Nutritionist and Dietitian Programs in Arkansas
Nutritionists and dietitians know all about food and nourishment. They offer advice on healthy eating, dieting, meal planning, and even lifestyle changes that affect how individuals relate to and use food in their everyday lives. Dietitians and nutritionists work closely with individuals, organizations, corporations, hospitals and other groups of people to help them determine the best diet and meal plans. They explain what healthy nutrition means, help implement diet plans, evaluate the results and tweak those plans as needed. They might focus on groups such as schools or prisons, or they might work with individuals to help them overcome weight issues, eating disorders or food allergies, among other challenges.
Nutritionist and dietitian programs in Arkansas can prepare students for a wide variety of positions. The most common work for dietitians in 2010 was in hospitals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some might choose to work on their own as self-employed nutritionists and dietitians. Other possibilities for dietitian and nutritionist careers include work in hospitals, nursing care facilities, rehabilitation facilities, eating disorder clinics, food services, prisons, schools and cafeteria settings. Some choose to become personal chefs or work in restaurants, putting their knowledge of food to creative use.
Education and Training
In the state of Arkansas, a bachelor's degree or higher in nutrition or a related field is required in order to become licensed. Degrees suitable for this requirement could include food and nutrition, dietetics, food service management or a related field. The degree should give applicants a firm foundation in biology, chemistry, physiology and nutrition. Degree programs for dietitians and nutritionists are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
In addition to graduating with a bachelor's degree from nutritionist and dietitian programs in Arkansas, the state requires a minimum of 900 hours of supervised training in order to qualify for a license. This time can be gained during college, through internships or through employment after graduation. In some cases, nutritionist schools in Arkansas include the supervised training requirement as part of the program.
Graduates of Arkansas nutritionist and dietitian schools might also choose to pursue various certifications, depending upon their career goals. In addition to the certifications below, aspiring students can choose to pursue board certified specialties in oncology nutrition, sports nutrition, gerontological nutrition or pediatric nutrition. Certifications and licenses in nutrition and dietetics include the following:
- Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RD)
- Dietetic Technician (DT)
- Registered Dietitian (RD)
Salary and Employment Outlook
Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, as of May 2012, dietitians and nutritionists in Arkansas made an annual median wage of $47,030 (bls.gov, 2013) with the highest and lowest 10 percent earning $71,270 and $32,820 respectively. In addition, according to the Department of Workforce Services of Arkansas, dietitians and nutritionists in the state may experience an employment opportunity growth of up to 9.63 percent from 2008 to 2018 (discoverarkansas.net, 2010).
The following table provides nutritionist and dietitian salary information by metropolitan area within the state (bls.gov, 2013).
Dietitians in Arkansas must be licensed by the state. Applicants must have at minimum:
- Bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited institution
- Serve at least 900 hours of supervised experience
- Pass the exam from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)
- Submit the proper application to the board of licensing
The license must be renewed every year, and continuing education is required in order to stay current. For more information on how to become a nutritionist in Arkansas, visit the Arkansas Dietetics Licensing Board.
Arkansas Dietetic Association
PO Box 55234
Little Rock, AR 72215-5234
Arkansas Dietetic Licensing Board
P.O. Box 1016
North Little Rock, AR 72115
Arkansas Department of Health
4815 West Markham
Little Rock, AR 72205
Arkansas Dietetics Licensing Board
Commission on Dietetic Registration
Dietitians and Nutritionists, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Department of Workforce Services of Arkansas
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Arkansas