Taking A Career In Nutrition: 5 Pros, Cons, Opportunities, And Outlook

Taking A Career In Nutrition: 5 Pros, Cons, Opportunities, And Outlook

Nutritionists play a vital role in keeping individuals healthy. In some cases, they develop a food plan with the dietitian to help enhance patients’ health conditions. Nutritionists may also assist schools in ensuring that students follow a proper diet. Likewise, they may provide individual counseling or become fitness instructors.

With all these possibilities, it’s clear that obtaining a certificate in nutrition opens several career pathways, and you can take whichever specialization you want. If this resonates with you, read on to discover the upsides and downsides of being a nutritionist. You’ll also learn more about these health professionals’ career opportunities and outlooks. However, let’s talk about the difference between nutritionists and dietitians first.

Difference Between Dietitians and Nutritionists

Most people may think that these two professions are the same. The terms ‘dietitians’ and ‘nutritionists’ are often used interchangeably. Legally speaking, there are differences between these two, though.

Dietitians are technically nutritionists with a specialization. A registered dietitian’s title has to pass accreditation from the country’s professional board, for instance, the Commission on Dietetic Registration in the United States or the Health & Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom. As such, it’s legally protected. Before this certification, the practitioner shall have obtained a four-year nutritionist-dietitian degree course and taken internships, training, and a licensure exam.

Although you need education and skills to be a nutritionist, there are no strict regulations about the title. Most states require nutritionists to have certifications, but anyone who possesses relevant education, experience, and skills can call themselves a nutritionist. In most cases, a professional body also regulates the accreditation of nutrition specialists.

All dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are dietitians.

The Pros Of A Career In Nutrition

Now that you know the difference between these two professional titles let’s find out why a career in nutrition is a rewarding choice.

  1. You Get To Help People

Some people have an innate desire to help. If you’re one of them, a career in nutrition may be for you. As a nutritionist, you help ensure that your clients eat a balanced and healthy meal by recommending a Mediterranean diet and similar dietitian-approved healthy diets. We all know that eating well can boost your health and well-being. Thanks to nutritionists, an individual with a sound mind can live a fuller and healthier life.

  1. You Can Work Without A Bachelor’s Degree In Nutrition

Although nutritionists don’t need to earn the same qualifications and credentials as dietitians, it doesn’t mean they’re less qualified. The state and other bodies still regulate the profession by offering certifications for short-term training courses. Many schools and professional associations provide certificates for nutritionists wanting to specialize in sports and other specialized nutrition programs.

  1. It Provides A Rewarding Career With Good Earning Potential

Money isn’t the sole reason for motivation, but it’s a vital consideration when choosing a career. Besides opting for the job you’d like to have, it may also interest you to find out that nutritionists earn decent pay. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) recent survey, nutritionists earn an average of USD$61,650 annually. Like other professions, nutritionists’ salaries vary according to experience, position, location, qualifications, and work settings.

  1. It Offers Several Career Options

The healthcare industry remains the biggest employer of nutritionists in the United States and perhaps worldwide. However, the private sector has contributed to the steady demand for these professionals. Many organizations have realized that maintaining health is as important as building wealth.

Companies and other private entities have decided to hire nutritionists to help them with this new approach, allowing their staff to take a balanced diet and concoct healthy food recipes. Property rentals, health, exceptional food, and personal care stores have hired nutritionists. This is a welcome addition to the schools, clinics, fitness gyms, federal agencies, and insurance companies employing nutritionists for decades.

  1. It Has Extra Perks That Go With The Job

If you’re considering a career as a personal trainer, a certified nutrition coach, or a sports team nutritionist, you’ll probably be the envy of your peers. Apart from rubbing elbows with a few of the greatest athletes, you may also join the team or your client for interstate or overseas travels.

Travel is only part of the incentives, though. Having famous personalities as your clients means you can expand your professional network. This comes in handy if you decide to open your nutrition-related enterprise. Additionally, many nutritionists soon go into private practice and become consultants.

Cons Of A Career In Nutrition

Cons Of A Career In Nutrition

Like other professions, being a nutritionist has its downsides. These are as follows:

  1. Obtaining Qualifications May Be Costly

A nutritionist title may require more minor qualifications than a dietitian, but most states require a practitioner to earn certificates, training, and experience. If you can jump into the sector right away, think again.

Although you don’t need to complete a bachelor’s degree, you’d have to take the necessary certifications and training, depending on the nutrition career pathway you wish to pursue. Thus, expect to spend a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

  1. Nutritionists Aren’t As Regulated As Dietitians.

Nutritionists aren’t qualified as medical professionals; thus, they have limited tasks in hospital settings. They often work with dietitians to develop a medically approved diet plan and provide the best services for their patients. If this doesn’t sit well with you, this may not be the best work setting. Consider switching to another job if you prefer to work more independently.

Moreover, because ‘nutritionist’ is a title with less stringent requirements than a dietitian, some individuals may exploit this opportunity for their dubious intentions. As a result, nutritionists may often receive flak if something goes wrong or complaints mount.

Job Outlook For Nutritionists

The BLS has lumped nutritionists and dietitians into one sector. It predicts the profession to grow by 11% starting 2020 up to 2030, one of the fastest compared to other industries. So, from 73,000 professionals, nutritionists and dietitians may reach 80,800 eight years from now. Although most of these positions are meant to replace retirees, there’s also an increasing demand for these professionals in more sectors.

Work Opportunities For Nutritionists

The health and wellness sector is expanding dramatically, demanding that nutritionists provide a holistic approach to clients. Food and nutrition professionals play critical roles in enhancing well-being by advising individuals with eating struggles to eat healthily or lose weight.

The demand for nutrition professionals, dietitians specifically, is also expected to increase in the coming years. The need for licensed professionals is seen to rise to assist patients suffering from illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Hence, nutritionists interested in medical work may seek additional qualifications and credentials for professional development.

Concluding Thoughts

Taking a career in nutrition provides you with an enjoyable job with decent pay. It becomes an even more exciting option as it offers multiple career advancements and work opportunities.

If you want to take the first step, consider taking a degree or obtaining the necessary certifications. This will help you excel in this field should you decide to pursue a career in nutrition someday.


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