an increasing number of americans are becoming more health conscious and want to adopt better eating and living habits. with national obesity levels going through the roof, individuals are looking to professional experts who can help them improve their eating habits and improve their health. this has put more attention on nutritionists because they have the training to help people with their health.these professionals are highly qualified to advise people on what foods they should eat to get started on a healthier lifestyle. in some specific cases, the individual may have a specific health-related goal, and in other ways, the nutritionist may help the person achieve this goal with healthier eating habits. if you want to know how to become a nutritionist, our guide will help you understand what it takes to enter this profession and what you can expect from this career.
what are a nutritionist's primary duties? what skills do i need?
the main duty of a nutritionist is to evaluate the health of patients and assess their needs. we often eat food without considering the nutritional value we are ingesting. many of us do not know what a balanced diet should consist of, or how we can better plan our meals. the nutritionist's additional roles are that of an information provider. he or she will develop meal plans which provide you with the right kind of nutrients, keeping in mind your particular budget constraints. nutritionists are also expected to use their knowledge to highlight the relationship between healthier eating and preventing or managing various diseases. an ideal candidate for this job should possess good organizational and analytic skills, and should also be good in communicating with people. these skills can also be acquired or sharpened through formal training or on the job training.
becoming a nutritionist is a highly specialized task, and most individuals who work in this field possess at least an undergraduate degree. nutritionists often enroll in areas such as dietetics, food service systems management, or simply food and nutrition degree programs. in the course of their studies, students are taken through topics in nutrition, biology, physiology, and basic chemistry. having a background of taking these subjects in high school may help you when you are taking these courses in college.
in addition to classes you need to take in the degree program, you will also be taken through hundreds of hours of supervised clinical training to sharpen your evaluation and communication skills. these will also help you gain confidence in the professional world. upon completing your studies, you may apply for a license to practice your profession legally in the us. each state may have different requirements for the licensing exam, so you should look into these before enrolling in a program.
pay and job outlook
employment within this profession is expected to grow by about 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, with the median pay for 2010 reported as $53,250. this value will vary depending on the state you are working in, your experience, and your employer. the top 10 percent in this field were earning upwards of $75,000 annually.