There are several main ways people can learn how to become a nutritionist. While anyone can work as a nutrition educator, a registered dietitian is possible through certain degrees and tests. This degree is somewhat similar to a nursing degree, and can be completed in a few years.
In order to be a nutritionist, a four year degree in nutrition is the best option. Most colleges offer a degree in nutrition which can be completed in four years. This degree has basic requirements as well as higher-level science and biology courses such as biochemistry, organic chemistry, and clinical nutrition classes.
After a four-year degree, nutritionists will often begin working with local companies, health departments, and gyms, providing nutrition education and expertise.
In order to be a certified nutritionist, a 10-month internship has to be completed. Each year, anyone with a nutrition degree can apply for an approved internship through a computer matching program. There are thousands of possible internships approved and most dietitians can receive one.
These internships include community-based work as well as rotations in a hospital or clinical setting. After completion of an internship, nutritionists are eligible to take the dietitian exam which is offered periodically throughout the year. Once this has been passed, dietitians are given the title “Registered dietitian.” This certification must be registered with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Although becoming a registered dietitian is not required for many positions, it is recommended for a higher starting salary. Nutritionists are often hired by hospitals as clinical dietitians, and approximately half of the dietitians today work in a hospital setting.
However, there are also many positions available for individuals who may not be interested in a hospital. Many health departments will hire nutritionists to work with nutrition education.
These positions often involve teaching nutrition lessons in local schools or creating nutrition education materials. For anyone who enjoys working with children, this is a great area.
Other possible areas of work for nutritionists are research, public policy, sales, and community-based positions. Nutrition is an extremely broad field which provides jobs in many areas. Corporate wellness is a growing field and most nutritionists working in this area don’t have to be certified.
For anyone who is interested in learning more about the field of nutrition, the education of a nutritionist, and possible careers in this field, a great resource is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The site at eatright.org provides multiple resources for students and professionals who are either working in this field, or looking for jobs in this area. Nutritionists can effectively network with each other as well as find resources in their area. An excellent site for more information, almost everyone working in the nutrition field is a member of this site.
These are a few ways on how to become a nutritionist. Working in this field is a great career for anyone interested in food and nutrition. There are hundreds of career possibilities in nutrition ranging from public health to clinically-based work.