How To Become A Nutritionist
If you have an interest in nutrition and healthy eating, you might be interested in learning how to become a nutritionist. Nutritionists are typically health professionals who specialize in teaching others about how to get the most health benefits from food. Nutritionists may work in a variety of different settings, including schools, hospitals, health departments and nursing homes. With a growing emphasis on disease prevention, nutrition has taken on an increasingly important role in our society. Nutritionists play a key part in this process, by educating individuals on how to eat healthy to prevent disease. To become a nutritionist, you'll need a bachelor's degree and you may need additional training and certification to become licensed. Read on to learn more about how to prepare for a career as a nutritionist.
- Determine if you qualify to become a nutritionist. Nutritionists should have an educational background in health and science, with an emphasis on diet and dietary guidelines. A bachelor's degree is a likely requirement for employment and a master's degree in nutrition may allow you to work in a management setting as well. College course work to become a nutritionist may include classes in biology and physiology, along with management and possibly psychology. Courses in statistics, economics and computer science may also be required. For specific information on accredited bachelor's degree programs in nutrition and dietetics, consult the American Dietetic Association's Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education website.
- Find out specifics about licensing and certification. In addition to a college degree, you may also be required to be licensed in order to become a nutritionist. Specific requirements for licensing will vary between states. You will want to investigate thoroughly the requirements to become a nutritionist in the state where you plan to work. You may be required to pay a licensing fee and document both your educational background and your previous work experience in order to obtain a license to practice as a licensed nutritionist.
- Find a job. If you have obtained the necessary degree and secured a license to practice as a nutritionist, you can begin finding employment. First, determine where you want to work: are you interested in working in a hospital or nursing home setting? Would you be happier practicing in a school or possibly a health department? Prepare a resume that highlights your education and your work background and begin distributing it. Another way you may be able to secure a position as a nutritionist is by networking with others working in your field. Find out where they work and ask about any potential job openings. In addition, you might consider registering with the American Dietetic Association-the ADA offers a members-only career center which may provide some valuable job leads.