How to Become a Nutritionist in Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not currently license the title of nutritionist. Despite the lack of state licensure over this profession, there are other requirements that you may need to meet if you wish to become employed as a nutritionist.
Here are the steps for one of the common paths to becoming a nutritionist in Pennsylvania:
- Research your state's licensing requirements (or lack thereof).
- Understand the reason for attending an accredited school.
- Review your program options and understand the benefits of each.
- Prepare for certification examinations.
Generally speaking, there are three different types of nutrition degrees that you can work towards: an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. For initial entry into the workforce as a nutritionist, you must usually earn at least an associate’s degree.
The bachelor’s degree program is a 4-year program, and many employers are moving towards preferring nutritionists with this level of education. That is not to say that you cannot find a job having earned only an associate’s degree, but rather it simply means that you should probably consider the employable benefits of a bachelor’s degree based on the position you wish to pursue.
A master’s degree program is usually not something that nutritionists begin with. This type of program is something that nutritionists usually pursue once they start thinking about career advancement. In most cases, the credits from your previous degree can be transferred over, and you should only have an additional 2 to 4 years of study in order to earn your master’s degree.
Here is a look at some of the class topics you can expect to experience in these degree programs:
- Health, nutrition and digestion
- Patient procedures
- Healthcare documentation and privacy rights