How To Get Your Nutritionist Certification?
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The field of dietetics and nutrition is completely interwoven and specialists who pass out from the degree are usually referred to as dieticians and nutritionists. In different states too, the nomenclature may vary resulting in employers referring to specialists as nutritionists, dieticians-nutritionists, or clinical nutritionists.
It would be ideal to learn as much as possible about the field before you start searching for the course. For example, learn all you can about food, dieting, nutrition, and meal plans and how the food industry works. Talk to a professional dietician or a nutritionist to learn as much as possible about the field.
Once you have found the basic job requirements and responsibilities, you can then proceed to take up foundation courses in biology, food and nutrition, food science, etc that will help you after you pass out of high school. Once you have passed out of high school, you can then apply to the degree course that you have selected.
This bachelor’s degree is usually four years long and it includes a year of supervised internship. Once you have completed the course and the internship, then you can then sit for an exam to get your licensure. There are two year courses too that you can register for to become a nutritionist and unregistered nutritionists are also allowed to work.
Certificate courses are also present but employers will prefer students who have completed a four year or a two year course. To improve your job prospects, you should opt for a masters program or a doctorate that can be completed part time.
After completing the course, students can then sit for an exam. However, you have to remember that these registration exams are different in different states. A few of the states require compulsory legal certification, licensure exams or registration exams before a trainee is allowed to work.
You will then have to pass an exam authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) to be called a nutritionist. However, this is an optional exam that you can sit for. Once you sit for the course, however, you will have to continue with 900 hours of controlled practical knowledge or through supervised internships to be able to retain the accreditation provided through the exam.
Salary Expectations After Education and Nutritionist Certification
A trained nutritionist can expect as much as $41,060 and $61,790 as a starting salary. However, with additional education, a certified nutritionist can expect much more. If you have completed your masters or your doctorate, then management positions in the food and nutrition industry are open. These jobs pay much more than hospitals and nursing homes.
On an average, outpatient care jobs will pay about $52,120. Independent consulting is also possible however; the exact salary range will vary according to your experience and contacts in independent consulting.
Please note though that the exact nutritionist certification that you have acquired will influence your salary and your eventual job. Before you apply for a job, you will have to check with the individual state requirements as different states have different requirements.