Many people are now interested in fitness and health, so it may come as no surprise that dietitians and nutritionists are in high demand and make good salaries. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that dietitians and nutritionists earned mean annual wages of $57,440 as of 2014 data. This may be considered good pay, given that the mean annual wages for all occupations combined in the U.S. were $47,230 as of May 2014.
Dietitians that work in retail, and more specifically supermarkets, are known as retail dietitians. They help shoppers to make good decisions about the food they purchase. The Retail Dietitians Business Alliance (RDBA) recently did its first salary survey of these dietitians and reports that most made annual salaries between $41,000 and $70,000. Also, 20 percent of retail registered dietitians receive stock options and 30 percent have the option to take part in employee stock purchase programs.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports that the thinnest states in the country, as of 2014, were Colorado, Hawaii and Massachusetts. None of these were on the list of highest-paying states in the country, but the BLS reports that the mean annual wages for dietitians and nutritionists in these states were $57,930, $64,210 and $59,530, respectively -- all well above the mean annual wages for all occupations combined.
Retail dietitians are just one type of dietitian. Dietitians are employed by many different employers or, of course, they can also work for themselves. Overall, the pay for dietitians and nutritionists in 2014 varied from $35,040 to $79,840, breaking down to $16.85 to $38.38 per hour, reports the BLS. Pay can also vary by location, with some of the highest paying states for dietitians and nutritionists being California, Maryland, Nevada, Connecticut and New Jersey, according to the BLS.
Where do dietitians work?
Most dietitians, 31 percent, work for state, local and private hospitals while another 13 percent work for the government. Nine percent work in nursing and residential care facilities. Another 7 percent work in the offices of health practitioners while 7 percent are employed in outpatient care centers. In all, just 11 percent are self-employed. Some of these individuals may work on a contract basis or they may just be available for consultations.
Is there room for advancement?
The BLS reports that those who have earned specialty certifications or advanced degrees may find the best job prospects. Although bachelor's degrees in nutrition are typically required in the field, there are also master's degrees available in nutrition that can help you to further distinguish yourself and advance your education.
Dietitians could also become certified either through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics or the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists. These agencies offer registered dietitian nutrition (RDN) and certified nutrition specialist (CNS) credentials, respectively.
Is this profession in high demand?
Jobs for dietitians and nutritionists are expected to grow by 21 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS. This job growth is considered faster than average and could result in 14,200 positions becoming available. There are many factors contributing to job growth. This includes an increasing emphasis on the role of food in maintaining health as well as preventative care and steps.
Another factor in demand is the number of obese people in the U.S. who are looking for help with their weight. As many as one-third of adults in the U.S. are obese, according to the BLS, and may suffer from diabetes or kidney disease for which they need nutritional help. Finally, an aging baby boomer population wanting to stay healthy as they age is contributing to the need for more dietitians and nutritionists.
- Colorado, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_co.ht
- Dietitians and Nutritionists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291031.htm
- Dietitians and Nutritionists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm#tab-3
- Hawaii, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_hi.htm
- Massachusetts, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ma.htm
- May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates United States, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#00-0000
- Retail Dietitians Business Alliance Releases Results of First Salary Survey for Retail RDs, Today's Dietitian. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/enewsletter/enews_0315_02.shtml
- The State of Obesity, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Sept. 2014. http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2014/09/the-state-of-obesity.html