Dietitian and Nutritionists
Education and Training Required to be Dietitians and Nutritionists
A successful dietitian or nutritionist career starts with a bachelor's degree. Most dietitians and nutritionists earn a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, foods and nutrition, food service systems management, or a related area. Programs include courses in nutrition, physiology, chemistry, and biology.
Dietitians and nutritionists typically participate in several hundred hours of supervised training, usually in the form of an internship following graduation from college. However, some programs in dietetics include this training as part of the coursework.
Many dietitians and nutritionists have advanced degrees. Internships are typically full-time during the summer or (for some) part-time during the semester.
Licenses and Certification
Most states require licensure of dietitians and nutritionists. Other states require only state registration or certification, and a few have no state regulations. The minimum qualification is a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition or a related area, supervised practice, and passing an exam.
Most employers prefer Registered Dietitian (RD) which is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The RD requires dietitians to complete education and supervised practice programs. These programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). In order to maintain the RD credential, Registered Dietitians must complete continuing professional education courses.
Pay of Dietitian and NutritionistsAs reported by Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual wage of dietitians and nutritionists was $53,250 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,330, and the top 10 percent earned more than $75,480.
The salary level typically increases with additional experience and/or educational degrees. Furthermore, you may have the opportunity to mold an entry-level position into your dream job and subsequently increase your salary as you learn more, add responsibilities and gain experience.
Job Prospects of Dietitian and Nutritionists
Employment of dietitians and nutritionists is expected to increase 20 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than average for all occupations.(Source:BLS) With rising concern about health and wellness, and with obesity, diabetes and heart disease at epidemic proportions, the need for qualified nutritionists has never been greater particularly as a part of preventative healthcare in medical settings.
An aging population also will increase the need for dietitians and nutritionists in nursing homes.
Industrial Overview of Dietitian and NutritionistsAs per Dietitians and nutritionists held about 64,400 jobs in 2010.
As shown below, nearly one-third of dietitians and nutritionists worked in hospitals in 2010:
Hospitals; state, local, and private 32%
Nursing care facilities 8
Outpatient care centers 6
Offices of physicians 4
About 15 percent of dietitians and nutritionists were self-employed in 2010.
Job Titles of Dietitian and Nutritionists• Community nutritionist
• Home health care aid
• Product development
• Health care sales
• Sports nutritionist
• Private practice nutritionist
• Registered dietician
• Nutrition consultant
• Dietetic technician