Clinical Nutritionist

A career as a clinical nutritionist requires at least a bachelor's degree in food science or a similar field, although a master's degree or even doctoral degree is encouraged. Many states require some form of certification or professional licensure. Read on to see if a career as a clinical nutritionist is right for you.

Is Working as a Clinical Nutritionist for Me?

Career Overview

As a clinical nutritionist, you would create custom meal programs for ailing patients and educate them on proper diet and nutrition for optimum health. You would need to earn at least a bachelor's degree in dietetics or nutrition, as well as meet the licensing and certification requirements of the state you plan to work in. Most degree programs in the field include general education courses, but also focus on biology, chemistry and nutrition.

As a clinical nutritionist, you will work mostly in nursing homes and hospitals. You will work with doctors to ensure that ailing patients receive proper nutrition during treatments. You should enjoy helping people if you choose this career, as some of your clients may be sick, elderly or dying. The best clinical nutritionists are caring, compassionate and dedicated to helping others choose a nutritious and balanced diet. This is a flexible career in terms of work hours and type of work available. This field is regulated in many states, requiring certification or licensing. By receiving specialized training in clinical nutrition, you can compete for the best job opportunities.

Employment Information

According to the BLS, more than 67,000 jobs were held by dietitians and nutritionists in 2012. In addition, the BLS estimated that between 2012-2022, employment in the field should increase by 21%. Furthermore, the BLS estimated that these professionals earned a mean annual wage of $56,300 in May 2013 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Become a Clinical Nutritionist?

Undergraduate Education

A bachelor's degree in nutrition should provide you with a strong foundation in science, mathematics and biology. In addition, courses in systems physiology, biochemistry and molecular biology may be required. After graduation, you must participate in a supervised internship accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) that can last 6-12 months. Afterwards, you can take the national examination.

Licensing and Certification

Many states require you to obtain licensure before you can work as a clinical nutritionist. You can also obtain the voluntary Registered Dietitian (RD) credential from the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association. To earn this credential, you must possess at least a bachelor's degree, complete an internship in dietetics and pass the registration examination.

Graduate Education

Once you have earned your Registered Dietitian (RD) credential, you can pursue a master's degree in clinical nutrition. These programs can range from 2-3 years of study. Curricula include advanced courses in nutrition; areas of nutrition such as sports, pediatric and nutrition for the aging; eating disorders; weight management; food policy and public health. Typically, you are required to conduct research on a specific area of clinical nutrition and complete a thesis project in order to graduate.

Doctorate degrees are available in nutrition if you are looking to teach in universities, but these advanced degrees are not required for employment as a clinical nutritionist. Areas of study may include nutritional biochemistry, community nutrition, applied nutrition or physiology.

Related Articles for Clinical Nutritionist

View More Articles

Related Videos

  • What is Clinical Psychology? - Video

    Clinical Psychology is the largest and most popular sub-field of psychology. People who work in Clinical Psychology are known as clinical psychologists. These professionals assess, diagnose and treat mental disorders.
  • Master's Degrees in Clinical Research Administration - Video

    A masters in Clinical Research Administration is a good degree for students who want to research and develop pharmaceutical products and medical devices. Most masters programs combine instruction in health science, health policy and clinical administration to prepare students for a wide range of careers.
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »