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Nutritionist Salary: What You Can Earn in This Growing Field

woman negotiating salary with potential client
nutritionist meeting with client

As the American population continues to learn about how what we consume affects our overall health, the number of people seeking nutritional services has only continued to rise.

Thanks to this increased demand, job opportunities have not only grown in a variety of settings, but salaries have also become increasingly competitive, and a job as a nutritionist can be rewarding personally, professionally, and financially.

While the salary a nutritionist earns depends on a number of factors such as workplace, location, education, and specialization, our guide aims to give you a better understanding of what you might expect to make as you work to improve the lives and health of others.


Salaries Compared by State

If you’re curious to know how the salary stacks up state-wise, compare the median national wages for every state in the U.S.

Dietitians and Nutritionists

National data

Median Salary: $61,650

Projected job growth: 10.7%

10th Percentile: $42,530

25th Percentile: $49,490

75th Percentile: $77,430

90th Percentile: $93,640

Projected job growth: 10.7%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $75,730 $47,410 $97,680
Alabama $59,280 $42,280 $76,430
Arkansas $57,800 $42,920 $77,210
Arizona $60,530 $43,500 $79,340
California $79,340 $47,590 $116,690
Colorado $61,350 $47,150 $91,110
Connecticut $62,170 $47,150 $94,870
District of Columbia $77,810 $47,150 $101,220
Delaware $69,550 $46,980 $87,750
Florida $60,290 $42,290 $79,100
Georgia $48,000 $22,830 $78,380
Hawaii $76,920 $58,000 $97,310
Iowa $60,570 $47,020 $76,920
Idaho $59,540 $35,880 $79,460
Illinois $62,920 $47,150 $79,500
Indiana $59,720 $46,450 $78,230
Kansas $60,450 $47,040 $89,410
Kentucky $59,720 $37,150 $77,740
Louisiana $60,130 $46,980 $77,960
Massachusetts $62,410 $47,210 $99,770
Maryland $69,210 $50,340 $98,820
Maine $60,850 $47,040 $99,770
Michigan $60,180 $45,070 $77,600
Minnesota $62,060 $48,450 $78,690
Missouri $48,980 $43,370 $77,060
Mississippi $46,730 $18,070 $71,120
Montana $60,110 $37,620 $77,210
North Carolina $60,040 $37,310 $78,230
North Dakota $60,490 $47,020 $77,670
Nebraska $60,570 $47,100 $78,220
New Hampshire $63,650 $46,710 $89,150
New Jersey $76,270 $59,280 $94,880
New Mexico $61,090 $45,200 $80,200
Nevada $61,310 $36,900 $78,940
New York $75,000 $48,000 $98,540
Ohio $60,850 $47,230 $78,760
Oklahoma $60,560 $30,180 $77,560
Oregon $74,660 $57,440 $99,220
Pennsylvania $61,650 $45,800 $79,730
Rhode Island $74,970 $38,160 $100,650
South Carolina $59,280 $27,050 $77,560
South Dakota $59,320 $47,020 $97,720
Tennessee $58,550 $23,450 $78,940
Texas $61,350 $37,880 $85,820
Utah $49,860 $29,530 $78,610
Virginia $60,590 $37,560 $85,630
Vermont $61,940 $47,740 $100,660
Washington $70,260 $47,380 $89,710
Wisconsin $60,400 $46,090 $78,940
West Virginia $61,940 $42,090 $87,820
Wyoming $61,220 $33,280 $127,470

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.


Average Salary by Workplace

The setting in which you work can certainly impact the money that you make. Common employers and average salaries offered, courtesy of 2020 BLS figures, are as follows (note, the BLS combines salary information for nutritionists and dietitians):

Employer

Median Annual Salary


Outpatient Care Centers
Plan and prepare nutritional diets and plans for in-home care, rehabilitating patients, or seniors

Median Annual Salary $69,660

Government
Provide nutrition counseling to agencies or food service industries

Median Annual Salary $64,010

Nursing care facility
Collaborate with doctors, nurses, and staff to devise diet plans for patients who are undergoing long-term care or recovery away from the hospital

Median Annual Salary $60,330

General or surgical hospital
Collaborate with the kitchen to provide nutritious meals for patients and visitors, and educate patients and families on ways to improve health through nutrition

Median Annual Salary $63,380

Specialty food service
Design menus, create recipes, and/or test ingredients and products in settings such as restaurants, spas, grocery stores, health food stores, natural pharmacies, and meal delivery services

Median Annual Salary $60,520

Considering Private Practice?

Nutritionists who want the opportunity to be their own boss and work on their own schedule might choose to go into private practice. They’ll provide personal consultations to provide nutritional education, design healthy eating plans, and address topics such as weight loss, eating disorders, muscle gain, and sports improvement.

Salary data can be a bit more difficult to provide as self-employed nutritionists have the option to charge whatever they choose. That said, according to salaries provided on Thumbtack, nutritionists across the country charge an average of around $60–$100 per session. Initial consultations are often more expensive with subsequent sessions being lower. Most nutritionists offer packages that cost less per session the more you buy.

As a private practitioner, staying up to date on industry trends via professional journals, industry newsletters, social media accounts and blogs is imperative to providing superior service.


Where the Best-Paying Nutritionists Jobs Are

Where you live also plays a large part in what you could earn. Of the highest-paying states in 2020, the top 10 included:

1. California: $81,070
2. Alaska: $78,350
3. District of Columbia: $73,150
4. Hawaii: $72,810
5. New Jersey: $72,750

6. Oregon: $71,950
7. New York: $70,070
8. Maryland: $69,860
9. Washington: $67,300
10. Nevada: $64,730

You’ll also find higher salaries in certain major cities and their surrounding metropolitan areas. Nine of the top 10 highest-paying cities in the nation lie in northern or central California.

map of california state

Modesto: $88,160
Vallejo: $84,770
Salinas: $84,370
San Jose: $82,190
San Francisco: $82,160
Sacramento: $79,590
Napa: $77,050
Santa Cruz: $75,100
Visalia: $74,490

Other top-paying locations not in California include:

Kingston, NY: $75,080
Bellingham, WA: $72,900
Portland, Oregon: $72,640
Hawaii Island, HI: $72,400

Maui, HI: $70,820
New York, NY/Newark, NJ: $70,580
Naples, FL: $70,380
Anchorage, AK: $70,100

Don’t see your state? Use the salary widget above to find the median annual salary for the others.


How to Increase Your Earning Potential

Roughly half of all U.S. states require some level of certification or licensing to work as a nutritionist. However, even if yours doesn’t, earning certification can demonstrate to potential clients and employers that you have the knowledge necessary to make a positive impact and the commitment to maintaining the highest standards of the field.

Depending on the certification you want to earn, this could require as little as having a high school diploma and passing an exam or as much as holding a graduate degree and completing 1,000 hours of supervised experience. A graduate degree, whether a master’s or a doctorate, can also increase your earning potential by making you a stronger candidate for a wider variety of roles, including ones within leadership or private practice.

If you’re a busy professional unable to fit a commute and a standardized class schedule into your life, getting your certification or nutrition degree online may be a better option.