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Nutritionist Programs Overview

Nutritionists are experts in food, nutrition, diets and healthy lifestyles. The day-to-day life of a nutritionist might include working with clients to meet their health goals, selecting menu plans for patients, regularly evaluating the outcome of nutrition plans, and writing reports to document patient progress. They might work with those who simply want to live healthier, or they might work with patients who have significant health issues, such as diabetes or kidney failure. They might also speak to groups or individuals about the importance of healthy nutrition.

Degree programs

Those who choose to become a nutritionist typically earn at least a bachelor's degree. There are numerous majors that can lead to the proper degree, such as food service systems management, dietetics, food and nutrition, or clinical nutrition. Any degree through nutrition schools will typically focus heavily on nutrition, biology, chemistry and psychology courses.

It is very common for nutritionists to take their education further, earning advanced degrees in the field. These might include the master's degree or doctoral studies in nutrition and related degrees. Courses in advanced degree programs take nutrition education further, and may include the following:

  • Research methods
  • Clinical behavior and change
  • The role of food in society
  • Communications in health care
  • Finances of nutrition and wellness

In most states, nutritionists or dieticians must be licensed. Requirements for licensure typically include graduating from an accredited bachelor's degree program in nutrition or a related field, several hundred hours of supervised training and passing an exam.

Training

Nutritionists go through several hundred hours of training in order to become proficient in their field. This training is supervised, often in the form of an internship shortly after graduation from the degree program. Some colleges and universities offer specialized programs that allow students to earn the experience they need while taking courses.

Nutritionists might choose to earn several certifications in order to enhance the services they can offer their patients. Many nutritionists choose the Certified Nutrition Specialist credential, or CNS. In order to earn this certification, students must complete a master's or doctoral degree, as well as complete 1,000 hours of supervised work. Some choose to pursue the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist credential, or RDN. This requires a bachelor's degree and completion of an internship program.

Career outlook

In 2011, work as a dietitian was listed as one of the least stressful jobs, according to CareerCast. Nutritionists and dietitians work in hospitals, private officers, residential care facilities, schools cafeterias and more. Most work full time, and 11 percent are self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov). Hours might include meeting with clients on evenings and weekends.

As understanding of the role food plays in health has increased, so have the employment options for nutritionists. Job growth of 21 percent is expected in the field from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS. Much of this growth can be attributed to the fact that one-third of U.S. adults are now considered obese, and many of those will seek help with diet and nutrition. The demand for nutritionists will also increase as the baby boomer generation ages and seeks out new ways to stay healthy. This aging population is also expected to spur the growth of jobs for nutritionists in nursing homes and home health care.

Sources:

10 Least Stressful Jobs of 2011, CareerCast, http://www.careercast.com/content/10-least-stressful-jobs-2011-2-dietitian

Dietitians and Nutritionists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm

Nutritionist Schools

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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
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            •  Ranked one of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
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            •  Strives to be a student’s partner in lifelong learning; committed to helping them achieve their goals.
            •  Serves students of all ages, from first-graders learning to read to professionals seeking postgraduate training.
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
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            • Each year since 2004, The Princeton Review has included California University in its Best in the Northeast listing, recognizing Cal U as one of the best regional universities in the northeastern United States.
            • Ranked #35 in Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Offers private school amenities at a public school cost.
            • Grants students in its Global Online program the same diploma as graduates from Cal U’s traditional degree programs.
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            IBMC College , Colorado Springs
            • A Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited Business since 1991, with an A+ rating.
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            • Features a student-run massage clinic at all locations, and a beauty services clinic at Greeley and Cheyenne locations.
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