What can you do with a nutrition degree? You can do anything you want. Graduates of nutrition science programs are in high demand within the health care industry, especially in the food sub sector. Aspiring students can attain an associate’s degree or work their way to the master’s level. Additional certification programs are widely available to people with a background in healthcare.
Nutritionists have the option of working in many different settings that include hospitals, clinics, institutions, and restaurants. Nutrition science professional plan menus and diet programs for individuals and oversee meal preparations for large groups or institutional food programs. Nutritionists can also consult with patients and devise diet plans to complement and enhance traditional medical treatment. Choosing the right degree program depends on what you plan to do in your career.
Choosing a Career Path
What can you do with a nutrition degree in a traditional healthcare setting? Nutrition science specialists often work in conjunction with doctors and nurses to promote patient health and recovery. Duties of a nutritionist in a hospital or clinical setting will often include working with a medical team consisting of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Nutrition scientists treat patients with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or obesity. Nutritionists educate patients on healthy eating, meal planning, and dietary options.
What can you do with a nutrition degree in the food industry? Nutrition professionals and food science experts are an essential part of the food business. Qualified nutritionists help develop new food products and advise marketing departments about nutritional claims. As people become more health conscious, the expert advice of nutritionists and dietitians guides the growing health food market. The job duties of a management level nutritionist include supervising food service staff, planning menus for large groups of people, and ordering supplies. Educational institutions, hotels, resorts and the military employ nutritionists to oversee food and catering programs. If you have an interest in health and nutrition science and a flair for management, this might be the career path for you.
Choosing the Right Degree Program
Once you have decided on a career path you need to choose the proper degree program that qualifies you for the job of your choice. Medical and hospital nutritionists need to pass an exam for earning a certification before working with clients. Certification requirements vary by state. Check the regulations for the state where you reside before you choose a school program.
A bachelor’s degree is a good prerequisite for becoming a registered dietitian or certified nutritionist. A bachelor’s degree in nutrition provides a great background and preparation for entry-level nutritionists to take the necessary exams to become registered or certified. A two-year associate’s degree can be a first step for those who plan to earn a four-year degree. If you are interested in becoming a nutritionist and you have an existing degree in the healthcare field, such as an RN or LVN degree, there are programs that grant professional or continuing education certification in nutrition.
Whatever you interest or skill level, a degree in nutrition can lead to a rewarding career. You just need to know what can you do with a nutrition degree before embarking on your career.