Careers

Becoming a Nutritionist/ Dietitian: Scope, Salary, Pros & Cons

Passionate about health and food? Wondering whether a career in nutrition and dietetics is the right choice for you? Here’s all you need to know before becoming a nutritionist/ dietitian.

nutritionist dietitian

1. Career in Nutrition and Dietetics

Nutritionists are experts in nutrition and food consumption. Their job is to help people meet their nutritional needs and eat a balanced diet, which can help them prevent illness. They evaluate the dietary habits of individuals, either in a hospital, gym, wellness spa or through individual counseling. They advise people about health and food choices so they can achieve optimal health. Basically, we help people be the best version of themselves!

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 Difference between a Nutritionist or Dietitian
1.2 Industry/Sector
1.3 Social Image
1.4 Reasons to Become a Nutritionist or Dietitian
2.1 Personality Traits Required
2.2 Physical Demands
2.3 Psychological Demands
3.1 Extra Curricular Activities Recommended
3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up
3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows
3.4 Related Fiction to Read/ Novels
4.1 Part-Time Options
4.2 Traveling Required
4.3 Average Workday/What to Expect
5.1 Retirement Prospects
5.2 Threats from Automation
5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit

1.1 Difference between a Nutritionist or Dietitian

While nutritionist and dietitian are very similar professionals, there is a slight difference between these two food & diet experts. First of, anyone who offers nutritional advice on a professional basis can be called a professional nutritionist. To be called a certified nutritionist, they need to have a certification from Clinical Nutrition Certification (CNC) board.

For becoming a dietitian, one needs to have the required academic qualifications (degree) and pass an exam to get registered. That makes them a registered dietitian (RD).

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1.2 Industry/Sector

Fitness clubs or gyms, hospitals, health centres, education, wellness & beauty spas, restaurants, research institutions, food industry.

Healthcare is the primary industry that employs nutritionists and dietitians. In a hospital or clinic, dietitians aid patients who suffer from diseases, and make nutrition charts for them, including dietary supplements as necessary.

Restaurants, catering businesses, schools and colleges also employ nutritionists to create health meals for customers or students, or to oversee the nutritional value of their new menus. Similarly, gyms may employ nutritionists or dietitians to counsel their members about healthy diet, either to lose weight, fat or to maintain optimum health. A lot of wellness & beauty spas also have dietitians on board to guide their members, especially brides-to-be, for diets that are optimum for a good skin.

Other than that, nutritionists may work at institutions as researchers, food scientists or pharmaceutical sales representatives. Lastly, food and beverage brands also employ nutritionists for creating and marketing health drinks such as diet juices, etc. or food products such as nutrition bars.

1.3 Social Image

Good but often misunderstood.

The society usually holds nutritionists and dietitians in good regard, especially if they are certified and registered, and those who work in healthcare or institutions.

However, non-certified nutritionists are not highly respected, since people are getting aware of false information. The job of a nutritionist is to provide evidence-based diet advice. However, some people don’t understand the importance of this profession. That happens because there are a lot of self-proclaimed coaches who take up this profession after no proper training and say, losing 5 kgs!

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1.4 Reasons to Become a Nutritionist or Dietitian

Respectable salary, job-fulfillment, ability to meet new people, helping the society.

If healthcare and food are your passion, this is a great career to take up. This profession will let you enjoy you passion, while making an impact and money. If you like to meet new people, a job like this can help you do just that, as everyday there’s a new client or patient who comes to you for advice.

Furthermore, there is always something new happening in the world of dietetics. From fad diets to new research, there’s always something new to learn, even after years of experience, which can never make this profession boring.

2. What It Takes to Be a Nutritionist or Dietitian

2.1 Personality Traits Required/ Preferred

Fitness, communication skills, ability to stay updated with all the latest research.

This career is all about health, so being healthy and looking fit are very important, which will make you believable. Furthermore, good communication skills are very important, as you’ll constantly need to make your clients or patients aware of the importance of good diet and nutrition. So it’s important to be patient, have clarity of thought and the ability to express your ideas clearly.

And as I mentioned before, this profession always has something new in terms of research findings or trendy diets, which you always need to be aware of, so you can seem at the top of the game. So one needs to be good at research and have a passion for reading.

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2.2 Physical Demands

Long standing hours in some jobs.

Having to stand for long hours is an issue when you are working at a hospital. So if you want to avoid that, consider working in one of the other sectors, such as at a gym, wellness spa, etc. For example, I do online counselling, so I face no such issues.

2.3 Psychological Demands

Monthly targets at some jobs, pressure to always know everything about new research or regulations.

When I was working at a fitness club, there was a monthly target pressure. Additionally, there is always the pressure on professionals in this career to always be fully knowledgeable about the ever-changing nutritional research & food regulations, obscure diets and more.

3. How to Build Interest in a Career in Nutrition and Dietetics

3.1 Extra Curricular Activities Recommended

Gardening, reading food or health blogs.

3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up

Cooking health foods, exercise or sports.

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3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows

To the Bone

Documentaries:

  • Food, Inc.
  • King Corn
  • Fresh

3.4 Related Fiction to Read/ Novels

I love reading books related to nutrition and dietetics since I feel that in this profession, you can never stop learning. It is important to learn something new everyday, otherwise you will lag behind!

Dietland by Sarai Walker
Calories and Corsets: A History of Dieting Over 2000 Years by Louise Foxcroft
Sugar Nation

4. Life as a Nutritionist or Dietitian

4.1 Part-Time Options

Yes, you can freelance as a nutritionist. 

Additionally, certain jobs as a nutritionist may provide extra time for part-time work opportunities such as food-related digital journalism, or teaching.

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4.2 Traveling Required

No.

Nutritionists and dietitians typically have to work from office, either at a hospital or other institutions. In fact, being restricted to your own office may be one of the negatives in this profession for many jobs.

4.3 Average Workday/What to Expect

Work starts early in the morning, you have your appointments with clients or patients. For a hospital job, you may be required to do hospital rounds to see health of the patients, or provide diet charts. For other types of jobs, such as at a wellness or health center, you may be required to sit in an office where clients have fixed one-on-one appointments for nutrition counselling.

Working on your fitness is also an important part of your day, be it any form – gym, running, yoga.

5. Future of Your Career in Nutrition and Dietetics

5.1 Retirement Prospects

Not specific – you can education people after retirement by taking guest lectures in nutrition colleges or you can even make your own nutritional website or web-channel to educate people.

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5.2  Threats from Automation

None in the near future.

5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit

Lack of jobs in some fields.

As it is in nearly any career, you may not find an abundance of work opportunities in every field. For example, in city may not have any star hotels who are currently hiring for a nutritionist.

However, it’s important to know that the possibilities are endless in this career, and with a positive attitude, you can find interesting opportunities.

For qualifications required, average salary, list of top colleges, here’s your complete guide on How to Become a Nutritionist or Dietitian in India

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Deana

    September 24, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    this is great blog.

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