Master's in Nutrition: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue with a master's in nutrition. Read on to learn more about career options along with information on licensing requirements and potential earnings. Schools offering Fitness & Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can You Do With a Master's in Nutrition?

A master's degree in nutrition can help you advance your career or, if you have an undergraduate degree in an unrelated area, pursue state licensure in a new occupation. You might work as a registered dietitian or nutritionist, or as a public health educator. Dietitians and nutritionists use their skills to counsel others on proper diet to help them lose weight, improve their physical health, and manage ailments. Public health educators also teach others about maintaining healthy lifestyles through their work on campaigns that cover topics such as nutrition, immunization, and stress management. Licensure or certification is typically required for dieticians and nutritionists, and some employers may require that health educators earn certification.

The following chart provides side-by-side information on these careers.

Dietitian or Nutritionist Public Health Educator
Training Required Internship Not applicable
Key Responsibilities Speak to individual clients as well as groups about diet and health or using diet to manage disease, create meal plans, follow current research on nutrition Teach about health and wellness, develop education programs and supervise those who run them, educate others about disease management
Licensure/Certification Required in most states Varies by employer
Job Growth (2014-2024) 16% (faster than average)* 13% (faster than average)*
Average Salary (2015) $58,410* $56,690*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career and Salary Overview for Individuals with a Master's Degree in Nutrition

A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for many careers in nutrition, although master's degrees and other advanced degrees widen a graduate's career possibilities. For example, specialized master's degree-level nutrition programs are available with concentrations in such areas as community health, agriculture, and food policy. A master's degree in nutrition can take 2-3 years to complete.

What Nutrition Careers Are Out There?

With your master's degree and further training, you can work as a registered dietitian or nutritionist. As a registered dietitian, you could work in private practice, in research departments, or in a community setting as a public health educator. As a registered dietitian, you could promote health through planning food service programs and consulting with individuals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015, registered dietitians earned an average salary of $58,410 annually. (www.bls.gov).

A public health educator is responsible for addressing the needs of the community where he or she works and for developing programs and policies that foster healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits. Other job duties you'd have as a public health educator can include the administration of financial resources. The BLS states that health educators earned an average salary of $56,690 per year in May 2015.

What Are My Licensure Requirements?

Most states require dietitians and nutritionists to be licensed, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov). Licensure is typically earned through a state's board of nutrition or health services department. In most cases, you need only a bachelor's degree in nutrition to pursue licensure, but if you have a bachelor's degree in another area, pursuing a masters' degree program can make you eligible for licensure.

You may also pursue certification from the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) of the American Dietetic Association. An applicant must have a degree, complete a didactic program, combining education and hands-on experience and pass an examination for certification, according to the CDR (www.cdrnet.org). Applicants must also create a portfolio illustrating their professional development activities, reports the CDR.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

While not as specialized or in-depth as a public health educator, home economics teachers typically include nutrition and health as part of their curriculum, along with other useful skills for maintaining a home and learning basic skills. An epidemiologist observes public health records in order to identify patterns and causes for different ailments in the human population with the goal of reducing or eliminating certain risk factors. Management dietitians comprise a specialized type of dietitian that work in food service settings, planning meals based on nutrition, as well as overseeing other workers (including dietitians), performing management tasks, and occasionally buying food.

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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