Nutrition and Fitness Majors: Salary and Career Facts

Nutrition and fitness majors may pursue careers as dietitians, consultants, food microbiologists, rehabilitation specialists and health educators. Find out what you will learn, where you might work and how much you can earn with a degree in this field of study. Schools offering Fitness & Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Career Options for Nutrition and Fitness Graduates?

With a bachelor's degree in nutrition, you may pursue careers as a dietitian, nutritionist or health educator. As a dietitian or nutritionist, you will work with clients to assess their nutritional needs and plan out meal plans to meet those needs. You will also help clients develop healthy eating habits. To ensure that your work is effective, you will monitor clients progress and the health effects of meal plans. Health educators help communities maintain the health and wellness of citizens through education events. These professionals may also direct individuals to the health services they need and assess health data. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter these fields.

Dietitians and Nutritionists Health Educators
Degree Required Bachelor's or master's degree Bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree
Education Field of Study Nutrition and fitness Health education or similar field
Key Responsibilities Interview clients, create diet plans, teach healthy eating habits and monitor treatment progress Determine health needs in various communities, develop health education programming, analyze community data
Licensure/Certification Licensure typically required Certification sometimes required
Job Growth (2014-2024) 16%* 12%*
Median Salary (2015) $57,910* $51,960*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What will a Major in Nutrition and Fitness Teach Me?

Depending on the program level you're at (undergraduate or graduate), your course study may vary. The primary focus of a nutrition and fitness major is to aid in healthy eating, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices for members of a community. Some programs focus primarily on sports nutrition, while others focus on other areas, such as the eating and exercise habits of the elderly.

Courses you can expect to take in a nutrition and fitness concentration cover nutrition, human anatomy, cultural anthropology, food science, assessment, organic chemistry, exercise training, sport science, emergency care and microbiology. These are only some of the general courses you can take; they do not include some of the specialized major or concentration courses.

What Programs Are Available?

Undergraduate and graduate degrees are available in the nutrition and fitness field. You can earn a Master of Science in Nutrition and Fitness degree through many colleges. Though nutrition and fitness majors are widely available, many colleges use varying titles for their concentrations, such as exercise, food science, sport and exercise, dietetics, nutritional sciences and human nutrition. Almost all of these majors incorporate similar courses. Depending on where you attend school, a nutrition and fitness major may be titled something different at your college.

What Types of Careers are Available?

Careers for nutrition and fitness majors are pretty diverse. Typically, all careers lead to the health and well-being of people in your community. If you have a baccalaureate degree, you can expect to find work as dietitians or nutritionists. Also, there is a possibility of teaching adult nutrition or fitness courses at local community centers.

With a graduate degree, more career opportunities are opened for you. You could work in cardiac rehabilitation, clinical nutrition, sports nutrition, gerontology, food safety, teaching and wellness coordinating.

What Could I Make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, dietitians and nutritionists made a median of $57,910 as of May 2015. In grantmaking and giving services, these professionals made an average salary of $73,100. As a health educator, you can make upwards of $92,950 but are more likely to make around the median salary of $51,960.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Nursing and rehabilitation counseling are two career paths that share some of the same responsibilities as dietitians, nutritionists and health educators. Registered nurses (RNs) are one level of nursing that allows professionals to help patient understand the medical care they are receiving. In addition to general nursing duties, RNs may help educate the public about health conditions. RNs typically have either an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree and state licensure. Rehabilitation counselors work with individuals to help them overcome mental, emotional and physical disabilities. They use a wide array of techniques and tools, including muscle treatments and physical assisting technologies. Most rehab counselors have a master's degree, and licensure may be required in some states.

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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