Dietitian and Nutritionist Career
Dietitians and nutritionists are highly-trained experts in the fields of food science and nutritional health. These careers offer varied and unique challenges in many fields. You might find yourself working to manage nutritional needs of individual patients, or creating meal plans for larger institutions such as care facilities and schools.
This is also a career for those who love to stay on top of the latest research in a field. Nutritional science is always advancing, and you will have to keep up with these advances to best meet the needs of your clients. Each patient will have their own set of needs, and special dietary restrictions can impose a unique set of challenges to overcome.
Dietitian and Nutritionist Career Snapshot
Nutritionists and dietitians employed by an institution such as a hospital can typically expect a 40 hour, full time work week, which may include working weekends. On the other hand, as many as one third of dietary specialists reported being self-employed with their own practice, which means more freedom to decide one’s own schedule.
Further details on a career as a dietitian and nutritionist are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):
is the average yearly pay for dietitians and nutritionists.
increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.
have a Post-Baccalaureate certificate while 29% have a Bachelor’s degree.
Every dietitian or nutritionist should have a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, food service management, or nutrition; each state or school may have a different name for this field. Each state also has its own licensing requirements and certification tests that you must pass before beginning work.
Dietitian/Nutritionist Job Outlook
Getting into a career as a dietitian is a very smart move financially speaking, because the need for these specialists is expected to grow between 2017 and 2024. People are more aware of the role healthy and unhealthy diets play in their health goals. With dietary fads and scams becoming more common, nutrition experts can play a vital role in educating their patients about the real science behind healthy eating.
The median salary for dietitians and nutritionists was $57,910 in May of 2015 according to the BLS.gov statistics. This is comparable to the median household income of $58,939. At the low end of the scale, dietitians made less than $29,860, while those in higher paying positions made an average of $63,300. Higher levels of education such as a Master’s degree tended to result in better paid positions than bachelor’s degrees or certificates.
Dietitian/Nutritionist Job Duties
Your job duties will always involve managing the nutritional needs of patients. However, you can choose to focus on a specific field. A community dietitian could find herself organizing the meal plans and special requirements of a retirement home. A clinical nutritionist, on the other hand, could focus on diagnosing and treating dietary conditions such as coeliac disease.
Dietitian and Nutritionist Skills & Traits
|Dietitian/Nutritionist Skill Set:||Required Abilities:||Tools Used by Dietitians/Nutritionists:||Typical Work Activities:|
|• Reading Comprehension|
• Active Listening
• Critical Thinking
|• Deductive Reasoning |
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Problem Sensitivity
• Written Comprehension
|• Bodyweight measuring scales|
• Glucose monitors
• Impedance meters
• Physiological recorders
|• Getting Information|
• Communicating with others
• Maintaining relationships
• Translating or explaining information
• Working directly with the public
Health Educators & Community Health Workers