5 Steps Towards Kickstarting Your Career as a Nutritionist

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
May 3, 2020

May 3, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

For a lot of people, being passionate about health and nutrition is more than just a hobby, or just for personal growth. Being able to share your talent with others, and grow your knowledge about the subject is a great way to live your life. It’s important, especially in today's busy world, to have a job that you enjoy. So if you love improving your body and staying healthy, and sharing that knowledge with others, becoming a nutritionist might just be the right step to take!

Schooling

I know, no one actually likes to hear that they need to go to school to become a dietician or nutritionist, or for any job they’re interested in really, but in this case, it’s pretty important. When you’re learning to become a nutritionist, it’s more than just “what’s healthy.” Eating greens and balancing proteins or even tracking macros doesn’t make you a dietician. You need to know a lot of what makes up different food, how they interact or compliment each other and the body, and things to avoid. It’s also important to know how different foods will affect different body types, how to eat with certain allergies, etc. There's a lot to understand when it comes to becoming a professional. That’s why to become a nutritionist, most people need a bachelor’s degree to get verified, however in the future they may require a graduate degree.

Research

Another part of a career that no one wants to hear about - the research. Whether you want to become a nutritionist or not, making sure that you do proper research is key to making sure you enter a field that you’ll enjoy. When it comes to being a nutritionist, make sure you take your time to participate in some job shadowing , or if you’re lucky an internship. This is the best way to get a good understanding of what it’ll be like working as one, without having to fully commit a lot of time and money into becoming one. It’s also worth your time to do a quick google search, and try to find out what people think it’s like working as a nutritionist, what different job types are available, and what it’s like working with different age groups or in different locations.

Understanding New Supplements

With the world constantly changing, food and supplements aren’t sitting around. For example, nowadays, a lot of the time beef isn’t just… beef. There are so many different additives in even organic foods to help preserve, enhance color or taste, or to make “addicting.” With so many new additions to foods, it’s important to know what different chemicals businesses are putting in foods, and how those affect the food itself, as well as the human body. You need to be able to determine whether a certain ingredient is safe on a case to case basis. In the case of animal foods, you’ll need to understand how different foods and chemicals affect them as well. But there are also new developments. Things like Vitamin C Powder , pills, gummies, and more are being made every day to help get you the vitamins you need, without the accompanying food or environment. There are also muscle building supplements that you need to take into mind, and make sure that you’re keeping everything safe and effective. Needless to say, it’s just more research and more schooling.

Picking a Field

So you’re willing to commit to the extensive learning and dedication it takes to become a nutritionist. You’ve done your research, and now you just need to get started. Well almost, starting school at this stage is the right thing to do, however when it comes to a career, you still need to decide which type of nutritionist you want to be. For example, you could be a general nutritionist, or you could specialize. You need to decide if you want to work with supplements or with normal foods.Do you want to focus on animal nutrition or human nutrition? There's a lot to think about, and what you decide here could drastically change your whole career path. If you decide to specialize in a certain food, such as beef, you’ll need to undergo more schooling and learning to get a hang of it, but you’ll also be paid much better for your efforts. What you decide to specialize in, if you want to at all, will not only decide where you work and your salary, but the people you work with, and what food groups you work with.

But You Already Have a Bachelor’s Degree

Ok so you’re still interested in becoming a nutritionist, you’ve done all the necessary research, picked a field, but what about if you already have a bachelor’s degree in something else? Does that count towards anything? The short answer is yes. Having a bachelor’s degree will demonstrate that you know what you’re doing to some extent and are willing to learn, but that doesn’t mean you get a free pass. If you already have a 4-year degree, you’ll need to complete a Didactic Program in Dietetics, and get verified by an ACEND-accredited program. Although this means that you aren’t off the hook, it will be much faster than getting a second bachelor’s degree, and will allow you to get all of the information you need to get started on your path to becoming a successful nutritionist.

The Summary

In the end, becoming a nutritionist or dietician is a great option for many people aspiring to grow their knowledge and help others to become healthier and happier. So long as you do the proper research, go through the schooling, and make sure you find a field in nutrition that you like, it’s bound to be one of the most enjoyable careers you can have. But if you do decide to dedicate yourself to becoming a successful nutritionist, just make sure that you follow your own practices. Eat healthy, stay fit, and don’t lounge around too much!