Nutritionists help develop and direct nutritional and food-service programs to promote good health and disease control.
Usually, they consult individuals and companies as well as do various nutritional research.
They can also work as supervisors in the departments that handle quantity food services.
Further in the article, you will find information about the duties, work environment, skills, education, and other aspects of this job.
Article Table of Contents
What Does a Nutritionist Do
Nutritionists provide advice to individuals and companies regarding diets, dietary plans, meal schedules, and losing weight.
They can even make recommendations on how to treat chronic conditions and diseases.
They usually work in a group or one-on-one setting, because dietary issues can come in a wide range of forms.
Below, you will find a list of responsibilities most commonly faced by nutritionists.
Most of the tasks of nutritionists and dietitians overlap despite the type of nutritionists’ job: pediatric, sports, animal, clinical, or WIC.
- Providing consultations of nutrition and assess nutritional needs, current diets, diet restrictions, and health plans.
- Developing and putting into practice the dietary plans.
- Collaborating with physicians and other healthcare personnel and determining the nutritional needs of patients.
- Recommending food selection and preparation, dietary plans, and diet modifications.
- Improving the quality of life of their clients by improving and monitoring their eating habits.
- Ensuring compliance with nutritional, sanitation, and safety quality standards.
- Observing the operation of the foodservice and coordinating the standardization and development of recipes and menus.
- Developing foodservice and nutrition policies to promote health and disease control.
- Determining their compliance with palatability and appearance standards.
- Planning and executing training programs for the general public and epidemiological research.
Nutritionists need excellent verbal and written communication skills to maintain good relations with clients.
They should also be persuasive to some extent.
Also, they need a certain level of flexibility and social perceptiveness.
Nutritionists need task and service-oriented personality as well as excellent listening skills.
Judgment and decision-making:
Nutritionists should be able to think critically and learn actively.
They need superior judgment and decision-making skills to choose the best for their clients.
They need a scientific approach.
Nutritionists should be able to consider the benefits and costs of potential actions and choose the one that is most appropriate.
Management and organization:
Nutritionists need excellent time-management and organizational skills to fulfill their duties timely and successfully.
They should also be able to delegate and coordinate tasks.
These professionals also need excellent writing efficiency and reading comprehension.
Nutritionists need advanced educational and instructional skills to efficiently instruct others on how to do something.
They should come up with different learning strategies and have superior problem-solving skills.
Nutritionists should be sensitive to problems.
Decent clarity of speech and fluency of ideas are also essential for this job.
How to Become a Nutritionist
As we discover every day how important a proper diet is for our health and well-being, we need the services of nutritionists more than ever.
Proper nutrition can prevent various diseases and conditions such as diabetes, so the advice of nutritionists on how to keep a healthy diet is essential for the public.
Training and Qualifications
In most states, nutritionists should be licensed.
In other states, they may have only a certification or legislation, while in some states, no regulations concerning the licensing of dietitians exist.
Common requirements for licensure include a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food, dietetics, or another related major.
Nutritionists should also have supervised practice and pass the examination.
The most common nutritionist credential is the RDN, the Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.
This can be a shorter route to becoming a practicing professional since this credential can be a substitute for a license.
There is a Coordinated Program through which one can finish both a bachelor’s degree and a Dietetic Internship Program simultaneously.
Such programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
Nutritionists rarely work for twenty years in the occupation.
When they get certified and work for enough years, they can move to other careers.
So, many benefit from this and switch the career of a nutritionist to something else.
The job and salary of a nutritionist are different from the dietitian.
The vastest different is the paycheck as well as some responsibilities on the job.
Nutritionists have a typical full-time schedule, featuring 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday, 9-5.
Part-time work is also possible.
Sometimes, they may work overtime in the evenings or weekends to see individual clients.
Sports nutritionists may also have to travel much and have long hours while accompanying athletes on training camps and tournaments.
They can also work in hospitals, local health clinics, to GP surgeries.
The nutritionists’ employment rate is expected to grow by 14% by 2026.
This is faster than the national average for all other occupations.
Some of the factors that influence this growth relate to other occupations, while others, to the outside factors and medical advancements.
The occupation of a nutritionist is one of the most sought-after in healthcare and have a rather positive career outlook.
The salary is above the minimum wage and the educational requirements are decent, which makes this job quite attractive.
The salary of nutritionists can go up to $40,000 with bonuses, commissions, overtime, and other additional forms of income.
Those who practice this occupation for more than twenty years can increase their salary to $57,000 per year.
A nutritionist is one of the most sought-after jobs in healthcare and comes with a wide range of responsibilities that are similar to the tasks of dietitians.
However, the two jobs have some vast differences.