Today there are numerous sources of information on nutrition that advise us on a daily basis on what we should eat and when. There are various diets to sift through. Nutritionists are those professionals that help individuals decide what to eat in order to live a healthy lifestyle. Want to know how much nutritionists make? We will go over nutritionist salary in this article.
What is the salary of a nutritionist? Currently, the annual average salary for nutritionists is $57,440 and the monthly average salary is $4786.66. The top 10% of individuals in the occupation are earning around $79,840 while the starting wage can be as low as $35,040. The top paying states are California, Maryland, Nevada, Connecticut and New Jersey.
Most nutritionists work full time with a small percentage being self-employed. They can work in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, sports organizations, or community health centers. Those that are self employed tend to have more flexible schedules. As there is no formal training for becoming a nutritionist there isn’t a differentiation in pay based on education.
Nutritionist Job Description
What are the responsibilities of a Nutritionist? They are the experts in food and nutrition and therefore advise people on what to eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. They may have a variety of responsibilities from assessing patients’ health needs to developing meal plans. Through the evaluating process nutritionists advise their clients on which foods to eat as well as those to avoid in order to improve their health.
Some provide customized information for individuals. For example, they may teach a client with diabetes how to prepare food that won’t spike their glucose levels. Others might work with groups of people who have similar needs or with other healthcare professionals to coordinate patient care.
Those that are self employed may meet with clients or work as consultants for various organizations. As they are self employed they might need to also focus on marketing and other business related tasks like scheduling.
While most nutritionists do many of the same tasks there are two main specializations in the field:
- Clinical Nutritionists: Work in hospitals or other long term care facilities. They provide medical nutrition therapy by creating specialized meal plans based on patients’ needs.
- Community Nutritionists: Work in public health clinics, nonprofits, or for governments. They develop programs and counseling for specific groups of people such as adolescents or the elderly.
Nutritionists can work in a variety of environments that include hospitals, nursing homes, cafeterias, and schools. Hospitals employ the most number of nutritionists with governments coming in next. The 11% that are self-employed either work as consultants for individuals or for healthcare establishments on a contract basis.
Work schedules can vary in this profession depending on where and who nutritionists work for. Those in medical centers usually work standard business hours. Self employed professionals can aim for normal business hours; however, it might be in their best interest to work after regular hours in order to obtain a larger clientele. Nutritionists that work for themselves may have to work evening hours or weekends in order to accommodate their clients.
How to become a Nutritionist
Most have a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, food and nutrition, food service systems management, clinical nutrition, or a related field. It can cost between $14,000-$80,000 to obtain a four year bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition or a related area. Additionally, some acquire an advanced degree that can cost an additional $20,000- $65,000 in education.
They also receive relevant training on the job through an internship. Some programs offer students the opportunity to complete supervised training as part of their coursework in undergrad or graduate school. Nutritionists usually receive several hundred hours of supervised training following graduation.
Most states also require nutritionists to be licensed. Others may only need a state certification while a few have no regulations. The requirements for licensing will vary by state, but most state that a nutritionist needs a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition, supervised practice, and passing an exam.
Many choose to earn a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential which often covers many state licensing requirements. Many employers also require this credential of their employees. In order to maintain this credential professionals must complete continuing education regularly. Nutritionists may also earn a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credential which illustrates an advanced level of knowledge. This certification is often accepted in most states for licensing purposes. To qualify for the CNS exam an individual must have at least a master’s degree and have completed a minimum of 1,000 hours of experience. The certification is administered by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists.
By 2022 the profession is expected to grow 21% which is much faster than the average for all occupations. There has been recent interest in the role of food and how it affects health, especially as it can help with preventive healthcare.
Nearly 1/3 of US adults are obese which brings with it a host of diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease. The importance of diet in helping prevent and treating these illnesses is well known; therefore there is an increasing need for nutritionists. Additionally, as the baby boomers grow older and look for ways to stay healthy nutritionists will be more in demand than ever before through both advising and for work in nursing homes or home healthcare.
Rehabilitation counselors work with individuals that have emotional and physical disabilities. They work with clients to manage the effects of their disabilities on their personal, social, and professional lives. They work in a variety of settings from schools to rehab facilities to prisons and tend to work full time. Average annual salary is $33,880.
Community health workers collect data and discuss health concerns with specific population groups. They also educate people on the importance of certain healthcare services such as cancer screenings and conduct outreach programs. They work in a variety of settings including hospitals, non-profit organizations, government, or doctor’s offices. Professionals usually work full time. The average annual salary is $34,620.