Nutritionist and Dietitian Programs in Connecticut
Dietitians and nutritionists are the experts who can educate others on how to choose the proper foods, follow a menu plan, develop healthy eating habits and even change lifestyle habits that help improve nutrition. Nutritionists and dietitians work to evaluate diets, form healthy meal plans, provide advice on implementing those plans, evaluate the outcome and make changes if necessary to help ensure the best health possible for their patients. They also work to educate the public on all things related to food, including obesity, eating disorders, malnutrition, and how to make healthy food choices.
There are numerous career options for those who graduate from nutritionist and dietitian programs in Connecticut. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 32 percent of all dietitians and nutritionists worked in hospitals in 2010. Other popular positions included those in the offices of physicians, nursing homes and outpatient care centers. Fifteen percent were self-employed. Potential work can also be found in rehabilitation facilities, the restaurant industry, eating disorder clinics, food services, schools, prisons, cafeterias and more.
Education and Training
In order to become a registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist, graduates of nutritionist schools in Connecticut must meet certain academic and work requirements. These include a bachelor's degree, master's or doctorate from a school accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), as well as a minimum of 1,200 hours of supervised practice. Some degree programs might include the hourly requirement in the program, while others might expect students to earn the time through internships or outside employment.
Graduates of Connecticut nutritionist and dietitian schools can become licensed as the following:
- Registered Dietitian (RD): This can be awarded to those who have completed all the requirements of the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), including the education and work requirements.
- Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN): This title can be used by RDs as a way to be more specific about the scope of their work. Education and work experience requirements remain the same.
- Dietetic Technician (DTR): This designation is based on a minimum of an associate degree in nutrition or related field and 450 hours of supervised practice. DTRs usually work under the supervision of RDs.
- Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS): This is an expert who has earned at least a master's degree in nutrition or a related subject, and has completed a course on science-based nutrition therapy.
Aspiring nutritionists can also narrow their focus to certain specializations. The CDR offers five board certified specialties, including renal nutrition (CSR), pediatric nutrition (CSP), oncology nutrition (CSO), sports dietetics (CSSD) and gerontological nutrition (CSG).
Salary and Employment Outlook
According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May of 2012 dietitians and nutritionists in Connecticut made an annual median wage of $63,540 (bls.gov, 2013) with the highest and lowest 10 percent of dietitians and nutritionists earning $83,610 and $42,960 respectively. In addition, according to the Connecticut Labor Market Information, dietitians and nutritionists in the state can experience an employment outlook growth of up to 13.97 percent from 2010 to 2020 (state.ct.us, 2012).
The following table provides nutritionist and dietitian salary information by metropolitan area within the state (bls.gov, 2013).
In the state of Connecticut, a certificate is required to practice as a dietitian. The requirements for a certificate are as follows:
- Applicants must have current registration with the CDR (consisting of passing both the education and work requirements, as listed above)
- Notarized application with all information requested, including a photograph
- The certification fee
Certificates must be renewed annually for a fee. There are currently no continuing education requirements in the state of Connecticut for nutritionists or dietitians. For more information on how to become a nutritionist in Connecticut, visit the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
For more information:
Connecticut Department of Public Health
410 Capitol Avenue, MS #12 APP
P. O. Box 340308
Hartford, CT 06134
Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
Commission on Dietetic Registration
Connecticut Department of Public Health
Dietitians and Nutritionists, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Connecticut Labor Market Information