By working toward a nutrition degree, you will be working toward preventative health care. Both nutrition and dietetics focus on health dietary habits for improved and sustained health. As more people are realizing the importance of healthy living, employment of fitness and nutrition workers will increase. Those working as fitness trainers enjoy a rapid job growth related to the medical and health fields. Graduates of nutrition science programs work as nutritionists or dietitians where responsibilities can include education and awareness training, planning, and supervising healthy meal preparation, and working with patients who may have conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, or hypertension.
Nutrition Education and Training
There are differences between nutritionists and dietitians. There are A registered dietitian (RD) is a professional who has met the academic and experiential requirements that are established by the American Dietetic Association’s (ADA) Commission on Dietetics Registration (CDR). An RD typically holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, nutrition sciences, and/or dietetics at a minimum.
On the other hand, a nutritionist does not generally represent a nationally recognized professional credential for example that of the ADA or CDR. Hence, not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. Most states have state licensure or certification for dietitians or nutritionists or both (Bureau of Labor Statistics – BLS).
To be qualified to work as a nutritionist or dietitian, you need a nutrition degree or related degree in dietetics and fitness. In your program of study you will gain the proper certification by attending fitness trainer school.
As a dietitian or nutritionist, you will need a degree in nutrition and to do so you can attend one of the many colleges, universities that offer degree training programs. Programs and curricula may vary, but some courses you may be required to take may include:
- Prenatal and Infant Nutrition
- Sports Nutrition
- Multicultural Health and Nutrition
- Geriatric and Gerontological Health and Nutrition
- Nutrition and Fitness
- Clinical Rotations (Practicum)
The curriculum also includes courses in clinical dietetics, medical-nutrition therapy, education methodology and research, human development, anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, and microbiology, as well as courses in the social science. To remain registered, an RD is required to meet continuing professional education requirements of ADA.
There are over 250 nutrition degree programs approved by the American Dietetic Associations Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education. If you specialize in sports nutrition you also increase your job opportunities.
There is a need for more experienced trainers in health clubs, medical centers, and other areas. Dietitians and nutritionists with specialized training, or advanced degrees and certifications are also in demand. Also, by working in the fitness and nutrition industry, you would be helping promote healthy lifestyles for others through good diet and exercise plans.
The increase emphasis and interest on diet and its role in health has led to a growing demand for nutritionists and dietitians. Nutritionists are important to advancing the understanding of the relationship between healthy eating, exercise, and a healthy life style.
Nutritionists work with clients or patients on a one-on-one basis, in groups, classes, and as health care counselors. Professionals with an online nutrition degree also help to design institutional nutrition programs and food processing and packaging companies.
Nutritionists and dietitians also often work in hospitals, nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers, schools, colleges, and universities, as well as catering companies. Here, their job is to plan food and nutrition programs, supervise meal preparation, and oversee serving of meals so as to prevent and treat illnesses that patients and clients may encounter.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
Many registered dietitians (RD) and nutritionists work in hospitals, educational facilities, health and fitness clubs and other areas including self-employment. The mean salary for dietitians and nutritionists is about $42,000. The middle 50% earn from $33,000 to $50,000.
The median annual wage of dietitians and nutritionists was $53,250 in 2010, employment of dietitians and nutritionists is expected to increase 20% between 2010 to 2020 which is faster than the average for most occupations (BLS).
Salaries vary by years in practice, educational level, and geographic region. The American Dietetic Association reports the average salary for registered to be about $60,000 in consultation and business; $55,000 in food and nutrition management; $54,800 in education and research; $44,000 in clinical nutrition/ambulatory care; $43,300 in clinical nutrition/long-term care; $43,200 in community nutrition; and $40,800 in clinical nutrition/acute care.
This has been influenced by the growing awareness and health education, interest in increased health, as well as a interest in online nutrition degree programs. As with the rest of the health care industry, this continues to grow rapidly. A growing and aging population will boost the demand for meals and nutritional counseling in hospitals, nursing care facilities, schools, community health programs, and home health care agencies.