What is a Nutritionist

With health and fitness gaining high-priority in today’s fast-paced world, there is a world of opportunity for nutritionists. A nutritionist or nutrition therapist works with people and not just patients to help them understand food better. While a dietitian focuses on just diet modifications, a nutritionist provides a wholesome examination into your diet, encouraging you to make essential and better lifestyle choices.

They give comprehensive analysis, facts and recommendations about the food components, nutrients in various food groups and the right way and amount to eat them. They give you a better idea about your current nutritional status, inappropriate eating habits and the accurate diet you should follow to stay healthy and prevent diseases. Being a controller of health and well-being, a nutritionist is employed in a whole range of industries.


The type of establishment, years of experience, position held and level of training determines your salary as nutritionist.

2012 mean salary Top 10% salary Bottom 10% salary
$55,240 per year$66,000 per year$45,500 per year
$26.56 per hour$33 per hour$22 per hour

Job prospects

Once you finish a major in nutrition and complete an internship in hospital or clinic, you can land a job as nutritionist. Unlike dietitians, fewer states demand license when you practice as a nutritionist. Check with the state you want to work before moving forward. A nutritionist can work in general hospitals setting, school cafeterias, restaurants, kitchens and clinics. The increase in the life expectancy, awareness about holistic living and escalation of lifestyle disorders means the opportunity for nutritionists is never dying down. Since nutritionists are not paid highly, they usually study further to improve the employability as well as skills. There is a plethora of specializations that a nutritionist can take, which only widens his/her job prospects and opportunities. With right degree and experience, nutritionist profession is definitively lucrative.

Types of Nutritionists

Clinical nutritionist

A clinical nutritionist works in a nursing room, hospital, clinic or outpatient facility. She/he focuses mainly on malnutrition, both over nutrition and under nutrition and help the clients/patients deal with them. They give attention to the consumption, digestion, assimilation of food in your body. They deal with the biochemical and physiological aspects of food in your body and direct you to follow programs that will bring you back to health. You can become a clinical nutritionist by taking a four year degree course as well as master’s degree in clinical nutrition or a get certificate course in clinical nutrition along with related science degree like microbiology, physiology or biochemistry.

Sports nutritionist

A sports nutritionist is a lucrative career for individuals who wish to make difference in the lives of sports personalities. Because food is as important as fitness, nutritionists in league with trainers and coaches help prepare athletes and sportsmen for their tournaments, games and events. They help to improve the athletic performance of individuals. Advanced degree in Sports Nutrition, master’s degree in Sports Nutrition Therapy or specialized certificate in Sports Nutrition is the way to enter the field. They are usually employed on a contract basis and their salary may go up to $300,000 a year depending who they work for.

Public health nutritionist

A public health nutritionist uses her/his knowledge about food and nutrition to research, assist and create policies that will improve the health of population as a whole. They can involve themselves in community, state and national level programs as well as be a part of non-profit organizations aimed at improving the nutritional status of the public. A master’s degree in Public Health is usually offered to graduates of human nutrition or allied sciences.

Freelance nutritionist

With a bachelor degree in nutrition and experience in various industries that offer role for nutritionists, you can open your own clinic and practice as a freelance nutritionist. A freelance nutritionist also works in various clinics, provide expert opinions, turn a consultant to companies, give talks, presentations and write columns or blogs related to nutrition and health. Additionally, they can also provide nutrition counseling online.


By Subashini Braceloff

Subashini Braceloff is a health & nutrition enthusiast, globe trotter, and an avid cook who has picked up various nutritional philosophies and lifestyles along the way. At present, she blogs for Dieting Revisited site that looks at caveman diet Food.