5 Best Places For Dietitians to Work
- Nursing Homes
- Public Health Programs
You need to have completed the appropriate academic requirements before seeking out great places to work as a dietitian. Once you’ve achieved a college associate’s degree or higher and have completed a dietetic technician program accredited by an agency recognized by the State Department of Health Services, you can begin your career in this satisfying field of nutritional health.
A hospital is a great place to work as a dietitian if the goal is to improve a patient’s health and wellness through the development of specific meal plans, by personally counseling patients on healthy eating habits, and assessing their dietary needs. A dietitian working in a hospital has the satisfaction of seeing firsthand results of the work accomplished when patients recover more swiftly and learn to make healthier food choices because of a dietitian’s recommendations and direct intervention.
According the the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 5,150 people work as dietitians in skilled nursing facilities. The BLS estimates their mean annual wage to be $58,200, making a nursing home a financially great place to work as a dietitian. In a skilled nursing facility, dietitians have the opportunity to develop rewarding relationships with the residents.
A great place to work as a dietitian is in a school setting. The National Center for Education Statistics notes that 99 percent of public schools offer nutrition education somewhere within their curriculum. As a school dietitian, you have the opportunity to offer an important safety net for children from lower income families via school meal programs. Educating children about nutrition and watching a child excitedly eat a new vegetable for the first time is just one more perk to working in a school as a dietitian. It’s also a school dietitian’s job to help plan lunch and breakfast menus to ensure children are getting the nutrients they require while also helping with the management of food allergies and cooperating with teachers in hands-on learning opportunities.
Weight control clinics are a great place to work as a dietitian. Dietitians working in a clinic help clients either lose or gain weight by helping them with meal planning, grocery shopping, creating food journals, and by providing recipe suggestions. Setting goals, helping manage chronic diseases or allergies are part of a dietitian’s role in a clinical setting. A clinical dietitian can either work in a hospital or doctor’s clinic or for a private weight loss clinic or retreat center.
5. Public Health Programs
A public health dietitian helps improve the nutritional habits of the public rather than working with individuals. Dietitians can positively impact the lives of others in a community by working for an organization to develop strategies for improving nutrition, educating the community, and promoting better nutrition.
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The work that a dietitian does is rewarding, regardless of the setting, though a particular person’s personality, characteristics, and strengths will help with the decision as to where to actually apply for a position. The settings listed above are great places to work as a dietitian, but many other opportunities in this broad field also exist.
5 Top Nutrition Careers
- Public Health Nutritionists
- Clinical Dietitians
- Health and Wellness Coaches
- Weight Management Experts
- Nutrition Instructors
Careers in nutrition are increasing at a rapid pace as more and more people are concerned with their health. Choosing a career in this highly-rewarding field offers an abundance of opportunities, and nutrition specialists can even choose to work independently if they wish. A sample of the opportunities available to nutrition graduates can be found in the sections that follow.
1. Public Health Nutritionists
Some of the most popular nutrition careers today are those in the public health sector. The main responsibility of public health nutritionists is to make sure that the nutritional needs of individuals within a community are met. They accomplish this through such things as educational programs, nutrition counseling, the distribution of health and wellness materials, and food assistance when needed. Common work environments for these professionals include public health centers, WIC programs, government agencies, and educational facilities.
2. Clinical Dietitians
Clinical dietitians are employed by a variety of medical facilities to ensure that patients receive the nutrition they need while in recovery. There are many specialties associated with clinical dietetics, and some of the most common are pediatrics, diabetes, and renal care. Some clinical dietitians also choose to specialize in nutrition support, which involves nutrition obtained through feeding tubes or IVs. Persons who choose one of these careers in nutrition qualify for positions in such facilities as hospitals, nursing homes, and out-patient medical centers.
3. Health and Wellness Coaches
To help keep employees in good health and to keep insurance costs at a minimum, many businesses and insurance companies employ the services of health and wellness coaches. Common duties of these experts include advising employees about health issues, conducting biometric surveys, and providing educational materials pertaining to health and wellness. Statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that positions in this field will grow by as much as 16 percent over the next several years.
4. Weight Management Experts
Other terrific careers in nutrition are those involved with weight management. Weight management experts work with a variety of clients including border-line and diagnosed diabetics, people with osteoarthritis or other bone deficiencies, and people who simply want to keep their weights at acceptable levels. Nutrition graduates who choose this path are often employed in such places as independent clinics, weight-loss clinics, fitness centers, healthcare facilities, and rehabilitation centers.
5. Nutrition Instructors
Nutrition instructors are employed by a variety of organizations including high schools, colleges and universities, local and state governments, businesses, non-profits, weight-loss centers, and research centers. The main responsibilities of nutrition instructors are to teach people about proper nutrition, health and wellness, and exercise. Other duties may include creating educational curriculum, assisting with clinical trials, and advising clients when necessary.
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Health students specializing in nutrition will be delighted to learn that there is a wealth of great job opportunities waiting for them after graduation. Careers in nutrition are many and varied, and the five careers described above are certainly worth examining further.
Looking at what a nutritionist does is one of the most important steps you can take before enrolling in a college degree program. While a nutritionist and a dietician share some similarities, nutritionists usually need a college degree and some experience. A dietician can accept a position right out of high school and work in more advanced fields with a certificate. Nutritionists focus specifically on how different foods impact people in different ways, but you’ll find yourself doing a number of things when working in this field.
Develop Weight Loss Programs
One of the jobs that a nutritionist might do relates to weight loss programs. The experience and education that you earn can teach you the importance of eating different foods and which foods are the best for people of different body types. Developing a weight loss program lets you share your knowledge with others. While you might create a weight loss program used by thousands of people, you’ll more likely work with individual clients and help them create a program that will help them improve their overall health.
Assist Those with Medical Conditions
When looking at what a nutritionist does, you might find that some work in hospitals and medical clinics to support those recently diagnosed with certain diseases. These nutritionists help people with diabetes, high cholesterol and other diseases learn how the foods they eat can affect their overall health. They also work with patients diagnosed years ago to ensure they follow the diet plans and recommendations issued by a doctor. You’ll have the chance to help your clients decide what they can and cannot eat and show them how to keep track of their foods to see how different meals affect their bodies.
Work with Athletes
According to the Association for Nutrition, sports and exercise nutrition is one of the growing fields for nutritionist. Sports and exercise nutrition is a specific category that deals with athletes at the professional and amateur level. The human body uses the food eaten to create energy to get through the day. Athletes can burn hundreds of calories during a single practice session, and athletes generally need to use diets that are different from ordinary people. A sports nutritionist looks at the activities that an athlete performs and determines the best type of diet for that person, and many nutritionists keep working with athletes during the off season.
When looking at information on what a nutritionist does, you’ll also find that they work in food science. People constantly look for new ways to lose weight, and nutritionists always research the impact that those new diets have on the human body. Some of those nutritionists working in food science work for private companies to determine the total number of calories, fat and other ingredients found in new foods before those foods hit the market. In addition to working for private food manufacturers, food science experts may also work for research institutes, at colleges and for the government.
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Not all nutritionists work in the same fields. Some work with private clients in their own offices, while others work for hospitals and medical clinics or for research institutes. Though looking at what a nutritionist does is important for your future, you also want to look at what each type of nutritionist does and where those nutritionists work.