How to Become a Public Health Nutritionist

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How to Become a Public Health Nutritionist: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a public health nutritionist, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits.

 

If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a public health nutritionist:

 

• You have a keen interest in science, food and nutrition

• You have an interest in the overall health of our society

•  You have an interest in motivating members of the public to develop healthier nutritional habits

•  You have an interest in providing people with information they can use over the long-term

• You enjoy variety in your work

 

Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a public health nutritionist. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!

 

 

Education Required to Become a Public Health Nutritionist

A bachelor’s degree with a major in dietetics, food and nutrition, food service systems management, or a related field, will typically qualify you for entry-level public health nutritionist jobs, such as program assistant or program coordinator.

 

Having a master's degree in a field related to community nutrition will typically qualify you to work in mid or senior-level public health nutritionist positions.

 

 

 

Public Health Nutritionist Job Description

A public health nutritionist is responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating nutrition programs and services for the general public. They are concerned with promoting educational and environmental approaches to improved nutrition in order to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and obesity in our society.

 

The specific job description of a public health nutritionist varies, as they may work in different capacities, and with different levels of responsibility. For example, some public health nutritionists may work in entry-level positions (such as those with a bachelor’s degree), in which they may be responsible for performing administrative work relating to these nutritional health programs and services. This type of work may include creating pamphlets and other materials, or answering basic questions from the general public regarding health and nutrition.

 

Mid and senior-level public health nutritionists, such as those with advanced degrees or Registered Dietitian (RD) accreditation, are typically responsible for creating and evaluating nutritional health programs and services.

 

 

Public Health Nutritionist Job Duties

• Apply population-based research findings to the development and implementation of nutrition policies and programs 

• Develop effective strategies for advocating for improved nutrition and physical activity among diverse population groups

• Create effective strategies for promoting policies to ensure the safe production, distribution, and consumption of food

• Provide food and nutrition advisory services to the public in person, over e-mail, or by phone

• Organize community education campaigns and events promoting healthy eating habits

• Conduct orientations for new public health staff, students and volunteers

• Liaise with other team members, such as social workers and nurses

• May be involved in educational seminars at schools and other venues

• Attend industry educational seminars in order to maintain and upgrade professional competency

• Serve on relevant community committees

 

 

Who Creates Jobs for Public Health Nutritionists?

Public health nutritionists may be hired on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis by organizations involved in developing, evaluating or providing nutrition-based health programs and services. Such organizations include:

 

• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government departments

• International health and aid organizations

• Non-profit and not-for-profit organizations

• Community groups and agencies

• Schools, colleges and universities

 

 

Find Public Health Nutritionist Job Opportunities

Public Health Nutritionist Jobs - Canada

 

Public Health Nutritionist Jobs - United States

 


 

 

 

Skills Needed to Become a Public Health Nutritionist

In order to become effective in a career as a public health nutritionist, and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses a certain set of skills. These skills are gained as a result of relevant post-secondary education and/or years of experience in the field of public nutrition.

 

• Able to identify and assess diet-related health problems among diverse population groups

• Able to identify the social, cultural, economic, environmental, and institutional factors that contribute poor dietary health

• Able to demonstrate the linkages between agriculture, food, nutrition, and public health

• Able to develop educational, institutional, and other population-based strategies to improve food security

• Able to develop policies to reduce barriers to food security

• Able to identify the social, cultural, economic, environmental, and institutional factors that contribute poor dietary health

• Able to develop policies that help improve the food and activity choices and nutritional status of diverse population groups

 

 

Characteristics Needed to Become a Public Health Nutritionist

In order to enjoy performing the duties of a public health nutritionist, you need to have certain personality traits. Taking enjoyment from your duties as a public health nutritionist is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which usually leads to having a long and successful career.

 

• A keen interest in health and nutrition

• An interest in applying skills and knowledge to an area that makes a difference in people’s lives

• An interest in providing people with information they can use over the long-term

• An interest in motivating members of the public to develop healthier nutritional habits

• An interest in having variety and challenge in the workplace

• Honest, empathetic, ethical and responsible

 

 

Public Health Nutritionist Salary

The salary level of public health nutritionists can vary, depending on factors such as their level of education, their level of experience and aptitude, the size and type of their employer, and the specific responsibilities of their job.

 

Public Health Nutritionist Salary Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Dietitians and Nutritionists occupational group earn an average salary of $73,064.00 per year.

 

Public Health Nutritionist Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Dietitians and Nutritionists occupational group is $48,610 per year.

 

Public Health Nutritionist Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for American workers in the Dietitians and Nutritionists occupational group is $55,240. 

 

 

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Careers Similar to Public Health Nutritionist

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Public Health Nutritionist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.

 

Clinical Nutritionist

Dietitian

Health Educator

Public Health Inspector

Social Worker

 

 

References

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a nutritionist.

 

Alberta Learning and Information Service website: alis.alberta.ca

Dietitians of Canada website: www.dietitians.ca

Mount Saint Vincent University website: www.msvu.ca

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov

 

 

Scholarships for Becoming a Public Health Nutritionist

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Public Health Nutritionist can be found on our Nutrition Scholarships page.

 

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!

 

 

Becoming a Public Health Nutritionist: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a public health nutritionist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!

 

Nutrition  

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