Nutritional counseling careers are not just limited to allied health positions. There are several nutritional counseling careers including:
- Hospital Nutritionists and Dieticians
- School Nutritionists and Dieticians
- Clinical Dietitians
- Community Dietitians
- Management Dietitians
- Consultant Dietitians
- Food Scientists
Nutritional counselors work in a variety of settings including hospitals, schools, corporations, gyms, restaurants, food and beverage, manufacturing, and food science laboratories.
A bachelor’s degree in dietetics, nutrition, food science, food service, Agriculture, chemistry, and restaurant management from an accredited traditional or online school is recommended. These degrees teach the skills necessary to be successful in the industry and position graduates favorably for a job in the field.
A dietician or nutritionist creates food and menu choices for groups of people as well as individuals. For example, some dieticians study segments of the population to see if they are getting enough nutrition while others work with individual clients.
The goal of a dietician or nutritionist is not just to lose weight. Their main purpose is to help identify poor nutritional habits and replace those with good habits through education.
The first step of this process is by doing a nutritional assessment to see how much the person needs to eat each day and how many vitamins and nutrients they need. Special consideration is taken for medications, allergies, and medical conditions that affect diet. Once the nutritionist has done the assessment a menu of options is created for the end user.
Training and Education
Practicing and a dietician or nutritionist requires you to have the correct licensure and registration. The first step is to attend and accredited online or traditional college or university and obtain a four year bachelor’s degree in dietetics, nutrition or food science.
Once you receive your degree you are eligible to apply for licensure with the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education. There are currently approximately 250 accredited schools that offer degrees in dietetics. Nutritionists use to obtain their training and credentials through apprenticeships but that training model is rare.
There are several places to begin your career as a dietician or nutritionist. Many are now employed by public school districts to ensure the menu options fall within government and district guidelines for nutrition. Many dieticians also work in clinics and hospitals working with patients and staff members.
The average dietician or nutritionist earns $52,000 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages and salary vary on location, experience, education, and employer. There are approximately 60,000 nutritionists and dieticians in the United States. The job is expected to grow by 9% through 2018 which is about average when compared to other career fields.
The main emphasis on future positions will be to teach individuals and groups health eating principles that will prolong their lives and help prevent sickness and disease.