Dietitian or Nutritionist

Pros


  • The work in this field is related to something all humans are interested in: food.
  • You will be helping people with their dietary choices to help them live more healthful lives.
  • This is a career for someone who has an interest in science, as you will need to know the nutritional properties of a broad spectrum of foods.

Cons

  • You will spend a lot of time consulting people to change their dietary habits. Often these habits are very difficult to break.
  • A good portion of time will be spent on your feet.
  • Often dietitians and nutritionists must spend time in large commercial kitchens that are loud and hot.

Overview

Dietitians and nutritionists are people who are experts about food and their nutritional properties. They spend their time educating people about making the right dietary choices in their daily lives, from what to buy at the grocery store to methods involving the preparation and cooking of food. These choices can help affect the people they consult with by allowing them to lead healthier lifestyles.

It is important to note that this field requires that one keep up to date regarding the latest developments in health and science to best help people make the best choices, so a portion of time must be spend keeping abreast of news. Many people simply are unable to make the right diet choices simply because they don’t know where to get the right information and they usually do not have the ability to keep up to speed on new developments. This is where dietitians’ and nutritionists’ skills become very useful.

The work that dietitians and nutritionists provide is beneficial for preventive health purposes, and as such many of them work in clinical settings such as hospitals, nursing homes or medical practices. Along with educating people about healthy choices they can make when they eating, some dietitians and nutritionists spend their time planning meals for others in institutional or corporate settings, making sure that the people who dine on food in theses places are getting the proper nutrition that they need. Other work that dietitians and nutritionists may do include preparing educational literature, helping set sanitary standards and issuing analytical reports.

Education

Dietitians and nutritionists need to at least complete a bachelor’s degree. There are several different majors one could choose that would lead them to the nutrition field, such as nutrition, food service management or public health. Students who take classes in these fields can expect course work relating to microbiology, chemistry and physiology. Those who wish to administrate in a public health organization may want to consider completing a master’s degree in the field. Once a degree is obtained, many dietitians and nutritionists will need to be properly licensed, which is required in 32 states.

Job Prospects

Because large organizations understand that preventive health is much more efficient and cost effective than treating serious health problems after they develop, the demand for dietitians and nutritionists is expected to grow. However, unlike some other health-related fields they will only experience average growth. Nevertheless, there are such a diverse set of organizations looking for dietitians and nutritionists to help them with their healthy lifestyle initiatives that there will be good jobs available for years to come.

Advancement Opportunities

To advance in the nutrition field is possible after gaining some experience. Often times dietitians and nutritionists will be offered management positions to help enforce health policies. Others wills start their own businesses to help people with their food choices through different mediums such as the internet or telephone. Some will take more lucrative jobs in different sectors while utilizing their experience, becoming salespeople or helping to launch new food products for corporations.