Nutritionists and dieticians help patients lead healthy lifestyles or accomplish health-related goals through their diets. Specific responsibilities may include creating meal plans, evaluating the success of those plans, and speaking about the importance of nutrition to different groups.
Nutritionist Careers: Education and Licensing Requirements
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), students pursuing a nutritionist career often need a bachelor's degree in foods and nutrition, dietetics, or a related health program. Over the course of the degree program, they take a number of core and elective courses. Below are some examples:
- Food Systems Management
Students also learn about the connection between proper nutrition and disease prevention, while exploring various initiatives in nutritional improvement.
While most nutritionists have a bachelor's degree, those looking to advance their knowledge and skills can pursue a master's in nutrition or doctorate degree program. On the other hand, individuals who want to learn the fundamentals of nutrition can pursue an associate degree.
In addition to fulfilling the education requirements, nutritionists must meet their state's licensing and/or certification requirements in order to practice. Requirements vary by state, and a few states do not have any. Those who do earn a credential can choose from several, such as Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS).
Career Outlook for Nutrition Majors
According to the BLS, there is strong public interest in promoting food's role in health and wellness, leading to an uptick in available jobs in this field -- specifically, 21 percent nationally between 2012 and 2022. There will also be a greater demand for these professionals as baby boomers continue to age and strive to stay healthy.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, February 20, 2014, http://www.eatright.org/
"Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists," Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists, February 20, 2014, http://cbns.org/
Commission on Dietetic Registration, http://cdrnet.org/default.cfm
Dieticians and Nutritionist, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm