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Nutritionist and Dietitian Careers


Areas Of Practice

Nutritionists are found in areas of health and wellness organizations throughout the US and the world. Most common among them, yet not limited to, would be:

  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Community clinics
  • Long and short-term care facilities
  • Community support agencies
  • Research institutes
  • Retail nutrition and wellness centers
  • Private communities
  • Educational institutions
  • Hospitality including hotels and resorts
  • Consulting companies and agencies
  • Government agencies

What are the daily tasks for various Nutritionists and Dietitians?

The day-to-day activities in the nutritional field vary wildly depending on the area of expertise and specific location of practice. In general, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nutritionists and Registered Dietitians “plan food and nutrition programs, supervise meal preparation, and oversee the serving of meals. They prevent and treat illnesses by promoting healthy eating habits and recommending dietary modifications.”

Clinical Nutritionists and Dietitians, those working in hospitals, clinics and long and short term care facilities, focus on patients who’s primary illnesses can range from diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, or obesity to routine operations and hospital stays due to illness or injury. This environment means working closely with physicians, nurses and other medical specialists as a team to treat patients. Those interested in a hospital or care facility environments would be urged to learn more about the facilities in their area.

Community Nutritionists and Dietitians work primarily in public health clinics, health and human services agencies, and private community clinics counseling individuals and groups on nutritional practices designed to prevent disease and promote health. Working in places such as public health clinics, home health agencies and health maintenance organizations, community Nutritionists and Dietitians review their patients needs and prepare nutritional recommendations to fit their specific needs and lifestyles.

Additionally, nutrition professionals can consult on regular daily activities such as food shopping and preparation to the elderly, children, and patients or clients with special needs. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “increased public interest in nutrition has led to job opportunities in food manufacturing, advertising, and marketing. In these areas, dietitians analyze foods, prepare literature for distribution, or report on issues such as dietary fiber, vitamin supplements, or the nutritional content of recipes.”

Management Nutritionists and Dietitians spend their days primarily in health care facilities, cafeterias, prisons, and schools. A position as a Management Nutritionist or Dietitian can be very rewarding, as the job specifications entail managing large groups of food service professionals in a fast-past, demanding environment. Preparing meals for large groups of people on a daily basis can involve not only food preparation but the coordination of a staff of workers, supply orders and accounting.

Consultant Nutritionists and Dietitians, on the other hand, work primarily with health care facilities or for a private practice. These professionals perform client nutritional screenings and prescribe diet-related advice for the deviation of ailments such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

What are the character traits of a good Nutritionist or Dietitian?

Enjoying the work you do can certainly help you to become good at it. Those who feel personally rewarded by helping others may find a career in nutrition appealing. A confident and reassuring demeanor can be very helpful when working with a reluctant patient. Good interpersonal skills are a must as a Nutritionist or Dietitian must work closely with patients, as well as doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in order to do meet the demands of each patient or client, depending on their specific needs.

Nutrition specialists must refer to their profession as a science that has advanced over many years. Using a scientific method to including the latest research in nutrition is absolutely crucial to being a good Nutritionist or Dietitian. An ongoing willingness and ability to learn the very latest in this science is expected in order to stay on of the latest research and professional practices.

What do Nutritionists and Registered Dietitians earn?

The income of a nutritional science professional varies widely, but can be very comfordiv. The variance depends primarily on the area in which the professional is practicing. A small town Nutritionist would make a modest income compared to a Registered Dietitian in a metropolitan city, while a Registered Dietitian working in a hospital may earn less than a Nutritionist with his or her own practice.

According to the United States Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, a beginning Nutritionist or Registered Dietitian can expect to earn a yearly income of between $38,430 and $57,090, while professionals can earn more than $68,000 per year. The median annual income of Nutritionists and Dietitians in 2006 was roughly $47,000, a figure above the national average.

The following is a list of median annual incomes compiled by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the following areas of Nutritionists and Dietitians in 2006: (Salaries also vary by years in practice, education level, and geographic region)

Nutritionist Salary information

Find Specific Salary information by State. (Click Here) 

Outpatient care centers
General medical & surgical hospitals
State government
Nursing care facilities
Local government
Consulting businesses
Food & nutrition management
Education & research
Clinical nutrition/ambulatory care
Clinical nutrition long-term care
Community nutrition
Clinical nutrition/acute care

What is The Commission on Dietetic Registration and its examination process?

(For a Registered Dietitian Only) According to their website, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) is a body that “protects the public through credentialing and assessment processes that assure the competence of registered dietitians and dietetic technicians, registered”.

Begun in 1969 the CDR has screened over 80,000 Registered Dietitians and Dietetic Technicians through its examination process. The CDR awards seven different credentials including:

  • Registered Dietitian (RD)
  • Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR)
  • Board Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition (CSR)
  • Board Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition (CSP)
  • Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD)
  • Board Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition (CSG)
  • Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition (CSO)

What is a Nutritionist or Registered Dietitian Assistant?

A Nutritionist or Registered Dietitian Assistant works closely with professionals in the nutrition industry. A position as an assistant can be a great jumping off point for a career in nutrition.

A Nutritionist or Registered Dietitian’s Assistant will perform tasks including daily nutritional assessments as well as general health and dietary assessments, prescribe general and specialized nutritional plans for clients and patients, as well as agencies and facilities working with clients or patients.

What is the current job market like in the nutrition industry?

The nutrition industry contains an abundance of various options regarding work environments and types of patients. In 2006, roughly 57,000 Nutritionists or Dieticians worked with patients in environments from hospitals, care facilities and physicians’ offices to government run agencies such as prisons and health department agencies, to private practices, food service and production facilities and consulting companies.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the next 8 years, “Good job opportunities are expected, especially for dietitians with specialized training, an advanced degree, or certifications beyond the particular State’s minimum requirement.” At an annualized expected growth rate of nine percent per year, nutritional science related careers are slated to grow at roughly the same rate as the over occupation rate.

This job growth also comes at a time when the nation and world’s focus on medical care and medical insurance is at an -time high. As America’s population continues to age, senior citizens will make up a larger percentage of our population. For these citizens, nutrition will become ever more prevalent in order to combat aging ailments including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and others. For this reason, nutritional science positions will continue to grow in hospitals, long-term care facilities and clinics, in addition to food service contractors and agencies working with these facilities.

What are the next steps to a rewarding career in nutrition?

1. Find a degree in nutritional sciences offered on a campus in your area or online from our list of accredited colleges.

2. Research schools and degree programs for an understanding of prerequisites and admissions requirements.

3. Satisfy undergraduate or graduate requirements in related fields. Be sure that the requirements are met in order to take any required exams such as those of the CDR.

4. Start your career as a Nutritionist or Registered Dietitian in a hospital, established practice, clinic, community center, research facility or join a partnership.

Nutritionist & Dietitian Continuing Education Units/Credits CEU CE

Professionals looking to complete continuing education units are encouraged to find courses and programs through Nutritionist World’s network of institutions to find CEU’s that work with their specific organization. We encourage our visiting professionals to request information from as many schools as they would like to find the information and institution that not only matches the needs of their continued certification, but their professional development as well. Find Continuing Education Credits

Nutritionist Degree Schools

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