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Nutritionist Salary: Soul-Food, perhaps?

Posted Mar 13 2010 5:17am


Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work for a day in your life. Yes, this was what Confucius said from so long ago. Strangely enough, it is applicable to our lives even today. And why?

Because human beings since then until now, have aspirations. They aspire to be somebody if not like somebody they admire. For it is in our hopes and dreams that we find who we are being the seat of all desire… the desire to live fully based on what drives us – what defines us.

Perhaps this is the only difference between a career and a job.

The bottom line though is the motivation behind your aspirations, and the biggest indicator of whether your deepest held dreams will stand the test of time and talent or not.

For some of us, our choice of profession might be in the arts, science, medicine or technology but the ones that many of us can draw inspiration from, are careers in teaching and medicine. And by no means do these career choices pay any lesser than careers in other industries.

One vital career in the field of medicine is that of a nutritionist and one that is growing in demand for the lack of qualified personnel in a country that is obsessed with health and fitness.

The Role of the Nutritionist

The profession of Nutrition (as opposed to Dietetics) is "the study of nutrients in food, how nutrients are used in the body and the relationship between diet, health and disease".

So, nutritionists (and dietitians) plan food & nutrition programs, supervise the preparation of meals as well as oversee the serving of meals. However, the nutritionist's role only caters to people who are healthy and would like to improve their health further whereas the dietitian caters to people who are ill as well.

It's common knowledge that the profession of a 'nutritionist' has been given a 'bad rap' in hallowed circles, as the levels of education vary from minimal to nothing among its practitioners. So the best way to progress in this field is to acquire a four year bachelor's degree that several universities provide courses for, to become a registered dietitian.

Once you complete your education, you receive the certification of a 'registered dietitian', and then you can work your way up in this field in roles such as:

1) Clinical dietitians – who work at hospitals, nursing care facilities and other such institutes.

2) Community dietitians – which involves counseling groups and individuals on nutritional practices that promote health or prevent disease.

3) Management dietitians – who supervise large-scale meal planning and preparation in healthcare facilities, prisons, schools and cafeterias.

4) Consultant dietitians – either working with a healthcare facility under a contract or practicing privately.

Since there is a growing demand for qualified nutritionists, the salaries that they receive are just as good as any graduate with a certain amount of experience.

The Salary of a Nutritionist

Much like most careers, these salaries vary by experience, education and by geographic region. According to a report in the year 2007, here are median salaries for registered dietitians:

1) Consultation and Business – $60,008

2) Food and nutrition management – $64,002

3) Nutrition education and research – $66,061

4) Clinical nutrition/ambulatory care – $52,000

5) Clinical nutrition/long-term care – $53,997

6) Community nutrition – $48,006

7) Clinical nutrition/acute care – $48,984

In Closing

When you come to think of it, choosing the field of nutrition and dietetics is not such a bad idea when you compare it to the yearly income of doctorate-holders which average out to almost $70,000 to $80,000 a year. Not only is it inspiring work that seeks to better the health of the people you help but it pays pretty well too.

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