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What To Do With A Degree In Nutrition

By David Krug 13 minute read

Longevity and good health are influenced by a variety of factors, but a person’s dietary habits are one that can be easily altered. A person’s health and well-being can be improved by eating the right foods in the right amounts for the right people.

These so-called “blue zones” are prime examples. National Geographic writer Dan Buettner coined the term to describe a small number of places around the world where people live significantly longer and healthier lives than the average.

Blue zones are thought to be the result of many factors, but one of the most important is the diets of the people who live in them.

In contrast to “blue zones,” in which a rich cultural heritage has helped to create conditions for citizens to live long, healthy lives, America is currently experiencing unprecedented rates of obesity and poor diet-related health outcomes.

However, nutrition isn’t just about extending your life. When it comes to enhancing athletic performance, healing illnesses holistically, creating new food products, or aiding those suffering from eating disorders, nutrition can play a critical role.

Nutritional thinking is critical if you’ve been impacted by the positive effects of eating healthfully, mindfully, and with knowledge.

Fortunately for you, a growing number of prestigious colleges and universities are now offering nutrition-related degrees. As a result, there are more jobs in nutrition than ever before.

Is it possible to get a degree in nutrition?

If you’re interested in nutrition, you’ll need to know a few things first.

To begin, becoming a nutritionist can be accomplished through a variety of routes. In a variety of settings, nutritionists use their expertise in a variety of ways. If you want to work in the field of nutrition, there are numerous degrees that can help you achieve that goal. The following are examples of degree types most commonly used to become a nutritionist:

  • Science of Food and Nutrition
  • Science of Food
  • Nutrition in Health Care
  • Nutrition in Public Health Care
  • Nutrition for athletes
  • Nutritional Education and Counseling
  • Dietetics
  • “Whole-Health” Medicine

A nutritionist’s career can be bolstered by any of the above degrees. These positions can help you become registered dieticians, but they are not all necessary. Nutritionists and dietitians are two different professions, and we’ll get into that later, but for now, just know that all of them are nutritionists.

A bachelor’s degree in one of the above fields, as well as completion of a supervised internship, are typically required for registration as a dietician or nutritionist in most states. If you want to work as a nutritionist or a dietician, you’ll need more than just an undergraduate degree.

Courses in nutrition are required in the following areas:

  • Nutrition and Food Science
  • Human Progress
  • Physiology and Anatomy
  • Microbiology
  • Systems for the delivery of healthcare
  • Statistics
  • Diet and the Cycle of Life
  • Information Exchange and Food Consumption
  • Applied Psychology in the Workplace
  • In organic chemistry,
  • The Role of Diet in Health and Disease
  • Analyses of Dietary Needs
  • In addition, there are a number of optional classes.

There is a wide range of topics covered in general nutrition degrees, including psychology, education and communication; human anatomy; basic health care; chemistry; quantitative understanding; and nutrition.

Bachelor’s degrees in nutrition are available in either the liberal arts or the sciences, depending on your preference. As far as master’s degrees go, there is a wide range of degree options available. It is possible to earn a doctorate in philosophy or science in nutrition from a university that offers these doctoral-level programs. Both are doctoral degrees that prepare students to teach and conduct research at the university level.

Where Do Nutritionists Go to Work?

Clinical dietitians, management dieticians, and community dieticians are the three main types of nutritionists. A lot depends on what kind of nutrition you study in school and what kind of certification or license you get. In the following sections, you will find descriptions and examples of the work environments for the three types of nutritionists and dieticians.

Clinicians who specialize in nutrition work in the field of clinical dietetics. Hospitals, long-term care facilities, mental health clinics, and other institutions employ clinical dieticians. Working with other medical professionals is common for clinical dieticians, the majority of whom have advanced degrees. Individuals and groups under the care of a specific institution are the primary focus of clinical dietitians’ work. Clinical dieticians often narrow their focus even further in order to better serve patients who are suffering from a particular disease or condition.

It is the job of management dieticians to devise and implement a company’s meal plans. They can be found in cafeterias and schools as well as large corporations and food manufacturers. In addition to ensuring that a healthy diet is being served, these dietitians also oversee the purchasing of ingredients and the creation of menus and food products.

Educating the general public or a specific segment of the population about nutrition is a primary goal of community dieticians’ work. Dieticians in the community can work in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, government agencies, consulting firms, and non-profit organizations. Some community nutritionists may have a particular focus. Some community dieticians specialize in a specific population, such as pregnant women, elementary school children, or families with children who have special needs.

Dieticians in other roles can work in a wide range of environments. Today, the United States is facing an unprecedented crisis in nutrition and an unprecedented amount of knowledge about how specific diets can affect our health, brain, and lifestyle. Other dietetic roles include consulting, self-employment, roles in the media and online, and research positions.. Many nutritionists and dieticians work in academia and research as well. These nutritionists typically hold Ph.D. or Sc.D. degrees and work in academic institutions.

What is the Future of Nutritionists’ Careers?

In the United States, the population is getting older. It is becoming more common for Americans to be overweight or diabetic. As a result, an increasing number of Americans are afflicted with an eating disorder.

Nutritionists and dieticians will be in high demand in the coming years as a result of this trend. Most Western countries are on the same page when it comes to economic trends.

Approximately 70,000 people work as nutritionists and dieticians in the United States right now. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this number is expected to rise by 15% over the next decade, significantly faster than the average for all occupations.

There is an average salary of $59,410 per year for nutritionists and dieticians ($28.56/hour). However, this number varies greatly based on the role of the nutritionist and the city in which they work.

Nutritionists can expect to earn the most money in the following states:

  • California: $72,130.
  • 68310 dollars are allocated to Alaska.
  • Amount: $67,820
  • $68,800 in New Jersey
  • Connecticut: 67.270 US Dollars

(State: Average Earnings)

While the top five most lucrative cities for nutritionists are as follows:

  • Nearly $100,000 a year in Amarillo, Texas
  • Modesto, California:
  • Fairfield-Valley, California: $84,640
  • Salinas, California
  • Texas: $80,560 Waco, TX

Depending on the location of work, nutritionists’ salaries and wages can also vary greatly. Nutritionists can expect to make the most money working in the following places:

  • Creating and Processing Animal Feed: $80,210
  • President of the United States: $72,610
  • $69,860 for wholesalers
  • Sixty-eight thousand dollars
  • Scientific Research: $67,544.20

When it comes to the most common places of employment for nutritionists, the average salary is:

  • $61,280 for medical and surgical facilities of all type
  • Amount: $66,250
  • Care in a nursing home: $58,200
  • excluding schools and hospitals, the local government budget is $52,290
  • $58,600 for specialized catering services

As a general rule, the growth of similar careers is seen as a sign of the health of an industry. Health educators, community health workers, nurses, and rehabilitation counselors all have similar job titles that are growing in popularity, as do nutritionists and dieticians.

Are Nutritionists and Dieticians the Same Thing?

We’ve already discussed nutritionists and dieticians alike in this article. While both of these job titles have a similar educational path and expectations, they aren’t exactly the same. The distinction between nutritionists and dietitians can be summarized as follows:

There are some legal distinctions between nutritionists and dieticians, even though they both have similar duties and work in the same industry.

The Commission on Dietetic Registration only accepts applications from registered dieticians (CDR). Registered dietitians must follow a set of ethical and procedural guidelines when working with clients on food-related issues after completing the requirements to become registered.

When it comes to working with clients, the term “nutritionist” is used loosely because there isn’t a specific path to becoming one of these health professionals. Anyone can claim to be a nutritionist, but only those who are registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration can claim to be registered dieticians.

To work in a medical setting, diagnose eating disorders, or plan meals for those with more severe illnesses, you may need to become a registered dietician.

To become a registered dietician, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Obtain a bachelor’s degree from an ACEND-approved institution.
  • Utilize an ACEND-approved program to amass at least 1,000 hours of supervised training
  • Become a Certified Drug Regulator
  • Maintain your registration by completing required hours of continuing education.

The Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists also offers a certification process for nutritionists (CBNS). A master’s or doctoral degree in nutrition is required for this certification, as is 1,000 hours of supervised work experience.

How can we define food science?

A degree in food science can prepare you for work as a nutritionist or for the title of “food scientist.” Nutritionists and dieticians, on the other hand, tend to focus more on the nutritional aspects of food.

More food scientists than nutritionists or dieticians are employed by food manufacturers, conducting research on school lunches, or promoting public health because of this focus.

Nutrition Education and Training Requires a Specific Set of Competencies

Nutritionists, in addition to having a thorough understanding of nutrition and a strong interest in the field, must also possess a special set of abilities in order to succeed in their education and career. The following are some of the skills that nutritionists use to their advantage, both in school and practice.

  • Working one-on-one with others to implement behavioral change Nutritionists often find themselves in a position that falls somewhere between a medical practitioner, a caseworker, and an educator. As a result, you will need a special set of skills to help you better inform, comprehend, and encourage clients to alter their behavior.
  • Nutritionists must be able to communicate complex scientific findings in an understandable manner. It is imperative that practitioners stay abreast of the most recent findings in the field of nutrition. Clients and colleagues need to be able to understand the often-complicated scientific concepts they’re dealing with.
  • Nutritionists need to be able to multitask. Clients expect nutritionists and dieticians to conduct nutritional research, communicate with them, present findings, prepare and carry out logistical aspects of meal planning, and listen to their concerns.
  • Have a solid science background, or be willing to work on it. Numerous mathematics courses are also required for nutrition degree programs, including anatomiy and pathology; chemistry; biology; and a variety of nutrition-related courses. To become a nutritionist or dietician, students should be prepared to study these subjects at the college level..

Are There Online Nutrition Programs?

Many prospective students wonder if they can still get their degree online, as they do with many other degrees that require in-person, supervised practice in order to obtain licensure. Online degrees in nutrition and related fields are readily available. DegreeQuery has already ranked a wide variety of online bachelor’s in nutrition degrees.

There are a variety of reasons to think about earning your degree online. Many adult, working, or non-traditional students find online degrees to be more flexible and supportive. Online classes have the added benefit of reducing travel time and eliminating the need to relocate. Online support services, such as counseling, tutoring, office hours, libraries, and even laboratories, have grown in popularity as online education has developed.

And the best part? No one can tell that you earned your degree entirely online. All online and on-campus degrees from accredited institutions are the same. Once they’ve completed their training, aspiring dieticians and nutritionists can work under the supervision of an experienced professional in a location that suits their schedules.

Do I Really Need a Degree in Nutrition?

There are a variety of degrees (and degree levels) available to those who want to work in the nutrition or dietetics fields.

With supervised practice and passing a licensing exam, a bachelor’s degree is the “entry-level” degree in nutrition and dietetics. There are many roles that require advanced degrees, such as research, teaching and leadership in nutrition, clinical and private practice.

We’ll take a look at all of the nutrition-related degrees that are commonly offered at various levels of education, as well as some related degrees that may help you reach your career goals in nutrition.

Degrees in Nutrition at the Undergraduate Level

Those who want to work in the nutrition field need to get a bachelor’s degree in nutrition science, clinical nutrition, or simply nutrition first. It is typical for bachelor’s degrees to require 120 semester credit hours of coursework to be completed.

In the first year of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, students will focus on general education. These classes are not meant to teach students about nutrition, but rather to give them a well-rounded college education. Writing, reasoning, speaking, and knowledge are all emphasized in these courses.

Common general education courses include introductory math/science/writing/literature/humanities/social-science courses, as well as a wide range of courses in the arts. It’s not uncommon for students to design their general education curriculum around a specific set of academic interests. The sociology of meals could be taken for a social sciences requirement, or food supply ethics could be taken for a humanities requirement in a nutrition degree.

A bachelor’s degree in nutrition typically requires students to have completed their general education requirements.

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Sociology 101: An Overview
  • Psychology I: The Basics
  • Anthropology: A Brief Introduction
  • Chemistry in its broadest sense
  • Biochemistry
  • In organic chemistry
  • Science of Food
  • Supply Chain Management in Agriculture and Food Production
  • Inquiry into Nutritional and Health Issues
  • Counseling and education in nutrition
  • Healthy Eating Throughout Your Life
  • Management of the Food Service and Production Industry
  • In-Depth Nutrition for Humans
  • The Nutritional Care Plan
  • Nutritional Therapy
  • Socially Conscious Eating
  • Nutrition as a Means to Prevent and Treat Disease
  • Nutritional Concerns of the Day

At least one course in nutrition is required for undergraduates to cover the major areas of nutrition: clinical, community, and food management. With a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and at least 1,000 hours of supervised work experience in one of these fields, you can pursue a career in any of the major areas of nutrition.

Do you think a bachelor’s degree in nutrition would be of interest to you? Don’t miss DegreeQuery’s list of top nutrition bachelor’s degree programs.

Degrees in Nutrition for Advanced Study

Nutrition students can specialize at the master’s level. Students with a master’s degree in nutrition may be able to find work in fields such as functional medicine, sports nutrition, or nutrition for a specific illness.

It takes an average of two years to complete a master’s degree in nutrition with 40 semester hours of coursework. The following are some of the core courses in a master’s degree in nutrition:

  • Advocacy and Leadership in Nutrition
  • Counseling in Nutrition
  • Nutritional Biochemistry: An Overview
  • Nutritional Science Research Based on Evidence
  • Evaluating Your Diet and Exercise
  • Nutritional Therapy for Medical Conditions
  • A thesis or capstone project in a specific field of study

Students typically pursue one of the following specializations after completing their foundational coursework:

  • Generalist
  • Socially Conscious Eating
  • Nutrition in Health Care
  • Education in nutrition
  • Management of Food
  • Nutrition for athletes
  • Nutritional Therapy
  • Counseling in Nutrition
  • As well as

Nutrition Doctoral Degrees

One of the most common doctoral degrees in nutrition is a doctor of philosophy in nutrition (PhD) (or related degrees).

As research doctorates, PhDs prepare students to conduct their own research and to teach at the university level, one of their primary objectives. Graduates are under no obligation to seek employment in academia or research as a result of their education. Rather, it is that graduates of nutrition Ph.D. programs are at the forefront of nutrition science research in a specific area.

Ph.D. nutrition programs frequently require more than 100 credit hours of coursework, culminating in a dissertation of original research in the field of nutrition that can be several hundred pages long.

All Ph.D. specializations must complete a set of core courses. The following are examples of required doctoral-level coursework:

  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Authentic Investigation
  • Methods of Study
  • Statistics for Graduates
  • Macronutrients
  • Micronutrients
  • Food Consumption

A student’s concentration is often narrowed to a single subject. Nutrition Ph.D. students may choose to focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • Molecule-based Diet
  • Nutrition for Humans
  • Education in nutrition
  • Nutrition in Health Care
  • Disease-specific nutrition
  • For a specific age group
  • Nutrition for athletes
  • As well as

The Ph.D. degree in nutrition can also be obtained from related degrees such as allied health, public health, and integrative health. It is possible to learn about nutrition from a specific angle while still getting a thorough understanding of the subject matter.

Degrees in Nutritional Sciences

Many nutrition-related degrees can be used to obtain certification as a certified nutritionist or registered dietician, as we’ve discussed several times in this article. Check out our guide to the top 50 degree types in medicine for a more in-depth look at nutrition-related degree options. In the following section, we’ll compare and contrast nutrition-related degrees of study.

Degrees in Food Science and Technology

The logistics of implementing dietary plans or creating food products are at the heart of food science. Courses in food science that are closely related to the title of “managing nutritionist” include the following:

  • Chemistry
  • Calculus
  • Biology
  • Healthy Eating and Physical Well-Being
  • A Brief Introduction to the Science of Food
  • Physics
  • Microbiology
  • Microeconomics
  • Food Science
  • Microbiology of food
  • An analysis of food’s quality and safety
  • Sanitation of Food Plants
  • Product Development for the Food Industry
  • Aspects of Nutritional Security
  • Food Science and Engineering
  • Engineering Statistics

Healthcare-Related Diplomas

A concentration in nutrition is available in some allied health degrees. It is possible to work in a wide range of health care settings with an allied health degree, which is a multidisciplinary health degree. The majority of allied health degree holders don’t work directly with patients, but rather in a variety of support and research positions. Research facilities, hospitals, social service agencies, non-profits, and educational institutions are just some of the places where you might find work. An allied health degree’s core curriculum may include courses such as the following:

  • Management of Health Services
  • Financial Management of the Health Care System
  • Healthcare Law and Policy
  • Ethics in Health Care
  • Systems for the delivery of health care
  • A selection of optional courses or a specific area of study

Students who choose to specialize in nutrition as part of their allied health degree can go on to hold positions in management, support, nutrition research, or as management nutritionists.

Degrees in Holistic and Complementary Medicine

Studies in holistic health integrate modern science with holistic health knowledge. Herbal and non-traditional medicine, as well as alternative therapies like aromatherapy, all play a role in holistic health. Integrative health includes nutrition, but not all of it. As a result, graduates of integrative health programs are well-suited to the broader category of nutritionist that provides assistance in many areas of life, rather than registered dietician (who focus primarily on food).

Bachelor’s degree programs in integrative health may include courses like these:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Botany
  • Aesthetics and Environmental Studies
  • Health of the Individual and the Community
  • Physiology and Anatomy
  • Psychiatry of Health
  • Methods of Study
  • Aromatherapy
  • Chemistry of Aromatherapy
  • Herbal Research
  • Nutrition
  • Supply Chain Management in Agriculture and Food Production
  • Courses in Business and Management

David Krug