Wellness and Nutrition Degrees

Careers in Wellness and Nutrition

What is a Wellness and Nutrition Degree?

Take a look at your current lifestyle. Do you eat a healthy, balanced diet? Are you a subscriber to Health Magazine, Fitness Magazine and Prevention magazine? Do you often give advice to your friends and family when you notice flaws in their diet that are affecting their health? If you've answered yes to any of those questions, you have an interest in diet and nutrition and you may be a great candidate to earn a nutritionist degree!

Dietitians and nutritionists are professionals who help clients prevent and treat illnesses by promoting healthy eating habits and recommend specific diets. For example, a dietitian may teach an obese client how to read nutrition labels, plan low-fat meals, and how to incorporate exercise into their daily life.Dietitians also help promote healthier lifestyles by educating patients and students at hospitals and schools, or by conducting research. There are several different areas in which dietitians can specialize, including:

Clinical dietitians—professionals who work in hospitals, elderly care facilities, and correctional facilities.Some clinical dietitians specialize in working with overweight, renal, diabetic, or critically ill patients.

Community dietitians—professionals who work in public health clinics, home health agencies, and health maintenance organizations.Often times, community dietitians instruct the elderly, children and individuals with special needs on grocery shopping, food preparation, and disease prevention.

Management dietitians—professionals who supervise large-scale meal preparation for healthcare facilities, company cafeterias, prisons, and schools.

Consultant dietitians—professionals who are contracted out by healthcare facilities or professionals with their own private practice. Consultant dietitians perform nutrition screenings for their clients and offer advice about meal planning weight loss.

Although the work settings for dietitians vary, depending on the area in which they specialize, all dietitians typically work in clean, well-lit, well-ventilated areas. Some may work in hot, congested kitchens. Again, depending on the area of specialization, work hours may vary, but most dietitians work a standard 40-hour week.

How can I get a Wellness and Nutrition Degree?

By earning a bachelor's degree in dietetics, food and nutrition, food service systems management, or a related area, you are on your way to becoming a dietitian. Required coursework for a degree in nutrition includes:

  • Foods
  • Nutrition
  • Institution management
  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Physiology

High school students interested in becoming a dietitian should take courses in biology, chemistry, math, health and communications to prepare.

Although certification is not required in all states, certified candidates have the best opportunity for job placement after college. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth for dietitians is expected to increase by 9 percent through 2018. With increased public awareness of obesity, diabetes, and other lifestyle-effected diseases, nutritionists and dietitians are in higher demand.

Also reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median earnings for dietitians in 2008 were $50,590. The earnings by specialization are as follows:

Outpatient care centers - $52,120
General hospitals - $51,390
Elderly care facilities - $51,110
Local government - $47,390
Special food services - $45,410

If you love to live an active, healthy lifestyle and want to promote and teach others to live healthfully, too, fill out a form and enroll in a nutrition degree today!

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