15 Careers in Nutrition

By Published On: April 29, 2022


Proper nutrition is a major aspect of the health and well-being of all individuals. With a wide variety of nutrition information available in the modern day and age, it is important for people to receive accurate information in order to make good decisions regarding their daily diet.

Careers in nutrition vary widely, from advising and educating to food production and preparation.

Concordia University Chicago’s MS in Applied Exercise Science Sports Nutrition concentration is designed for individuals who aspire to provide sound sports nutrition information to athletes and physically active individuals and focuses on using evidence-based principles in designing and implementing exercise and nutrition programs and interpreting research in the field of exercise and sports nutrition. While some of the careers listed below may require additional education or experience, they all relate to the sports nutrition field.

1. Sports Nutritionist

Sports Nutritionists work with athletes and active individuals to develop nutrition plans to help improve athletic performance and ensure nutritional needs are being met. In addition to earning a degree in nutrition, those pursuing careers as sports nutritionists may seek CISSN certification through the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for dietitians and nutritionists is $61,650. Careers for dietitians and nutritionists are predicted to grow 11% between 2020 and 2030 according to the BLS, which is much faster than the average.

Concordia University Chicago’s Sports Nutrition certification prepares students to sit for the CISSN exam.

2. Food Scientist

Food scientists use science to study the nutritional content of food and research how to make foods safer and healthier. They can work in different aspects of food production and food regulation. According to the BLS, the median salary for agricultural and food scientists is $74,160. Careers for agricultural and food scientists are predicted to grow 9% between 2020 and 2030. Food scientists will typically need at minimum a bachelor’s degree, and often a master’s degree.

3. Health Coach

Health coaches work with individuals of all backgrounds to guide them holistically toward better health. They can work with allied health organizations, gyms and fitness facilities, corporate businesses, or independently. According to salary.com, the average health coach’s salary is $68,915. In addition to earning a degree in nutrition, health coaches can seek certification, such as National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Wellness Coach certification, or ACE Health Coach Certification.

4. Dietitian

In order to become a dietitian, you’ll need to complete an accredited bachelor’s or master’s program in nutrition and receive a verification statement from an ACEND-accredited program. By 2024, you will need to complete an accredited master’s degree. You will also need to complete an ACEND-accredited supervised practice and pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration’s dietetic registration exam. You will also need to gain licensure in your state if your state requires it. According to the BLS, the median salary for dietitians and nutritionists is $61,650. Careers for dietitians and nutritionists are predicted to grow 11% between 2020 and 2030 according to the BLS, which is much faster than the average.

5. Nutrition and Health Education Specialists

Nutrition or health educators work to educate individuals about nutrition and wellness and help promote healthy behaviors. They develop training programs for community health workers and typically work in healthcare-aligned settings, or in nonprofit or government organizations. According to the BLS, the median salary for health education specialists is $48,860. Health education specialists typically need a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

6. Wellness or Nutrition Writer

Those who earn a degree in nutrition may choose to pursue a career in writing, whether for nutrition and health-focused publications and organizations or independently as an author. Those with a nutrition background may also be interested in writing cookbooks that focus on healthy recipes, or food to assist in healing particular ailments. According to the BLS, writers and authors make a median salary of $69,510.

7. Chef or Head Cook

Those with a degree in nutrition may pursue careers in the culinary arts, aiming to make food that is flavorful as well as nutritious. According to the BLS, chefs and head cooks make an annual median salary of $50,160. Jobs for chefs and head cooks are predicted to grow 25% between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than the average.

8. Nutrition Services Manager

As a nutrition services manager, you’d be responsible for large-scale deliveries of nutritionally-appropriate meals, planning meals, managing budgets, and overseeing food preparation. Employment opportunities vary from schools, hospitals, and care facilities, among many more. This specific route of employment is growing 10% faster from 2021-2031 than other occupations. According to the BLS, a nutrition services manager earns an annual median salary of $59,440 per year.

9. Nutrition Assistant

As a nutrition assistant, you can find employment in hospitals, nursing homes care facilities, or other clinical care settings. Nutrition assistants help prepare food, distribute meals, and supervise meal times to make sure patients get the correct nourishment. They will also record what the patients eat and any dietary issues so they can report back to the nutritionist or dietitian. According to the BLS, nutrition assistants earn an annual median salary of $37,190 per year, $17.88 per hour.

10. Public Health Nutritionist

To be a public health nutritionist one must have an interest in nutrition, providing groups of individuals with information to help their health in the long term, and an interest in increasing the health of our society through nutrition. Having a bachelor’s degree in food science, dietetics, or a related field will help open more doors for employment. The main responsibility of a public health nutritionist is to plan, implement and evaluate nutrition programs for the general public. According to the BLS, a public health nutritionist can earn an annual median of $48,860 per year. With this career field growing 12% faster than other occupations, this is a great fit for a nutrition-centered career.

11. Wellness Coordinator

Wellness coordinators are typically hired by organizations that are involved in creating health and wellness initiatives for the public, communities, or employees. These organizations range from schools to hospitals to large corporations. According to the BLS, a wellness coordinator can expect to earn a median annual average salary of $48,860 per year.

12. Life Coach

A life coach resembles a therapist as they guide clients through life obstacles and help them with coping techniques. While there is no required education, most life coaches look to become certified through an accredited training program like ICF or the International Association of Coaching (IAC). There are various life coaching niches like relationship building, mindset, and nutrition coaching. Finding a niche will help the life coach center their training and education to be a top contender in their specific area. While the BLS does not report for life coaches, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) reports an average annual income from coaching to be $61,900. To learn more about life coaching, follow the link in this article.

13. Food Product Developer

A food product developer is a professional responsible for conceptualizing, creating, and refining food products that meet consumer needs, align with market trends, and adhere to nutritional and quality standards. These experts bridge the gap between culinary creativity, scientific expertise, and market demands. From conceptualization and ideation to product launch and promotion, food product developers do it all. According to BLS, an agricultural and food scientist can expect a median annual salary of $74,160.

14. Medical and Health Services Manager

For individuals with a degree in nutrition, a career as a medical and health services manager offers a compelling opportunity to blend their expertise in nutrition with essential managerial and administrative skills. Medical and health services managers play a crucial role in healthcare organizations, overseeing the efficient delivery of patient care and services.

With a background in nutrition, these professionals can bring a unique perspective to healthcare facilities, advocating for the integration of nutrition-focused initiatives into patient treatment plans. They can collaborate with healthcare providers to implement evidence-based nutrition programs, ensuring that patients receive optimal dietary guidance and support during their recovery and overall health management. According to the BLS, a medical and health services manager can expect to earn a median annual average salary of $101,340 per year.

15. Medical Scientist

A career as a medical scientist holds immense potential for individuals with a nutrition degree, offering a unique opportunity to delve into cutting-edge research at the intersection of nutrition and medicine. As medical scientists, these professionals can conduct in-depth studies to explore the intricate relationship between diet, health, and disease. Armed with their specialized knowledge in nutrition, they can investigate the impact of various dietary components on specific medical conditions, potentially uncovering groundbreaking insights that can revolutionize patient care and preventive medicine.

Medical scientists with a nutrition background can contribute to the development of personalized treatment plans, tailored to individuals’ dietary needs and health requirements. Moreover, they can actively participate in clinical trials and research projects aimed at discovering innovative therapeutic interventions or dietary interventions that promote better health outcomes. According to the BLS, a medical and health services manager can expect to earn a median annual average salary of $95,310 per year.

How to Advance Your Nutrition Career

Advancing your career with certifications, further education, and experience will open doors to a wider range of employment opportunities and salary ranges. Students can apply for internships to build their experience and resume. This will catch the attention of employers when reviewing potential candidates.

With the nutrition field growing each year, there are various certification bodies that will help students gain knowledge in their desired field. Below are a few certification bodies that offer specialized certifications geared toward the nutrition and wellness field:

  1. Concordia University of Chicago
  2. National Academy of Sports Medicine
  3. American Fitness Professionals and Associates

Why Choose a Career in Nutrition and Wellness?

Much like food and water, nutrition is necessary to live. By nutrition being a necessary area of life, there will always be employment opportunities. Employment in the nutrition field is expected to grow by 7% from 2021-2031 as stated by the BLS.

With the need for more nutrition careers, there comes with a wide variety of employment opportunities. There is a wide range of different areas of work; schools, hospitals, and large corporations just to name a few.

One large reason to pursue a career in nutrition is the ability to help our society. By pursuing a career in nutrition, one will be able to connect, evaluate and ultimately help individuals lead a healthier lifestyle.

Get a Nutrition Degree Online with Concordia University Chicago

Advance your career with an MS in Sports Nutrition from Concordia University Chicago today. Apply for our program to start learning about the benefits of proper nutrition and how to help others.

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