Nutritionist Programs and Careers Q&A

What careers can I pursue with a nutritionist or dietitian degree?

For someone with a degree in nutrition, a popular job option is nutritional consulting for integrated clinics or in a solo practice setting.

Besides this, other nutritionists might teach, conduct research for whole foods or supplements companies, or write books on nutrition. Dietitians often enter into more specialized careers, like family nutrition therapy, sports nutrition and home nutrition consultation. Learn about your career options.

What degree programs will I take?

The degree programs you’ll take depend entirely on what career path you want to pursue upon graduating. The most common degree path for someone who is pursuing a career in nutrition or dietetics is a bachelor’s degree. Upon earning your bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to obtain your license (depending on what state you’re in) and then you can begin practicing nutrition or dietetics. For those who wish to practice at an advanced level, teach nutrition classes or practice as a dietitian in a hospital setting, a master’s degree can also be earned. Read about degree programs and curriculum.

What can I expect after I submit a request for information to a school?

After you request more information from a program or school, they’ll contact you to talk about opportunities and courses that interest you. You should use this time to get answers to all your questions about nutrition or dietetics school. Feel free to ask any questions you might have about curriculum, instructors, accreditation, financial aid, and more. The answers you get will help you ultimately choose the program that’s right for you.

Is financial aid available for nutrition school?

Financial aid can come from a number of sources, but your financial aid will vary by program. If you enroll in an accredited program, you may be able to qualify for government financial aid. Other types of financial aid include scholarships, grants, private loans and PLUS loans.

What types of courses will I take?

Nutrition coursework will cover topics such as biology, chemistry, biochemistry and nutritional sciences. If you choose to specialize in a certain area, like children’s nutrition, your classes will also include coursework specific to your specialization.

Is it better to work for myself or an employer?

Most nutritionists choose to work for an employer rather than be self-employed. The benefits to working in a hospital, doctor’s office or other facility are structured hours and medical benefits. On the other hand, if you build a strong reputation for yourself, being self-employed can sometimes yield a greater salary and hours of your choosing. Your personality will also factor in to whether you’d succeed as a self-employed nutritionist. Find out what types of traits you need.

If I work for myself, what else will I need to learn?

If you take the self-employment route, you should take classes in business administration and accounting in order to keep books, manage payroll and keep up on health insurance policy. If you plan on hiring employees you’ll want to take some courses in management or human resources.

Does school program accreditation matter for nutritionist careers?

Attending an accredited nutrition school is important for a number of reasons. Potential employers will look for nutritionists with a degree from one of the regional accreditation boards, such as the Higher Learning Commission. If you plan to focus on one type of nutrition, you should look for programs that are accredited by an organization related to the specialization.

What type of licensing (if any) will I need?

Each state has their own licensing requirements for nutritionists, with some states stricter than others. Check with your state board to find out what you’ll need to do to become licensed.

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