Nutrition Careers: What You Can Do With This Degree

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Career Options with a Nutrition Degree in the United States

There are a wide range of careers you can pursue with your nutrition degree in the United States (and Canada); it all depends on your ambitions and interests.


From Dietitian to Sports Nutritionist to New Food Product Developer, there are many exciting things you can do with a nutrition degree.


For some careers in nutrition, additional training or certification may be necessary. As luck would have it, a bachelor’s degree in nutrition provides a great foundation for aspiring nutritionists to take the necessary exams to become registered or certified professionals.





Job Board for Nutrition Students & Grads





For those who want to continue in academics, a degree in nutrition also serves as great preparation for further professional or graduate study in fields such as Medicine and Dentistry.


So, if you want to know more about where this degree can take you, read on below. This nutrition careers guide contains detailed occupational information on career paths relevant to this degree. Included are job descriptions, expected salaries, educational requirements and other pertinent information related to these careers. We’ve also included nutrition-specific scholarships to help you pay for school!



What a Nutrition Degree Program Can Teach You

Nutrition degree programs typically aim to provide you with the skills, knowledge and competencies to become an effective practitioner in entry-level nutrition careers upon graduation. In order to accomplish these goals, certain educational objectives must be met.


These objectives typically include the development of a strong foundation in basic science, a thorough understanding of nutrient functions as well as their sources, and knowledge in areas such as food science and public policy.


Courses in Nutrition programs typically include:


• Advanced Nutrition

• Anatomy & Physiology

• Biochemistry





Career Guides Related to a Nutrition Degree

The knowledge and skills you can gain by studying nutrition at the university level serve as an excellent foundation for a variety of careers.


Below, we’ve chosen careers that we feel relate to a nutrition degree, either because the subject matter of the degree relates to the occupational field, or because the skills you’ll need to be an effective employee can be gained in a nutrition degree program. Please note, this is not an inclusive list:



Clinical Nutritionist

Consumer Advocate




Food Chemist

Food Microbiologist

Food Packaging Specialist

Food Process Engineer

Food Production Manager

Food Safety Auditor

Food Scientist

Food Service Manager

Food Technologist

Health Care Aide

Health Educator

Home Economist

International Aid Worker

Laboratory Manager

Medical Writer

New Food Product Developer

Nutrition Consultant


Product Manager

• Public Health Director

Public Health Nutritionist

Public Health Planner

Quality Control Specialist

Registered Nurse

Regulatory Affairs Manager

Regulatory Affairs Specialist

Research Assistant

Research Chef

Retail Sales Associate

Sales Representative

Sensory Scientist

Sports Nutritionist

University Professor

Wellness Coordinator

Please Note: Some of the above listed careers require additional education, training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the qualifications you’ll need.



Who Employs Nutrition Graduates? Where Might You Find Work?

Below are examples of the types of employers that are interested in employing the specific skill set and knowledge base that a Nutrition graduate can bring to the table:


Hospitals, Health Centers and Clinics: Regional hospitals offer employment in nutrition related roles such as Dietician or Dietetic Consultant. Individuals with degrees in nutrition can also find employment in Food and Nutritional Services within the healthcare field.


Amateur and Professional Sports Teams: Nutritionists are often hired by sports teams, as well as individual athletes, to compile the most effective and healthy eating plan for each individual or the team in general. These sports nutritionists use a combination of education, observations, and medical tests to determine what diet will be the safest and most effective for the athlete(s).


Food Product Developers: Companies that specialize in food services and products hire nutrition graduates for in various departments, including culinary, finance, human resources, marketing, sales, and for creating new food products or developing technology related to the enhancement of existing products. These companies may also hire nutrition graduates to manage certain projects, or to ensure food safety regulations are being adhered to.


Home Health Care providers: There are many opportunities for nutrition graduates to work with home health care providers. For example, they may perform such duties as counseling people who are housebound on special diets, train and educate people who are on feeding tubes, or help families plan healthy meal ideas.


Nursing Homes: Nutritionists and Dieticians that work in nursing homes typically plan menus that will provide the best nutrition for residents. They must also ensure meals are prepared and delivered safely.


Diabetes Care Clinics: Nutrition and dieticians working in diabetes care clinics are responsible for counseling and educating clients who are living with diabetes or trying to prevent diabetes.


Exercise and Fitness Centres: Nutrition careers in health and fitness centres involve teaching recreational athletes about how to use nutrition to lose weight, hydrate, eat properly to prepare for competitions, and educate the athletes regarding other nutrition concerns related to physical activity.


School Districts: A Bachelor of Science in Nutrition is a great foundation for anyone interested in becoming a teacher in subjects like food science, home economics, nutrition, or other sciences at the elementary or secondary school levels.


Government Agencies: There are a wide variety of nutrition careers with Government agencies such as Health Canada. Such careers may involve developing food plan and nutrition policies, as well as providing strategic advice to different levels of government concerning public health issues relating to nutrition.


Public or Private Research: Senior level nutrition careers in research typically involve planning, directing and executing research projects relating to increasing knowledge surrounding the relationship between nutrition and health.


Pharmaceutical Companies: When employed by the pharmaceutical industry, nutrition experts often work as part of a team composed of various health and business professionals in order to test new medications and supplements, or develop new pharmaceutical products.




Nutrition Jobs!

Whether you're a nutrition student looking for a job to help you pay for school, or a graduate looking for an entry or mid-level job, our job board has opportunities directly and indirectly related to your degree.


Find Nutrition Job Opportunities





Major Career Paths for Nutrition Graduates

If you plan on working in a nutrition-related field, you have the choice of taking 1 of 6 major paths. If your professional interests and ambitions fall within one of these areas you are on your way to refining your area of focus for your future career in nutrition.


Clinical Nutrition: Involves the nutrition of patients in health care. Clinical nutritionists aim to keep a healthy energy balance in patients, as well as provide them with sufficient amounts other nutrients such as protein, fats, carbohydrates vitamins and minerals.


Public Health Nutrition: An area of concentration emphasizing the application of food and nutrition knowledge, policy, and research to the improvement of the health of populations.


Food Service Management: Provide nutritional care and supervising food service operations in health care settings and commercial food service establishments.


Food Science: A discipline concerned with examining all technical aspects of food (from its production to consumption) using scientific methods and principles.


Nutrition Consulting: Includes providing nutritional advice to individuals, groups, athletes, or anyone who is interested in utilizing knowledge of nutrition to improve their health or athletic performance.


Teaching Nutrition: Involves teaching nutrition courses at various levels, including high schools, colleges, universities.





Nutrition Graduate Salary: Influencing Factors

The salary you could earn as a nutrition graduate depends on what career you pursue. For example, if you go on to become a crime victim specialist, your earnings may be different, for better or for worse, from what you would earn if you choose to become an airport security officer. Other factors that have an effect on your earnings include:


• Your level of education (such as if you went on to graduate studies)

• The industry in which you find work

• Whether or not you actually end up working in a career related to nutrition

• The type of job you have, and your level of responsibility

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• Other work experience you may have accrued

• Other skills you may have




Sample Salary Figures

Nutrition Graduate Salary Ontario: According to a study in 2011 conducted by the Ontario Council of Universities, $45,104 CAD is the average salary earned by Food Science and Nutrition graduates, 2 years after graduating from Ontario universities in 2010. Unfortunately, there is no reliable information available for the average salary levels of Nutrition graduates in the United States, or the rest of Canada.


Success Tip: To get a better idea of what you could earn, click on some of the career fields listed above, in the "Career Guides Related to a Nutrition Degree" section. It is more accurate (although still not perfect) to estimate your potential future salary based on the career field you plan on pursuing, rather than by your general degree.



Gaining Experience in Nutrition Careers as a Student

Pursuing an internship (may also be known as a practicum, field placement, or co-op work opportunity) in career fields related to your nutrition degree is the best way to gain relevant work experience while you’re still in school. These opportunities allow you to gain professional competencies, while simultaneously offering employers valuable temporary team members.


An internship position can also result in being hired by the sponsoring organization upon graduation. If you’ve done quality work and made a good impression, chances are that organization will want to retain you on a full-time basis once you’ve graduated. They will already be familiar with you and your work ethic, and they will save a great deal of time and expense trying to recruit someone else.



Characteristics of a Successful Nutrition Intern

Just because you’ve landed an internship, doesn’t guarantee that your future is solidified. Making a great impression is the key to success in an internship position. Below are some of the traits and characteristics of successful nutrition interns.


• Demonstrate motivation

• Seen as a ‘self-directed’ learner who knows when to ask for help

• Proper preparation for research and similar tasks

• Open minded and non-judgmental

• Respectful to co-workers and others in the building

• Demonstrate a passion for work

• Dedicated and committed work ethic



How Do I Find a Nutrition Internship?

Since these opportunities are often an academic requirement, you will likely have the opportunity arranged for you, or at least a variety of potential options presented to you. If it is not a requirement, speak with your professors, other Nutrition department staff as well as your school’s guidance and career counselors to help you find a suitable opportunity.



How To Prepare For Nutrition Careers While In High School

If you’re a high school student who’s interested in pursuing a career in nutrition, taking classes such as home economics, business, biology, health, mathematics and chemistry will prepare you for the work you will be doing at the university level in your nutrition degree program.


If you’re going to be working to help pay for school, consider applying for work in restaurants, kitchens, hospital kitchens or with health care clinics in order to gain some experience in fields related to nutrition.





Nutrition Scholarships

If you’re a nutrition major looking for help in paying for school, then you’re in luck! Our scholarships database has Canadian and American scholarships that are specific to nutrition.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.



Professional Associations for Careers in Nutrition

To find out more about careers directly related to your nutrition degree, consult the following professional association websites. They offer career-related information, and many have opportunities for student membership, as well as job placement and mentoring opportunities.



Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Canadian Nutrition Society

Canadian Society for Nutrition Management

Dietitians of Canada


United States

American Nutrition Association

American Society for Nutrition

Professionals in Nutrition for Exercise and Sport

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service



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