Careers in nutrition are experiencing positive job growth across the board. As the population continues to deal with issues related to diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and other diet-related ailments, the need for qualified nutrition professionals is at an all-time high.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of nutritionists and dietitians is projected to grow by 16 percent up until the year 2024. More specialized nutrition jobs in outpatient care centers or for elderly patients are expected to experience growth well above the national average as well.
If you want to join this growing profession, there are many different types of nutrition jobs available. We’ll give a brief overview of some of these types of jobs so you can decide which one is right for you.
Clinical dietitians can work in a variety of different settings, but they mainly find employment in hospitals or nursing care facilities. This type of job involves assessing a patient’s dietary needs, developing a nutritional plan for them and monitoring the results. Specialties in clinical dietetics include pediatric, renal, diabetes and more, so those interested in working a specific area may enjoy this type of career.
Public Health Nutrition
This area of nutrition focuses on improving the health of the general population. Nutritionists in this sector will work to educate communities about food and nutrition, develop policies to improve dietary health and safety, and conduct research to further our understanding of the relationship between food and the body. The ultimate goal is to help communities live longer, healthier lives and implement programs that make this a possibility.
Food and Nutrition Management
Individuals with a concentration in food and nutrition management often work to apply relevant nutrition fundamentals to food production. Professionals in this field will have an in-depth understanding of the food industry so they can adequately market and manage food to ensure food production meets nutritional guidelines.
Private Practice / Consultants
Dietitians can also go down the avenue of private practice and consultation. Consultants can go to hospitals or other long-term care facilities and educate people on the principles of healthy eating. They may also provide client counseling in regards to weight management, sports nutrition and more. Additionally, consultants can create nutritional programs, publish cookbooks and advise health clubs and other businesses. These professionals are often self-employed, so their job duties are often dependent on their own expertise and interests.
For those interested in working in a college or university setting, there are plenty of careers in nutrition education and research. These jobs usually require an advanced degree, however. Nutritionists and dietitians in this specific field may work with a state’s Board of Education to develop curriculum, or they can assist with clinical trials and protocol. These are just a few of the avenues that individuals looking for research-based or university-based jobs can pursue.
Some dietitians choose to go into government and public policy. They can work on local, state or national levels, depending on their qualifications. On the local level, public health departments may hire nutritionists and dietitians to provide community education, work in government-funded food programs, and develop dietary plans for the community.
State and federal nutrition jobs are often more administrative in nature. Professionals will work with health departments to implement food and nutrition projects, collect data, conduct training and get involved with food-related public policy.