Nutritionist and Dietitian Programs in Missouri
The work of nutritionists and dietitians revolves around healthy eating. Graduates of Missouri nutritionist and dietitian schools are qualified to offer advice on healthy eating, meal planning, dieting and nutrition. They work closely with individuals to create proper eating plans, consult with businesses and organizations that need help with planning cafeteria offerings, and even work with restaurants to help determine the best menu options.
Dietitians and nutritionists might work to educate the public on healthy eating, create diet and meal plans, evaluate the results of the plans and tweak as necessary to help ensure the best results for individuals and specific populations. Those with expertise in nutrition and dietetics can be called upon to help with everything from eating disorders to specific food allergies, among many other diet-related issues.
There are many career paths available to those who graduate from nutritionist and dietitian programs in Missouri. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common work for graduates in 2010 was the hospital setting, where dietitians and nutritionists were called upon to create meal plans for individuals with specific medical needs. Other work available includes positions in schools, nursing care facilities, rehabilitation facilities, food services, eating disorder clinics, cafeteria settings and more. Those who prefer to work on their own might choose to become personal chefs, work in restaurants or work as self-employed nutrition advisers for private clients.
Education and Training
The state of Missouri requires a bachelor's degree or higher in order to earn a license to practice. Degrees in health and nutrition or dietetics are acceptable, as well as degrees in related fields, such as food service management, sports nutrition and the like. Students must graduate from a program that has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, also known as ACEND.
Students of nutritionist schools in Missouri also have very specific guidelines as to credit hours required during the pursuit of the bachelor's degree: nine hours of biological sciences, six hours of chemistry, six hours of behavioral science, six hours of management, and twenty-five semester hours of diet therapy, medical dietetics, life cycle nutrition, clinical nutrition, food science, applied human nutrition or advanced human nutrition.
In addition to the bachelor's degree requirement, aspiring dietitians must work a minimum of 900 supervised hours in order to qualify for a license. Some nutritionist and dietitian programs in Missouri offer this training as part of the overall curriculum, while others require that the work be done through internships or outside employment.
Those who choose to become licensed can pursue designations such as:
- Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)
- Dietetic Technician (DT)
- Registered Dietitian (RD)
Other certifications, such as that of board certified specialties in oncology nutrition, sports nutrition, pediatric nutrition or gerontological nutrition, are also available.
Salary and Employment Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2012, dietitians and nutritionists in Missouri made an annual median wage of $47,570 (bls.gov, 2013) with the highest and lowest 10 percent earning $69,020 and $34,400 respectively. In addition, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, dietitians and nutritionists in the state may witness an employment growth of up to 10.08 percent from 2010 to 2020 (missourieconomy.org, 2010).
The following table provides nutritionist and dietitian salary information by metropolitan area within the state (bls.gov, 2013).
The Missouri Division of Professional Registration offers information on how to become a nutritionist in Missouri. Those who pursue licensing must adhere to the guidelines, including completion of:
- At least 900 hours of supervised training
- A passing grade on the Commission of Dietetic Registration exam
- A completed application and fee
- At least a bachelor's degree
- Credit hours in certain areas
Licenses must be renewed every two years. Missouri does not have a continuing education requirement for renewal.
Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
Dietitians and Nutritionists, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Commission of Dietetic Registration
Licensure Requirements, Missouri Secretary of State
Missouri Division of Professional Registration
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Missouri
Missouri Economic Research and Information Center