Healthy eating and wellness go hand-in-hand. According to analysts from the International Food Information Council Foundation, one-third of U.S. residents follow specific nutrition plans with the intention of losing weight, increasing energy levels and preventing disease. Many also consult nutritionists when developing and managing their diets. In fact, approximately 70% of American adults attest to seeking insight from these health care specialists, according to the group.
The widespread embrace of health-conscious eating has catalyzed growth in the medical and nutritional science fields. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that these careers are on track to grow around 11% between 2020 and 2030, which is quicker than the average rate for all occupations, a graduate degree can separate you from those competing for the same roles.
MS in medical nutrition vs. MS in nutritional science: The similarities
Both an online Master of Science (MS) in medical nutrition and a MS in nutritional science cover similar topics, equipping you with skills needed to develop and implement preventative health care strategies centered on health-conscious eating. In the U.S., where diabetes and heart disease claim hundreds of thousands of lives per year, studying medical nutrition and disease is essential. Both degrees address actionable dietary strategies that can improve health outcomes and help students engage with data-backed research methodologies to apply in the real world.
What are the differences between medical nutrition and nutritional science degree programs?
Despite their similarities, MS in medical nutrition and MS in nutritional science programs have several key differences.
An online MS in medical nutrition degree is ideal for pre-professional students looking to gain further clinical knowledge, as well as students looking to attend medical school, physician assistant programs, dental school or physical therapy school. Medical nutrition students primarily focus on the link between medical nutrition and disease prevention and treatment, giving them the opportunity to gain experience that translates to the real world.
An online MS in nutritional science is ideal for students with a registered dietitian nutritionist credential or didactic program in dietetics verification statement. This degree focuses on the science at the nutrition field’s foundation, covering niche topics, such as pediatric nutrition and nutrigenomics, and providing registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) with insight into specific topics.
What types of medical nutrition jobs are there?
Both medical nutrition and nutritional science programs prepare students for a wide range of careers. For students with an online MS in medical nutrition degree and additional education and licensing, career opportunities can include:
- Physician assistant: A profession in high demand, this profession is expected to grow 31% between 2020 and 2030. Professionals in this role work with patients to implement treatment plans that include preventative health strategies and require nutritional expertise.
- Dentist: With dental health and nutrition directly relating to one another, nutritional awareness is an essential competency for health care professionals interested in pursuing dentistry.
- Osteopathic specialist: Osteopathic medicine emphasizes holistic health management through health promotion and disease prevention. Nutrition plays an important role in this expanding field, which analysts for the American Osteopathic Association say 25% of medical school graduates have embraced.
- Veterinarian: With core nutritional concepts applying to nearly all mammals, nutrition and dietary guidance plays a big role for professionals in this field. Veterinarians must develop nutritional strategies that create positive health outcomes for all animals.