Approximately 74,200 nutritionists and dietitians are employed in the United States. Many kinds of government and private organizations hire nutritionists, and the variety of career opportunities continue to increase. There are opportunities in hospitals, schools of all levels, community health programs, day care centers, correctional facilities, health clubs, weight-management clinics, health management organizations, nursing homes, government organizations, food-service companies, food equipment manufacturers, sports teams, pharmaceutical companies, and grocery store chains, to name a few. Among the large organizations that need nutritionists are the armed forces, which have to feed their personnel as well and as inexpensively as possible. In addition, nutritionists can work in private practice, running their own consulting businesses or working in a group practice.
Nutritionists must be extensively trained and have some practical experience before they look for their first job. Many tend to know the type of organization they want to work for. Most colleges and universities provide placement services for nutritionists, and people often find work through connections they make at school or in practice programs. For this reason, it is wise to make as many professional connections as possible.
Some parts of the country have more nutritionists than others, and beginning nutritionists might consider taking positions out of their geographic area to get started. As of May 2019, the states of California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida had the largest number of nutritionists, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Jobs can be found via trade journals, national and state conventions, Web sites, classified ads, and specialized employment agencies. Although it is possible to call organizations to learn about job opportunities, the most effective way to find work is through personal contacts.
There are various ways to advance in the field of nutrition. One of the best ways that nutritionists enhance their careers is through further education. They may get a master's or doctoral degree in nutrition. Nutritionists who obtain an advanced degree may apply apply for research, teaching, or public health positions that are not otherwise open to them. In the field of nutrition, as in most others, seniority, reliability, expertise, and experience count. An experienced clinical nutritionist might ultimately become an administrative nutritionist, for example, and a research nutritionist might take charge of a research department.
Tips for Entry
Read publications such as the Journal of Nutrition (https://nutrition.org/publications/#the-journal-of-nutrition) to learn more about the field.
Set up informational interviews with nutritionists to learn more about they type of work they specialize in, what their daily tasks are, and how they got started in their career. Ask your school's career services office for help with finding nutritionists to interview.
Attend the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (https://2020.eatrightfnce.org/fnce-2020-update) to network and interview for jobs.
Become certified in order to show employers that you have met the highest standards established by your industry. Find information at https://theana.org/certify.