Nutritionist Salary

With a growing demand for healthy living, nutritionists and dietitians can earn a good paycheck in this growing field.

How Much Can a Nutritionist Make?

As more and more people realize the importance of proper nutrition to prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health concerns, the demand for good nutritionists will continue to grow.

According to the 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for nutritionists is $56,950 per year.

Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

Your earning potential throughout your career in nutrition will depend partially on variables like where you live and what degree you hold. However, in addition to these factors, your earning potential will also depend on your ability to work hard and to market yourself in your field. A great way to further yourself in your career is to build up a base of clients who know and trust you enough to refer you to friends and family.

Additionally, the nation’s health concerns and growing awareness on the importance of healthy eating will continue to boost earning potential for professionals in the nutrition field.

How Do Nutritionist and Dietitian Salaries Compare?

Natural Health Career Median Annual Salary*
Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides $41,640
Health Educators $42,450
Social Workers $45,500
Recreational Therapists $44,000

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides; Health Educators; Social Workers; Recreational Therapists.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Is There Demand for this Career?

The demand for nutritionists and dietitians is high, and it will continue to grow. The U.S. is in the middle of a large shift regarding attitudes toward nutrition—people are trying to eat healthier, consume smaller portions, and combat the health issues that a poor diet can cause.

Because of this change in attitude, people will continue to seek nutrition advice as an important part of developing better health.

Is This a Growing Field?

Through 2024, employment of nutritionists and dietitians is expected to grow by 16 percent; comparatively, other occupations are predicted to grow by 7 percent. Like any career field, however, it’s important to be aware that national long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions.

How Much Competition Will I Face for a Job?

The level of competition you’ll face for a job will depend on where you live and where you’re applying to. Some areas have a higher demand for nutritionists and dietitians than others, so if there is not a demand for this career in your area, you might consider relocation.

On top of this, where you apply to will impact how much competition you face. For instance, trying to start off as a private practitioner without any previous experience or clientele will be very difficult; you’ll face competition from nutritionists and dietitians who have built up a reputation and a client base in the community already.

For less competition, you might start out working as a part of a team in a hospital or clinical setting. Should you ever want to practice nutrition privately, this is a great way to build a client base and gain experience.

What Kinds of Institutions Hire Nutritionists and Dietitians?

With your degree in nutrition, you might work as a member of a health care team in a hospital or clinical setting. You could also work on a more individual level at an outpatient facility, or even in your own private practice.

Where you decide to work will ultimately depend on your degree level and whether or not you have an interest in working with a particular type of patient or in a specific setting.

How Do I Advance in My Nutrition and Dietetics Career?

In order to advance as a dietitian or nutritionist, the biggest thing you can do is to build up a positive name for yourself and build a solid client base; this will allow you to one day open your own private practice if you like. Or, if you simply want to move on to a smaller, more specialized clinic setting, many clinics will want to know how many clients you’ve worked with—the more, the better.

Another way to advance your career is to work toward an advanced degree. You can study nutrition and dietetics at the master’s level, and earning your master’s in your field of study is always a great way to up your earning potential and credentials.

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