How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Nutritionist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $58,410
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 16.3%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

Nutritionists guide others into making smart food intake choices in order to promote health and manage illness. They may work with individuals trying to lose weight, with people who have dietary restrictions, or with parents to educate about daily intake requirements for developing children and adolescents.

Recommended Schools

What is a Nutritionist?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in nutritionist roles:

  • Evaluate the needs of patients by understanding what conditions or issues they’re suffering from and collecting information about current eating habits
  • Educate patients and caregivers about nutritional needs of individuals in certain age groups or with certain diseases or conditions
  • Help patients create meal plans that fulfill their nutritional and budget needs

A Day in the Life

Nutritionists are health advocates that encourage and teach individuals to prevent and manage disease through healthy diets. Nutritionists can work in a variety of roles. Some work in doctor’s offices and hospitals and teach individuals with new dietary restrictions how to eat appropriately for conditions like heart disease or kidney failure. Some work for government organizations that teach new parents how to feed their children for proper nutrition. Some work for restaurants and help develop healthy recipes.

In addition to advocating for healthy nutrition and educating individuals, nutritionists also commonly give presentations to community members in groups. For example, they may go to individual schools in a community and teach classes of students about healthy eating. They may also work with groups of elderly patients in nursing homes. Nutritionists also commonly engage in ongoing education, research, and publication to become better at their jobs and to educate others on the importance of nutrition.

Some nutritionists work for health or weight loss facilities or organizations and teach people how to eat in order to lose weight, gain muscle, or participate in activities like marathons or triathlons. These individuals may work alongside physical trainers to form a fitness and nutrition program that meets the needs of individuals who join the gym, facility, or organization and opt in to health counseling services.

Typical Work Schedule

Most commonly nutritionists work full-time following the standard 40 hours per week. However, they may occasionally need to work on evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedule of their clients. This usually adds longer hours to their schedules. In addition, Nutritionists may also work in public events or deliver educational content on the television or other media. This requires more flexible working schedule to deliver the content at the best time suitable to the audience.

Projected Job Growth

The employment of nutritionist is expected to increase by at least 8 % from 2019 to 2029 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is much faster than the average for all other jobs. This is attributed to the increased knowledge and awareness about the importance of food and nutrition in promoting health and wellness. Accordingly, there is growing market for nutritionist particularly in high income countries. Unlike dietitians who must be licensed and work with sick and healthy people, the term “nutritionist” is regulated by certain states as they only work with healthy people. However, nutritionists may need to earn the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credential to show an advanced level of knowledge and have an edge in any future competition. This certification is administered by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists.

Nutritionist Specializations

  • Clinical nutritionists work in schools, nursing homes, hospitals, or prisons and help develop menus and nutrition programs for the institutions they work for.
  • Community nutritionists work for health facilities, health insurance providers, and fitness centers and educate individuals and groups on what should be consumed for proper health.
  • Administrative nutritionists develop large-scale nutrition programs. Their responsibilities include forming meal plans, managing a budget, and managing other nutritionists.

Typical Employers

There is currently high demand for nutritionists which provides large variety of commercial opportunities. Employers include fitness and wellness centers as well as nutritional supplement companies where they provide dietary consultations and formulate meal plans for clients. Famous nutritional companies include Healthkart, Amyris, Promoboxx, FatSecret and Nanosys. Other employers may include healthy food restaurants and large corporations designing their nutrition plans as well as sports nutrition plans. In addition, you may work for governmental agencies as the Department of Health or the Department of Agriculture, to educate the general public on the importance of a well-balanced lifestyle. Additionally, many nutritionists are currently working using online websites or applications as MyFitnessPal, MyNetDiary, Protein Tracker and Superfood. These applications provide more flexibility and may achieve much higher revenue compared to other career options.

Recommended Schools

How To Become a Nutritionist

The minimum degree requirement for a nutritionist is a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, public health, dietetics, or food service systems management. Either during their college program or after college, nutritionists must also earn enter a supervised training program or internship that allows for on-the-job learning to take place. Aspiring nutritionist interns work alongside experienced nutritionists, learn the basics of the role, and gain valuable experience before setting out to do individual consulting.

Most states require practicing nutritionists to be licensed. The process of getting licensed entails completing the activities described above—earning a bachelor’s degree and completing a supervised internship—and passing an exam. Additionally, some employers will require that nutritionists have Registered Dietician Nutritionist (RDN) credentials. Getting RDN credentials requires the same steps as getting licensed as a nutritionist.

Nutritionists who desire to advance in their careers often go on to earn master’s or doctoral degrees and Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credentials. The CNS credentials requires candidates to hold a graduate degree in a related field, to have accrued more than 1,000 hours of experience as a nutritionist, and to pass an exam. The CNS credential and an advanced degree may be required for nutritionists to move into administrative nutritionist roles and other higher-paying positions.

Nutritionist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Nutritionist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Nutritionist's can make an average annual salary of $58,410, or $28 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $46,160 or $22 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #290 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Nutritionist. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Nutritionists

  • 6.6%   Doctorate
  • 26.4%   Masters
  • 39.4%   Bachelors
  • 4.4%   Associates
  • 7.2%   College
  • 12.6%   High School
  • 3.3%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Nutritionist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 10,900 jobs for a total of 77,600 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 16.3% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #87 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Nutritionists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 15,500 1,100 1%
Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities) 4,900 500 1%
Self-employed workers 4,200 1,500 2%

Want To Be a Nutritionist? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →