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Become A Nutrition Specialist

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Working As A Nutrition Specialist

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $78,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Nutrition Specialist Do

Dietitians and nutritionists are experts in the use of food and nutrition to promote health and manage disease. They advise people on what to eat in order to lead a healthy lifestyle or achieve a specific health-related goal.

Duties

Dietitians and nutritionists typically do the following:

  • Assess patients’ and clients’ nutritional and health needs
  • Counsel patients on nutrition issues and healthy eating habits
  • Develop meal plans, taking both cost and clients’ preferences into account
  • Evaluate the effects of meal plans and change the plans as needed
  • Promote better health by speaking to groups about diet, nutrition, and the relationship between good eating habits and preventing or managing specific diseases
  • Keep up with or contribute to the latest food and nutritional science research
  • Write reports to document patients’ progress

Dietitians and nutritionists evaluate the health of their clients. Based on their findings, dietitians and nutritionists advise clients on which foods to eat—and which to avoid—to improve their health.

Many dietitians and nutritionists provide customized information for specific individuals. For example, a dietitian or nutritionist might teach a client with diabetes how to plan meals to balance the client’s blood sugar. Others work with groups of people who have similar needs. For example, a dietitian or nutritionist might plan a diet with healthy fat and limited sugar to help clients who are at risk for heart disease. They may work with other healthcare professionals to coordinate patient care.

Dietitians and nutritionists who are self-employed may meet with patients, or they may work as consultants for a variety of organizations. They may need to spend time on marketing and other business-related tasks, such as scheduling appointments, keeping records, and preparing educational programs or informational materials for clients.

Although many dietitians and nutritionists do similar tasks, there are several specialties within the occupations. The following are examples of types of dietitians and nutritionists:

Clinical dietitians and clinical nutritionists provide medical nutrition therapy. They work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, private practice, and other institutions. They create nutritional programs based on the health needs of patients or residents and counsel patients on how to improve their health through nutrition. Clinical dietitians and clinical nutritionists may further specialize, such as by working only with patients with kidney diseases or those with diabetes.

Community dietitians and community nutritionists develop programs and counsel the public on topics related to food, health, and nutrition. They often work with specific groups of people, such as adolescents or the elderly. They work in public health clinics, government and nonprofit agencies, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and other settings.

Management dietitians plan food programs. They work in food service settings such as cafeterias, hospitals, prisons, and schools. They may be responsible for buying food and for carrying out other business-related tasks, such as budgeting. Management dietitians may oversee kitchen staff or other dietitians.

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How To Become A Nutrition Specialist

Most dietitians and nutritionists have a bachelor’s degree and have completed supervised training through an internship. Many states require dietitians and nutritionists to be licensed.

Education

Most dietitians and nutritionists have a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, foods and nutrition, clinical nutrition, public health nutrition, or a related area. Dietitians also may study food service systems management. Programs include courses in nutrition, psychology, chemistry, and biology.

Many dietitians and nutritionists have advanced degrees.

Training

Dietitians and nutritionists typically receive several hundred hours of supervised training, usually in the form of an internship following graduation from college. Some dietetics schools offer coordinated programs in dietetics that allow students to complete supervised training as part of their undergraduate or graduate-level coursework.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states require dietitians and nutritionists to be licensed in order to practice. Other states require only state registration or certification to use certain titles, and a few states have no regulations for this occupation.

The requirements for state licensure and state certification vary by state, but most include having a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition or a related area, completing supervised practice, and passing an exam.

Many dietitians choose to earn the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential. Although the RDN is not always required, the qualifications are often the same as those necessary for becoming a licensed dietitian in states that require a license. Many employers prefer or require the RDN, which is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The RDN requires dietitian nutritionists to complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and a Dietetic Internship (DI), which consists of at least 1,200 hours of supervised experience. Students may complete both criteria at once through a coordinated program, or they may finish their required coursework before applying for an internship. These programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), part of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In order to maintain the RDN credential, dietitians and nutritionists who have earned it must complete 75 continuing professional education credits every 5 years.

Nutritionists may earn the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credential to show an advanced level of knowledge. The CNS credential is accepted in several states for licensure purposes. To qualify for the credential, applicants must have a master’s or doctoral degree, complete 1,000 hours of experience, and pass an exam. The credential is administered by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists.

Dietitians and nutritionists may seek additional certifications in an area of specialty. The Commission on Dietetic Registration offers specialty certifications in oncology nutrition, renal nutrition, gerontological nutrition, pediatric nutrition, and sports dietetics.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Dietitians and nutritionists must keep up to date with the latest food and nutrition research. They should be able to interpret scientific studies and translate nutrition science into practical eating advice.

Compassion. Dietitians and nutritionists must be caring and empathetic when helping clients address health and dietary issues and any related emotions.

Listening skills. Dietitians and nutritionists must listen carefully to understand clients’ goals and concerns. They may work with other healthcare workers as part of a team to improve the health of a patient, and they need to listen to team members when constructing eating plans.

Organizational skills. Because there are many aspects to the work of dietitians and nutritionists, they should be able to stay organized. Management dietitians, for example, must consider the nutritional needs of their clients, the costs of meals, and access to food.

Problem-solving skills. Dietitians and nutritionists must evaluate the health status of patients and determine the most appropriate food choices for a client to improve his or her overall health or manage a disease.

Speaking skills. Dietitians and nutritionists must explain complicated topics in a way that people with less technical knowledge can understand. They must be able to clearly explain eating plans to clients and to other healthcare professionals involved in a patient’s care.

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Nutrition Specialist Career Paths

Nutrition Specialist
Clinical Dietitian Consultant Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clinical Dietitian Consultant General Manager
Food Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Clinical Dietitian Consultant Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Dietitian Health Coach Case Manager
Registered Nurse Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Dietitian Health Coach Manager
Partner
6 Yearsyrs
Dietitian Adjunct Professor Supervisor
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Nutritionist Adjunct Professor Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Nutritionist Adjunct Professor Chairperson
Medical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Dietitian Adjunct Instructor Owner/Operator
Food Service Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Registered Dietitian Adjunct Instructor Education Consultant
Educational Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Senior Technician Specialist Food Service Director
Director Of Food And Nutrition Services
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Service Assistant Service Supervisor
Patient Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Administrator Practice Manager
Hospitality Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Registered Dietitian Registered Nurse Occupational Health Nurse
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Nutritionist Food Service Supervisor Food Service Manager
Dietary Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Consultant Dietitian Food Service Supervisor Food Service Manager
Assistant Food Service Director
5 Yearsyrs
Consultant Dietitian Food Service Supervisor Food Service Director
Nutrition Director
7 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Owner/Operator Food Service Manager
Nutrition Services Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Instructor Senior Instructor Division Chief
Chief Of Service
7 Yearsyrs
Personal Trainer Health Coach
Wellness Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Nutrition Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

65.9%

Male

23.2%

Unknown

10.9%
Ethnicity

White

62.0%

Hispanic or Latino

15.3%

Black or African American

12.2%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

63.9%

French

9.3%

German

3.1%

Vietnamese

2.1%

Mandarin

2.1%

Portuguese

2.1%

Chinese

2.1%

Cantonese

2.1%

Arabic

2.1%

Swahili

1.0%

Cherokee

1.0%

Italian

1.0%

Cheyenne

1.0%

Korean

1.0%

Bosnian

1.0%

Igbo

1.0%

Malay

1.0%

Armenian

1.0%

Russian

1.0%

Lingala

1.0%
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Nutrition Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.1%

New York University

6.3%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

5.4%

Pennsylvania State University

5.4%

Ashford University

4.9%

Arizona State University

4.9%

Texas Woman's University

4.9%

Kaplan University

4.9%

Colorado State University

4.9%

West Virginia University

4.5%

Walden University

4.5%

American InterContinental University

4.0%

Purdue University

4.0%

Iowa State University

4.0%

Oklahoma State University

4.0%

University of North Florida

3.6%

University of Kentucky

3.6%

University of Georgia

3.6%

Michigan State University

3.1%

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

3.1%
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Majors

Food And Nutrition

17.7%

Dietetics

15.3%

Business

13.8%

Health Care Administration

5.4%

Nursing

4.8%

Psychology

4.5%

Nutrition Science

4.4%

Medical Assisting Services

4.2%

Public Health

4.1%

Kinesiology

3.2%

Criminal Justice

3.1%

Biology

2.9%

Education

2.8%

Culinary Arts

2.3%

Accounting

2.2%

Health Education

2.1%

Communication

1.9%

Management

1.8%

Elementary Education

1.8%

General Studies

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

35.8%

Other

23.5%

Masters

21.4%

Associate

10.1%

Certificate

5.7%

Diploma

1.5%

Doctorate

1.3%

License

0.7%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$78,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$41,000
Min 10%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$148,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
LifePoint Health
Highest Paying City
Rochester, MN
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.6 years
How much does a Nutrition Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Nutrition Specialist in the United States is $78,769 per year or $38 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $41,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $148,000.

Real Nutrition Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Crop Nutrition Specialist Vital Fertilizers, LLC Mission, TX Sep 15, 2015 $78,000
School Nutrition Specialist Underwood Catering, Inc. Enosburg Falls, VT Mar 28, 2014 $75,486
School Nutrition Specialist Underwood Catering, Inc. Enosburg Falls, VT Aug 04, 2016 $68,000
Specialist, Nutrition Save The Children Us Washington, DC Jul 21, 2014 $66,000
Specialist, Nutrition Save The Children Federation, Inc. Washington, DC Jan 07, 2016 $60,403 -
$66,990
Specialist, Nutrition Save The Children Federation, Inc. Washington, DC Jun 01, 2016 $60,403 -
$66,990
Specialist, Nutrition Save The Children Federation, Inc. Washington, DC Jan 06, 2016 $60,403 -
$66,990
Specialist, Nutrition Save The Children Federation, Inc. Washington, DC Jul 01, 2016 $60,403 -
$66,990
Animal Nutrition Specialist Distributors Processing Inc. Porterville, CA Aug 23, 2016 $60,070
Crop Nutrition Specialist Vital Fertilizers, LLC Mission, TX Sep 10, 2014 $60,000
Senior Crop Nutrition Specialist Vital Fertilizers, LLC Mission, TX Mar 10, 2014 $60,000
Clinical Nutrition Specialist The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Cente Houston, TX Oct 01, 2011 $57,000
Animal Nutrition Specialist Delaval Inc. Batavia, NY Aug 20, 2015 $56,202
Senior Cmam & Emergency Nutrition Specialist Academy for Educational Development Washington, DC Aug 15, 2010 $54,163 -
$101,000
Clinical Nutrition Specialist Swedish Health Services Seattle, WA Feb 29, 2016 $53,934
School Nutrition Specialist Underwood Catering, Inc. Enosburg Falls, VT Mar 18, 2011 $53,747
School Nutrition Specialist Underwood Catering, Inc. Enosburg Falls, VT Apr 29, 2011 $53,747
Nutrition Specialist Eco's Homecare, Inc. Brier, WA Aug 04, 2016 $53,685
Clinical Nutrition Specialist Florida Health Sciences Center, Inc. Tampa, FL May 03, 2010 $50,050
Nutrition Specialist Woodridge Service Inc. New York, NY Sep 10, 2014 $46,331
Nutrition Specialist Central Merchant Inc. New York, NY Sep 10, 2014 $46,331
Nutrition Specialist The Curators of The University of Missouri Owensville, MO Jan 06, 2016 $44,500
Nutrition Specialist The Curators of The University of Missouri Owensville, MO Jun 01, 2016 $44,500
Nutrition Specialist Professional Placement & Recruitment, Inc. NY Oct 01, 2010 $44,500
Food and Nutrition Specialist GOMA Inc. Urban Honolulu, HI Aug 23, 2016 $39,541 -
$50,000

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Top Skills for A Nutrition Specialist

  1. Food Safety
  2. Meal Plans
  3. Pet Owners
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained food safety and ensure integrity of programming.
  • Placed clients on appropriate meal plans and made the necessary caloric adjustments to enable the clients to reach their goal weight.
  • Provided nutritional information and guidance to pet owners
  • Provided outstanding customer service and communication skills, understanding the value in developing strong relationships with customers.
  • Assisted dietitians or superiors in food service supervision, planning, and production operations.

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Top 10 Best States for Nutrition Specialists

  1. Alaska
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Nevada
  4. Washington
  5. Oregon
  6. North Dakota
  7. Wisconsin
  8. California
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Connecticut
  • (12 jobs)
  • (56 jobs)
  • (35 jobs)
  • (98 jobs)
  • (48 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (64 jobs)
  • (482 jobs)
  • (256 jobs)
  • (35 jobs)

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