as a part of its community. As an online student, you’ll learn from the same outstanding faculty and be held to the same learning standards as students who attend courses on campus. On-campus and online programs deliver the same outcomes, and important support systems, like career resources, are set up for online learners as well. The only difference is you’re allowed to learn when and where it’s best for you so you can earn your degree and advance your career without putting the rest of your career and life on hold.

We Bring AU to You

Our digital campus was intentionally designed based on extensive research behind what makes online learning successful. We combine advanced technology, hands-on experiences, and full access to the American University community. Here, you’re not an online student, you’re an AU student.

Rigorous Courses

Online courses are as challenging as their on-campus counterparts and taught by the same connected faculty members and prominent lecturers.

100% Support

New-student orientation, 24/7 help desk for technical issues, a student services coordinator, financial aid advisers, and more are all available to ensure your success.

Expert Faculty

Home to some of the most acclaimed scholars and thought leaders in the world, you’ll learn from award-winning scholars and policymakers, diplomats, authors, artists, attorneys, scientists, journalists, and more.

Collaborative Learning

Use virtual tools to talk about your coursework, work in teams with classmates, build strong connections, network with others and ask your professor questions and turn in assignments.


The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Military Education Benefits

American University is dedicated to supporting military service members, veterans, and their families.

As an online student of the  Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education program, you can transform your military experience and leadership skills into new career possibilities as you earn your degree, regardless of where you live or are stationed.

We support a full range of military education benefits such as:

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB)
  • Tuition Assistance (TA)
  • Yellow Ribbon Program

Additionally, if you’ve served in any branch of the U.S. military on active duty within the past three years, you’re eligible for an application fee waiver. We accept transfer credits from military coursework, have a dedicated Office of Veterans Services to help connect you to benefits, and maintain an active Veterans Services Support Network.

We welcome you to learn more about our military benefits and how to apply for them.

Take Your First Step Today

Become an American University student. A passion for public service, an emphasis on active leadership, and a global outlook are the hallmarks of the American University learning experience. We create graduates who stand out from their peers as active, socially aware, and compassionate leaders who work toward creating meaningful change in our world.

Join Us.

To learn more about American University’s online Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education program, request more information, request an appointment, or call us toll-free at 855-725-7614.

Program FAQs

The American University Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education program is unique in ensuring that its graduates have nutrition science coupled with behavior change theories. This approach is necessary for the implementation of innovative healthy eating campaigns and programs in the community that lead to healthy consumers. Ultimately, graduates will have sound nutrition knowledge and will be successful educators at the individual, organizational, and societal levels.

Admission requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

Applicants will need to submit the following:

International students must also submit a TOEFL score of 600 (or 100 on the Internet-based test), a minimum score of 68 on the Pearson Test of English, or a minimum IELTS score of seven (7) is required. Additionally, applicants with international transcripts must have them evaluated course-by-course. For a list of acceptable evaluators, go to

Students with a weak academic background may be admitted with provisional status. Students who are admitted provisionally must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 after the completion of the first nine credit hours of graduate study at American University or they will be academically dismissed.

No, certificate programs are not eligible for scholarships. However, if you transfer into the MS program, your grades may qualify you to receive one.

The Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education program can be completed in as little as 18 months.

No, a GRE test is not required.

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 detail

Our application deadline will change depending on which semester you are applying for. Please contact our online admissions staff for a specific timeline your application file needs to be fully submitted. Application decisions are given about two weeks following submission.

Our fall semester starts in August. Spring semester begins in January. Summer session begins in May.

No, financial aid is not available for certificate programs.

Once you earn your Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education, you’ll have the credentials needed to work in a variety of fields including public health, nonprofits, schools, government, health clubs, and food companies. Learn more about our graduates’ success and their testimonials about the nutrition education program.

Faculty, students and alumni in the online Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education are dedicated to helping you reach your career goals. Resources available to you include a dedicated faculty mentor to provide career assistance, networking events, industry webinars, social media groups and access to American University’s career center.

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.

No, this does not prepare you to be a registered dietitian. However, there are currently registered dietitians in this program for professional development and career advancement.

Effective January 1, 2024 the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics will require all registered dietitian candidates to have a Master’s degree.

Yes. Complete your MS in Nutrition Education online in just 12 months at American University. In this 30-credit program, you’ll complete 10 relevant courses (just four more than the graduate certificate!) for the next step in your career as a nutrition or public health professional.

Students who decide to pursue the master’s program before they’ve completed 12 credits of certificate coursework can transfer all certificate credits toward their MS degree. Those who decide to pursue the MSNE after completing 12 credits or more of certificate coursework can transfer six credits. Contact an admissions adviser for complete details.

Yes, online students can easily request a Student ID online to take advantage of all the same resources as our on-campus students.