Careers in Nutrition - Dietician, Nutritionist

Institute for Career Research

Careers in Nutrition - Dietician, Nutritionist
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Careers in Nutrition - Dietician, Nutritionist

Institute for Career Research

NUTRITIONISTS AND DIETITIANS PROVIDE guidance on how to improve human health through nutrition. They study the effects of nutrition, and devise strategies for eating practices that promote wellness, and prevent or treat disease. While the terms nutritionist and dietitian are often used interchangeably, the American Dietetic Association rules that a practitioner can only use the title dietitian after meeting strict, specific educational and experience prerequisites and passing a national registration examination. The title nutritionist, on the other hand, is protected by some but not all states. This means that in some areas anyone can use the title nutritionist, regardless of education and training. The standard education path for nutritionists and dietitians is to complete a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, foods and nutrition, food service systems management, or other related areas. Passing a licensure exam is required in many states. To obtain certification, students must complete a one-year supervised internship and pass an exam, in addition to the bachelor’s degree. Master’s and PhD programs are also available. These are necessary for those who want to teach at the university level, or to work in advanced clinical positions. There is a variety of different work settings and duties available for nutritionists and dietitians. Many work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities alongside physicians. Others provide nutritional counseling for groups or individuals. Some go into marketing. Because there are so many different nutritional philosophies, nutritionists and dietitians can vary greatly from person to person. Working conditions for nutritionists and dietitians are generally good and so is the pay. The average annual salary of a nutritionist is $50,000, and the top earners can make more than $75,000. Those with graduate degrees can expect to earn higher salaries. Generally speaking, nutritionists and dietitians working in education and research earn the most out of all the different types of nutrition-based careers. Most nutritionists and dietitians are drawn to this field of work because they are passionate about helping people achieve optimal health. Their work is a great gift. Although they aren’t saving lives on a daily basis like emergency room doctors, nutritionists and dietitians have a profound, life-long influence on well-being. If you are passionate about food and its effects on the body, read on. This could be a fulfilling career for you.

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