A career as a nutritionist would likely find you working in hospital, as 32 percent of them do, according to May 2011 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nutritionists offer vital services like developing diet plans and helping people prevent or overcome illnesses. Nutritionists also consult with doctors, monitor food service operations and perform administrative duties. This profession is likely to suit you best if you are organized, enjoy working with people and have excellent communication skills.
Average Salary & Benefits
U.S. nutritionists made an average salary of $55,460 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent earned over $76,400 annually. Your salary as a nutritionist in 2011 would likely fall in the $43,670 to $66,560 range, as half of them do. Where you start out salary wise is largely determined by your employer or geographic area. Benefits typically include medical insurance, paid time off and retirement plans, if you are among the 80 percent who work full time.
Salary by Industry
A career as a nutritional consultant pays the most money in this field. These folks, employed by food corporations or pharmaceutical firms, for example, earned $72,580 annually, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics' data. The federal government paid the second highest salaries at $69,020 per year. An income working in a doctor's office or nursing home would be slightly above the national average, as nutritionists in these settings earned $57,350 and $56,220 per year, respectively. And those in general medical and surgical hospitals made $55,240 annually.
Salary by Region
You may consider moving to Maryland or Nevada to earn the most money as a nutritionist. They made $77,400 and $70,100 per year, respectively, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Income is also relatively high in California at $66,690. Salaries in Florida were a little more average at $56,770 annually. And Ohio nutritionists made $49,570 per year.
Education and Training
You must have a penchant for science as a nutritionist, as courses in chemistry and biology are mandatory. Nutritionists usually have bachelors' degrees in food and nutrition or food service management. From there, you would likely train under a licensed nutritionist to learn all the policies and procedures in the field. The final step is securing a state license through the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics or ACEND.
The field of nutrition is promising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects an increase of 20 percent in these jobs between 2010 and 2020. This rate of growth is faster than most occupations. An increased interest in health and wellness has spurred growth in this occupation. More people are seeking ways to avoid diabetes or heart disease, which are directly linked to proper nutrition. Also, an aging population increases demand for those working in nursing homes or elderly care.
2016 Salary Information for Dietitians and Nutritionists
Dietitians and nutritionists earned a median annual salary of $58,920 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, dietitians and nutritionists earned a 25th percentile salary of $47,200, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $71,840, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 68,000 people were employed in the U.S. as dietitians and nutritionists.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Dieticians and Nutritionists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Dietitians and Nutritionists
- CareerPlanner.com: Dietician and Nutritionist
- StateUniversity.com: Dietitian and Nutritionist Job Description, Career as a Dietitian and Nutritionist, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Dietitians and Nutritionists
- Career Trend: Dietitians and Nutritionists