What can I do with a Nutrition degree?

CLINICAL

AREAS

Clinical Nutrition

EMPLOYERS

Hospitals
Health centers and clinics
Home health providers
Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)
Nursing homes
Residential care centers
Dialysis centers
Diabetes care clinics
Exercise and fitness centers

STRATEGIES

Volunteer in hospitals or nursing homes to gain experience working with patients or the elderly. Plan to earn the Hospital Registered Dietitian credential. Several years experience and possibly a graduate degree are required for specialties such as pediatrics, gerontology, sports, or critical care.

COMMUNITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITION

AREAS

Health Promotion
Education
Program Planning and Implementation
Administration
Counseling
Consultation

EMPLOYERS

Public and home health agencies
Social service agencies
Community centers
Federal, state, and local government
Daycare centers
Health and recreation clubs
Health maintenance organizations (HMO's)

STRATEGIES

Gain extensive clinical experience before pursuing public health. Earn a master's degree for more opportunities. Seek experiences in the public health arena. Learn government application procedures. Develop strong presentation and public speaking skills. Learn to work well with all types of people.

FOOD SERVICE MANAGEMENT

AREAS

Menu Planning
Budgeting
Purchasing
Food Preparation
Personnel Management

EMPLOYERS

Hospitals
Schools
Colleges and universities
Company cafeterias
Correctional facilities
Camps
Restaurants
Hotels

STRATEGIES

Obtain work experience in any large-scale food service operation such as campus cafeterias. Take business courses and develop strong computer skills.
Seek supervisory roles to gain experience.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

AREAS

Clinical Dietetics
Nutrition Education and Teaching
Administration
Research

EMPLOYERS

Army
Navy
Air Force
NASA (National Aeronautics & Space Administration)
US Public Health Service: Indian Health Service, Food & Drug Administration, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control, Bureau of Health Care and Delivery, National Institutes of Health
US Department of Agriculture: WIC (Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children)
Veterans Administration Hospitals
Peace Corps and VISTA

STRATEGIES

Learn federal government application procedures. Earn a Master's degree for advancement in research or administration. Pursue internships in government agencies. Maintain a strong grade point average.

CONSULTING

AREAS

Diet Counseling
Education and Programming
Writing

EMPLOYERS

Private practice
Physicians' offices
Weight loss clinics
Nursing homes
Health clubs and spas
Restaurants
Catering services
Food manufacturers
Sports teams
Health-related magazines and Internet sites
Newspapers

STRATEGIES

Gain experience and expertise in a specialty area of nutrition. Earn additional certifications in fields such as fitness or athletic training. Find a need in the community and fill it. An entrepreneurial spirit is required! Be prepared to work in several areas at one time. Develop excellent written and verbal communication skills. Learn how to promote oneself.

INDUSTRY

AREAS

Research
Product Development
Sensory Evaluation
Quality Assurance
Marketing
Sales
Customer Service
Consumer Food Science

EMPLOYERS

Food manufacturers
Pharmaceutical companies
Health-related businesses
Weight loss programs
Restaurant and hotel chains
Public relations firms with food industry accounts

STRATEGIES

Supplement curriculum with courses in business administration, marketing, or advertising. Develop strong written and verbal communication skills. Gain computer expertise. Seek leadership roles in campus organizations.

TEACHING

AREAS

Teaching
Research

EMPLOYERS

Colleges and universities
Community and technical schools
Nursing, medical, and dental schools
Teaching hospitals
Medical centers
Government agencies
Food and pharmaceutical companies

STRATEGIES

Earn a master's degree for instructor positions or a doctorate for tenure track professorships. Earn a graduate degree for advancement in research positions.
Gain research experience by assisting professors. Develop strong communication skills.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Most positions require the Registered Dietitian (RD) credential. Become an RD through an accredited bachelor's or master's program followed by an approved, supervised internship. The Registration Examination for Dietitians is also required.

Some states require licensure or certification to practice dietetics.

One should enjoy helping people and working with healthcare professionals and have an interest in good health, nutrition, and fitness.

Scientific aptitude is required to successfully earn a degree in nutrition. Basic sciences play a large role in nutrition.

The ability to work independently and as part of a team is important in this field.

Clients may be seen individually or in groups. Learn the fundamentals of human relations and group dynamics.

Effective communication skills are important.

Develop interviewing and counseling techniques.

Over half of dietitians and nutritionists work in hospitals, nursing homes, or physicians' offices.

Research, public health, and advanced clinical positions require a graduate degree.

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