Nutritionists and dietitians have risen in demand as more people understand the value of a healthy diet. Using deep knowledge of nutritional science, these professionals provide their services in a wide range of public and private sector positions. Here is a deeper look at these careers and how to enter them.
Opportunities are growing much faster than average for these professionals, who are expected to increase in number by about 16 percent over the next decade. The science of nutrition is advancing rapidly, so the importance placed on a properly formulated diet is rising as well. As life expectancy grows, more elderly individuals are also in need of dietitians and nutritionists at home and at assisted living centers.
At the same time, grocery stores and restaurants are hiring more of these professionals to help improve public health. The best career prospects for dietitians and nutritionists often belong to those who have earned advanced education and training in their fields. Once licensed, these professionals can look for opportunities through local job listings. For example, individuals in the western United States can search for California state jobs through a directory.
Although the tasks performed by dietitians and nutritionists can vary significantly with the position, some duties are common between jobs. These tasks include assessing unique dietary requirements of individuals, explaining good dietary habits and designing meal plans with consideration to client requirements and employer budgets.
In some positions, these professionals also perform public speaking on nutritional subjects, perform research in areas of specialty and create reports on dietary progress by patients. While a majority of dietitians and nutritionists work under employers, some are self-employed in consulting or other roles.
These professionals work in many different areas, but the majority are found in hospitals. After hospitals, the most frequent employers of dietitians and nutritionists are government, nursing homes, outpatient care centers and food services. Dietitians and nutritionists can also be found working as restaurant managers, health writers, marketers, caterers and teachers. Three-quarters work full time while the rest work part time.
In most cases, dietitians and nutritionists have a four-year degree and have received specialized training afterwards. A number of degrees, including clinical nutrition, public health nutrition and dietetics, may be held by these professionals. In many states, dietitians and nutritionists also must pass licensing exams in order to practice. Most licensing requirements include a four-year degree and supervised demonstration of skills as well as a written exam.
Like other professionals, dietitians and nutritionists should focus on having a polished, well-written resume before starting a job search. Examples of effective resumes can be found at www.freeresumesamples.org. With a combination of education, licensing and a great resume, dietitians and nutritionists will have the best chances of enjoying the many opportunities in this growing field.