What Is the Starting Salary for a Dietary Nutritionist?

Dietary nutritionists create and oversee nutritional programs for children, the elderly and the chronically ill. Read on to find out more information about the starting salaries for this career. Schools offering Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Nutritionist Salary Overview

If you're interested in becoming a dietary nutritionist, you can expect to see a wide starting salary range. Nutritionists with less than a year of experience in the 10th-90th percentile earned a salary between $29,150 and $62,510 per year as of September 2015, reported PayScale.com. In contrast, most professionals of all experience levels made between $34,203 and $81,094 annually at that time. Your starting salary can depend on several factors, including your employer, the certification that you earn and your geographic location.

Important Facts About Dietary Nutritionist

Required EducationBachelor's degree in dietetics, foods and nutrition, food service systems management, clinical nutrition
On-the-job TrainingInternship
Key SkillsAnalytical, compassionate, good at listening, organizing, problem-solving and speaking

Salary Based on Employer

As a dietary nutritionist, you might work for hospitals, outpatient care centers, nursing care facilities or physician offices. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most dietitians and nutritionists were employed at hospitals and made an average yearly salary of $57,440 as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). Those working at nursing care facilities made an average wage of $57,540 per year, while dietitians at outpatient care centers made higher average salaries of $61,850 annually.

Dietary nutritionists employed in the education field usually receive greater starting salaries than those who work in other sectors. The highest-paying industry for dietitians and nutritionists was in educational support services; the yearly average salary for professionals in this sector was $82,280 as of May 2014, according to the BLS. However, this industry only employed 40 workers. The Federal Executive Branch also offered competitive salaries, employing 2,070 nutritionists and dietitians, and paying them an average wage of $69,450 yearly.

Salary Based on Certification

Your starting salary as a dietary nutritionist can depend not only on the type of position that you take, but also if you earn certification from an accredited organization. The BLS reported that those who earn certification, in addition to receiving a nutrition or dietetics bachelor's degree, should have the best job prospects. The most common certification is the Registered Dietitian (RD) designation, which is awarded by the American Dietetic Association's Commission on Dietetic Registration. To become an RD, you must earn a bachelor's degree, complete dietetic coursework, finish a supervised internship program and pass a national exam. According to PayScale.com, RDs in the 10th-90th percentile earned $39,319 to $65,025 per year as of September 2015.

Salary Based on Region

If you're just starting your career as a dietary nutritionist, your income will vary according to where you work. The BLS reported that the states with the greatest number of dietitians and nutritionists were California, New York and Texas. California offered an average yearly salary of $72,010 as of May 2014, which was well above the average salary nationwide. New York paid workers an average income of $61,210 per year, while the average annual salary for professionals in Texas was $56,250.

The state that paid nutritionists and dietitians the highest salary was California. Maryland came in second with a mean wage of $66,340. Other states with high mean wages included Nevada ($65,600) and Connecticut ($64,970). Some states with low mean wages between $31,850 and $51,310 included Pennsylvania, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Utah and Montana.

Job Description & Outlook

Dietary nutritionists are professionals who promote healthy food choices, and advise clients about diet and nutrition. Their job includes the following:

  • Determine a client's dietary restrictions and needs
  • Develop meal plans
  • Counsel clients
  • Document and write reports about client's progress
  • Stay up-to-date with nutritional research

The BLS expects faster-than-average employment growth for dietitians and nutritionists over the 2012 through 2022 decade. A 16% uptick in employment is expected, which will result in 66,700 new jobs in 2014.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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