Becoming a nutritionist provides you a wide field of opportunities with a quite a few majors to choose from. An educated nutritionist can work in many fields from sports to education to nutrition counseling among other specifications. Earning a Bachelor’s degree is your best bet in making a decent living, but there are more opportunities to those who continue towards a Master’s Degree. Nevertheless, a Bachelor’s will allow you to earn a good paying job in the field for the most part.
If you plan on working in locations such as public schools, nursing homes, cafeterias, small businesses, or being self-employed, a Bachelor’s degree is normally required (or highly recommended). Four of the most common majors for undergraduates are dietetics, clinical nutrition, food & nutrition, and food service systems management. Some recommended classes to take would include any of the following:
- Food Science
- Nutrition Education
- Food Service Administration
- Lifecycle Nutrition
- Nutrition Counseling
- Medical Nutrition Therapy
- Dietary Systems Management
- Community Nutrition
Upon finishing up your degree you will need to complete a certification or license depending on the state you live in. This will require an internship and exam.
This will require a full six years of courses and training in the field of nutrition. Some popular advanced degrees include holistic nutrition, medical nutrition, and sports nutrition. A Master’s will open more doors and more opportunities to earn a higher salary. You can of course be self-employed with a Masters but you would in most cases be able to earn a lot more in a specialized nutritionist position where the barrier to entry is much tougher.
It’s highly recommended to obtain professional registration through the American Dietetic Association. This is an important part of becoming a nutritionist as you will be able to tell your customers or potential employer that you are not only certified but also registered. This will require you to complete a degree, complete a state exam, and finish up an internship working for various companies that will allow you to learn about becoming a part of the food service system management, community nutrition, or clinical nutrition.
There are other types of majors you may consider when becoming a nutritionist:
- Biochemistry – you will find chemistry related jobs and pharmacies to name a few.
- Medical Nutrition Therapy – this allows you to work in hospitals and clinics.
- Public Health and Education – jobs in schools and recreation centers can be found with this major.
- Molecular Toxicology – you can work in the field of community and environmental health such as food and drug testing.
- Life Cycle Nutrition – working in hospitals, assistant living, and colleges are places you can work with this major.
All of these choices will allow you to work for a public facility or a private business. Either way, you will have many opportunities to find the type of job that you really want as there are literally dozens of ways to branch out once your education is complete.