Earning a degree focused in nutrition can have many potential career paths other than becoming a nutritionist. There are six main types of nutrition paths to choose from, including teaching nutrition, public health nutrition, nutrition consulting, clinical nutrition, food science, and food service management. Most nutrition jobs should fall within one of these categories.
A degree in nutrition could help individuals land employment as a public health official, dietetic consultant, school food service director, quality control manager, food distributor, or wellness coordinator. Individuals may be employed through health maintenance organizations, school systems, food manufactures, wellness centers, and exercise and fitness centers. Government agencies also have the potential to employ those with degrees in nutrition. Some of the government agencies could include Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program, SNAP- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Department of Health, and U.S. Public Health Services.
While earning a college degree, individuals will most likely be required to study a wide range of courses to gain a well-rounded education. Students could be expected to take courses related to nutrition, consisting of anatomy and physiology, introduction to food science, sociology, bacteriology, chemistry, and biochemistry. By completing an internship, individuals are able to gain hands on experience in the nutrition field before committing to a job or while still in school. Internships can serve as a great way to determine where your interests are, and if obtaining a career in this field is a good fit.
It is important for individuals wanting to succeed in a career in nutrition to possess skills such as organization and planning, strong verbal and written communication, proficient math skills for weights and measures, and interest in the well-being and health of others. To be successful working in nutrition, individuals may be required to advise patients in practicing good nutrition, monitoring diet modifications, and assessing health plans. Those with a degree in nutrition should also be able to monitor food safety conditions and create menus for specific dietary needs.
Depending on your place of employment and job description, individuals with a nutrition degree may be asked to create visuals aids and nutrition manuals that could be useful in teaching. Companies dealing with food service may hire nutrition graduates to create meal plans, ensure food safety, or develop new food products. Salary potential can depend on more than the actual job, but also education level, years of experience, and location of employment.