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How To Become A Nutritionist

Aug 17, 2007
If you are looking to pursue nutrition as a profession, then you are in good company. Nutritionists are much sought after in todays job market. While there may not seem much of a need for them at first with everyone scrambling to doctors, engineers, and businessmen you will be surprised at how important this job is and how necessary it is in the health care sector.

1. Do You Really Want to be a Nutritionist?

The nutritionists job is to oversee the menu planning and diet management of either patients in hospitals or to work in consultation with pretty much anyone starting to be concerned about their diet. Nutritionists are experts in matters regarding the body and how diets affect the body. They are called upon to help adjust diets of various people to match their specific needs.

The jobs of nutritionists involve studying, interpreting, and developing a patients or clients eating habits. Their jobs typically include the planning and suggestion of diets for various cases. They also supervise food preparation and apply their knowledge for the development of diet therapies for various conditions.

Nutritionist duties do not start and end in the kitchen. They also provide consultation regarding lifestyle, food, and nutrition giving expert advice on how to eat healthy and eat right.

Hospitals need nutritionists and dieticians to help formulate menus in conjunction with doctors orders for the right diet to aid patient recovery. For example, in cases where the doctor indicates that a patient should be given a low-fat, low-salt diet to aid patients with cardiovascular problems, the nutritionist, or the dietician should supervise aid in preparing meals for such patients.

It is also their duty to help conduct seminars to help at-risk groups in need of diet and nutrition advice. Diabetes groups and Heart Disease groups are common beneficiaries of such seminars. They are taught more about the diet that fits their profile.

2. The Requisite Education How to Be a Nutritionist

Nutritionists normally go through four-year nutrition degrees under accredited colleges or universities. Most nutrition degrees involve much time planning menus, analyzing case scenarios, and practicing cooking and menu developing skills in real life situations.

It is not uncommon for these degrees to involve some sort of banquet to show off what the student has learned in their four years of study. Before signing up for a nutrition degree, make sure you have mastery of subjects such as Biology, Mathematics, and Health Studies. Depending on your college, you may be required to take a short pre-nutrition course to build up your health care knowledge.

Nutritionists need certification to be certified professionals, and in 46 states there are various requirements for a nutritionist to ply his or her trade. Some states require certification, licensure, or other requirements, so it would be best to consult with the requirements in your state before undergoing any program for such degrees.

You may also want to take the American Dietetic Association credential exams for you to be recognized as a Registered Dietitian. This will certainly be a big boost to your resume and your credentials as a nutrition expert and will go a long way in helping you land a job.

3. The Future for Nutritionists What to Expect

The future is bright for nutritionists and dietitians. In a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for nutritionists is on an upswing owing to the increased consciousness towards diet and health by a larger number of the population. Also, with the elderly population skyrocketing in the past few years with no sign of stopping, there is suddenly a great market for nutritionists to handle geriatric cases.

This being said, there is a great need for these jobs today, and in the immediate future, making taking nutrition degrees today a good decision.

4. Going Further Should You Work to be a Dietician

You could either be a nutritionist or go further and become a dietitian. Dietitians share the same skills as nutritionists. Of course, there go a little further with their education and skills. They also have slightly different duties in hospitals and other food industries. By common standards, dietitians earn a little more than nutritionists.
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