Steps to Becoming a Nutritionist – A Career Plan
Become a Nutritionist
Passionate about nutrition? Early planning can help turn the passion into a lifelong career.
Use your high school years to get a good academic foundation. Take a general college prep track with plenty of science courses. Also take a health exploration class and work on your composition and presentation skills.
Begin building your resume. Many nutritionists work in public health. A great way to begin getting some experience is to volunteer. There are many options. If you are interested in child nutrition, you might try Head Start. You can also look for summer internships. You might try searching under public health as well as nutrition. As a college student, you’ll want to refine your search and look for experiences tailored to your specialty. There are fewer internships for high school students, though, so even those that are only loosely related will help build your resume.
Research programs. Make sure you know what certifications and careers they’ll prepare you for. If you want to help people manage illness through diet, you’ll want to do a dietetic program or combined nutrition/ dietetics program accredited by CADE (the Commission on Accreditation of Dietetics Education). If you want to go into the public health or wellness arenas and advise the public about healthy choices, then a program in nutrition is a good choice. Some aspiring health professionals pursue nutrition as a dual degree or as an undergraduate major in a field that requires graduate level education.
During your undergraduate years, take advantage of opportunities inside and outside the classroom. You can become a student member of the Society for Nutrition Education for $60. This allows you to network as well as well as browse professional resources.
You may want to pursue a graduate degree. A graduate degree can make you eligible for more certifications and otherwise enhance your career. According to the Society for Nutrition Education, graduate programs in public health nutrition will want to see commitment in the form of volunteer or paid experience.
Now it’s time to establish your career. You can search for positions on the site of Nutrition Jobs — one category you may find particularly helpful is public health nutrition.
Personality Traits: Employers seek candidates who are organized, outgoing, and have good interpersonal skills.