How to Become a Nutritionist
The importance of nutritionists in the healthcare industry is undeniable. A certified nutritionist’s role is valuable and essential in helping people get healthier and remain healthy. The area of expertise is knowledge of a healthy diet. Do you want to become a nutritionist someday? Continue reading below for information on how to become a nutritionist.
What Are The Requirements?
- Degree In Nutrition
The most basic requirement to have a career as a nutritionist is to enroll in an accredited college or university that offers a nutrition degree. To speed up your career pursuit, you can take accelerated online degrees. This is the center of your academic study when pursuing a career in clinical nutrition. So, what degree do you need? There are different types of degrees for undergraduate students. You can choose to enroll for an associate degree, which will only take around 6 months to complete. For more comprehensive nutrition training, a bachelor’s degree is preferred. If you are working at the same time, you can opt for easy bachelor degrees. This can be completed within 4 years. You can also pursue a post-graduate degree later on if you choose to broaden your career opportunities.
All degree programs will include subjects like biochemistry, anatomy, biology, physiology and chemistry. Aside from the classroom lectures (unless you are taking the quickest online degree, extensive hands-on training is needed as well. This will be part of the nutrition curriculum as you will have to work with patients in assessing their dietary problems and recommending diet plans to follow. All these efforts are to ensure that the weight loss and fitness needs of a patient are met.
Today, students get choose to get a degree through a traditional college or online college. Both methods offer high quality of education. Nonetheless, it is important that you check out the curriculum for the nutrition program first to make sure there is balance between clinical training and classroom lectures. Internship programs are a must too as you need to work with professionals as well. Working alongside registered dieticians and certified nutritionists will be a huge plus in your experience before you graduate.
The next step to become a professional nutritionist is to obtain your nutrition certification. Each certification requirement will vary in each state. Some states require that you become a licensed nutritionist while some are good with a certification only. To become a certified nutritionist, you should attend a school with an accredited nutrition program. Once you finish that degree program, you will be eligible for certification. The requirement will vary too. Some states require that a student should have at least a bachelor’s degree in nutrition to become a certified nutritionist.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Nutritionist?
The bulk of the time to become a nutritionist will depend on what type of degree you want to pursue. Of course, if you choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree, it will take you longer to become a nutritionist. If you are on a budget, consider the cheapest online degrees. If you plan to complete post-graduate degrees, expect at least 6-7 years in college. Some students will take the easy road by getting the degrees, which are shorter to complete. However, students who choose this path might lack the necessary nutrition study and training needed.
What Courses Should Be Completed?
To become a nutritionist, there are certain courses in nutrition that needs to be completed. You must know that the more training and knowledge you acquire from college, the better your chances will be in being a successful nutritionist. Courses in a nutrition degree program will focus on the basics of nutrition, relationship between food choices and lifestyle, how nutrition plays in physical health, and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Specific courses that will be taken up includes chemistry, food service system management, weight management, biology, microbiology, health, physiology, food and nutrition sciences, exercise and culinary arts. Other courses are economics, sociology, statistics, computer science, math and communications.
Now I Know How To Become A Nutritionist, What Jobs Can I Apply For?
Being a nutritionist is great because there are so many choices with careers in nutrition. Whether you have a degree or certification, there are plenty of jobs in nutrition available for you. As a certified nutritionist, you can work in hospitals, nursing homes, private clinics, hospices, occupational therapy clinics and other healthcare facilities. You can work with chiropractors and massage therapists as well. Here is a list of some of the jobs you can pursue:
- Clinical Dietician- A clinical dietician is responsible for helping patients with their diets to improve a certain health issue or medical condition. Clinical dieticians work in hospitals and nursing homes.
- Community Dietician- The job of a community dietician is similar to that of a clinical dietician except that community dieticians work in community centers. Such community centers are government-funded. Community dieticians offer free private counseling to individuals.
- Nutrition Educator- As the name suggests, a nutrition educator educates people about proper nutrition. A nutrition educator can go to schools, offices, communities and medical facilities to teach them about the latest developments in nutrition and teach people how to combat the most rampant diseases of today.
- Food Service Manager- A food service manager is someone who plans menus for restaurants. Foods in restaurants should be able to pass the FDA standards and requirements for food intake. Hence, the knowledge of nutritionists will be very helpful in this field.
Now that you know how to become a nutritionist and the careers that comes with it, you can start your way to becoming one. Being a nutritionist is a lot of fun and surely, you will enjoy this job for the rest of your life.
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