A career choice in nutrition can be a fun and exciting career, but you’ll have to put in the work as there are a certain amount of requirements you need to complete in order to be able to have the right amount of success with the profession. There are a variety of questions you may be asking at this point. What type of jobs are available as a nutritionist? How long does it take to become a nutritionist? And where do I begin? The answers below will better help you decide if this is a good career choice for you.
To begin a field in clinical nutrition, students first need a Bachelor’s degree. This Bachelor’s degree needs to be in either dietetics, or it can be an actual degree in clinical nutrition. This Bachelor’s degree lays all the framework for what you are going to need to know having a career in nutrition. Many of the courses included in these degrees consist of coursework with a combination of biology, physiology and organic chemistry. An overall understanding of these subjects and a deeper interest in them will greatly help you during your education. Commonly, internships are a required part of the Bachelor’s degree program as well. Students can be placed with dietitians or even food service programs in order to gain job experience in a variety of fields. During these internships, students learn about ways they can further advance in their careers.
For furthering your education as a nutritionist and opening up new possibilities, both Master’s and Ph.D. programs are available as well. While earning a Master’s, you are most likely to focus in on one subject. This subject could be from a wide variety of options and you commonly start to decide during your Bachelor’s degree which direction you want to take. Many choose to specialize in programs such as sports nutrition, public health or even children’s nutrition. Some of these programs require that you need to be a certified dietitian before you begin. Earning a Ph.D.as a nutritionist can take seven to eight years. Doctoral students in the nutrition field can choose to work in a specific area. Most doctoral programs also require you to write a dissertation.
For more information on education requirements for a Bachelor’s degree, it’s a good idea to look at some of the leading nutrition programs in schools around the country. University of Texas has a an informative page on their site regarding their Bachelor’s degree in nutrition program.
In regards to career options, there are many professional opportunities for nutritionists. For starters, depending on the state you are in, you may have to have certification from the American Dietetic Association. This certification may be required for a variety of jobs. With the proper certification though, hospitals, nursing homes, and many other institutions can hire you either as a dietitian or a nutritionist. Jobs as pharmaceutical sales representatives or researchers are also an option and may be an excellent fit for some. As you advance in your field with additional certification as well as a Master’s degree or Ph.D., medical and office administration careers are available as well as doctorate positions.
There are a variety of a valuable skills nutritionists need to have to be successful in their careers. First being good listeners, as well as communicators, are considered to be almost required skills to have. You are going to take a lot of time learning new information, and then relay that information to others in a way that best make sense to them. You must have excellent social skills to truly be successful. Having an ability to use logic and reasoning, as well as having good time management is recommended as well.