There are a few different careers that a graduate with a master's degree in nutrition can consider. Two of the most popular are nutritionists (or dietitians) and professors. Nutritionists do not necessarily need a master's degree to practice but professors do in order to teach at the postsecondary level.
Master's degree programs in nutrition generally train students to work as nutritionists and dietitians, but these programs can also prepare students to work in other fields, such as in postsecondary education. These degree programs often offer specializations, such as clinical nutrition or food science, and include coursework in vitamins and minerals, macronutrients and micronutrients, developmental nutrition and public health. It's common for graduate nutrition programs to require students to complete a research thesis project. Students seeking licensure or Registered Dietitian (RD) credentials should seek programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
|Career Titles||Dietitians & Nutritionists||Postsecondary Teachers|
|Education Requirements||A bachelor's or master's degree in dietetics, clinical nutrition, foods and nutrition or food service systems management||A master's degree for teaching at 2-year schools; Ph.D. is most common requirement|
|Other Requirements||RD or licensure required in some states||n/a|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||16%||13%|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$57,910||$63,000|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job options for those holding master's degrees in nutrition range from nutrition educators to nutrition therapists or research dietitians. Nutrition professionals can be found working in the public policy arena, advocating for better community health through nutrition. Others work as wellness and nutrition writers or as nutritional products developers. Some dietitians and nutritionists focus in specialized areas, such as geriatric, pediatric or sports nutrition. The majority of dietitians and nutritionists work for large private or public institutions, including healthcare facilities, schools or food service management companies. Learn about a few careers where
Dietitians & Nutritionists
Dietitians and nutritionists offer counsel on matters of nutrition and healthy eating. They create meal plans and evaluate their effects. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment rates for dietitians and nutritionists are expected to increase by 16% during the decade spanning 2014 and 2024. In May of 2015, the median salary for these professionals was $57,910.
Most states require licensure, certification or registration of dietitians and nutritionists. The rules and regulations for licensure vary by state. At a minimum, a bachelor's degree in nutrition is required, although some states might require master's degrees. An additional requirement might include becoming a registered dietitian prior to acquiring licensure. The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) offers seven credential awards, including the Registered Dietitian (RD) and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).
Postsecondary nutrition teachers instruct students in the subject at the college and university level. They might conduct nutrition research and publish their findings, create assignments, and develop instructional plans. An employment growth rate of 13% was predicted for the 2014-2024 decade. In 2015, postsecondary teachers earned median annual salaries of $63,000, per the BLS.
A master's degree in nutrition can offer students multiple specializations in order to prepare them for their careers in nutrition or academia. Nutritionists and dietitians can use their degree in offering advice and nutrition planning for clients and usually require licensure or certification along with their degree. Postsecondary teachers need their degree in order to teach nutrition at the university level.