Nutritionist and Dietitian Programs in Louisiana
Dietitians and nutritionists are experts in nutrition and food. They focus on advising people on what to eat, how to plan healthy diets, nutrition requirements for various stages of life and how to achieve specific health-related goals with the help of proper food intake. Many dietitians and nutritionists work for private clients, but some work for large organizations or businesses. They work to create meal plans for individuals or groups, implement the plans, evaluate the results, then tweak the choices if necessary to ensure healthy diets for those under their care. Dietitians and nutritionists might also work to educate the public on good nutrition.
Those who attend Louisiana nutritionist and dietitian schools can seek work in a wide variety of settings. Thirty-two percent of all licensed dietitians nationally work in hospitals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and another 15 percent remain self-employed, working in private practice or with individual clients. Other possibilities for employment include nursing homes, food services, cafeterias, eating disorder clinics, prisons, schools, cafeterias and more. Those who choose to work for themselves might move into the restaurant or catering business, work as a personal chef or find employment as a food service manager.
Education and Training
Aspiring nutritionists and dietitians in Louisiana must earn a bachelor's degree or higher in order to be awarded a license to practice in the state. According to the Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Act in the state, the degree must be awarded by a regionally accredited college or university and must be in one of the following fields: human nutrition, food and nutrition, dietetics or food systems management.
In addition to the education requirement, graduates of nutritionist schools in Louisiana must also complete a minimum of 900 hours of supervised practice in order to receive a license. Though some nutritionist and dietitian programs in Louisiana offer supervised training as part of a complete program, other schools require students to earn the time through external employment or internships.
Nutritionists or dietitians might qualify for the following credentials:
- Registered Dietitian (RD): Becoming a registered dietitian means that one has met all the educational and supervised practice guidelines set forth by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
- Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN): The title of "registered dietitian" and "registered dietitian nutritionist" are interchangeable, with the same education and training requirements.
- Dietetic Technician (DTR): The dietetic technician usually works under the supervision of the registered dietitian, and must complete at least an associate degree, as well as 450 hours of supervised practice.
- Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS): Those who have completed a master's degree or higher in nutrition or a related field, as well as completed courses on science-based nutrition therapy, can apply for this designation.
The CDR also offers specialized credentials for those who want to focus their career in one particular area of nutrition. These include the board certified specialties in oncology nutrition (CS), rental nutrition (CSR) and others.
Salary and Employment Outlook
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2012 dietitians and nutritionists in Louisiana made an annual median wage of $48,830 (bls.gov, 2013) with the highest and lowest 10 percent of professionals earning $73,570 and $30,590 respectively. Additionally, according to the Louisiana Occupational Wage Survey, dietitians and nutritionists in the state may witness an employment opportunity growth of up to 20.79 percent from 2010 to 2020 (laworks.net, 2011).
The following table provides nutritionist and dietitian salary information by metropolitan area within the state (bls.gov, 2013).
Graduates of nutritionist schools in Louisiana must adhere to the following requirements to become licensed in the state:
- Obtain an approved degree from an accredited institution in food and nutrition, food systems management, dietetics, or human nutrition
- Complete no less than 900 hours of supervised training in the field
- Pass an exam approved by the licensing board (this can include the CDR registration exam)
- Keep up with continuing education requirements in order to keep the license current
Nutritionists and dietitians in Louisiana must complete 15 hours of continuing education every year in order to be granted renewal. The license must be renewed no later than July 1 of each year for a small fee.
To learn more about how to become a nutritionist in Louisiana, visit the Louisiana Board of Examiners in Dietetics and Nutrition.
For more information:
Louisiana Board of Examiners in Dietetics and Nutrition
18550 Highland Road, Suite B
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Commission on Dietetic Registration
Dietitians and Nutritionists, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Louisiana Board of Examiners in Dietetics and Nutrition
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Louisiana
Louisiana Department of Labor, Research and Statistics Division, LMI Unit
Nutritionist Schools in Louisiana
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