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Exploring the Many Job Opportunities for Nutritionists

Posted by PCC Institute for Health Professionals on May 11, 2016

responsibilities of nutritionistsHolistic nutritionists seek to bring health and vitality to people’s lives by balancing the body, mind, and spirit — a whole health approach. The focus is on improvement in health through consistent healthy eating on a daily basis and healthy and mindful living. Recommendations are made based on the uniqueness of each individual, particularly the differences in biochemical makeup and personal heritage.

So where do nutritionists work? Some work from home as a private consultant; other's work in the corporate, community, or private sectors. No matter what setting you choose, the goal is the same: to protect the health of individuals through diet, activity, and symptom alleviation.

The National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP) has three general care model categories that nutrition experts often fall under: educator model, clinical and/or coaching model, and food-based practice model.

Educator

As a holistic nutritionist, you will focus on teaching a “whole, organic, chemical-free approach to health.” Educators work with individuals, families, and groups and offer suggestions to help improve lifestyle and diet through a “whole meal” approach. Nutritionists who follow the educator model can work in a variety of settings.

Examples of holistic nutrition educator jobs and responsibilities:

1. Sports Nutrition Specialist

Where they work:

  • Colleges/universities
  • Athletic programs
  • Sports teams
  • Fitness or recreational sports centers

What they do:

  • Offer healthy diet options to integrate into fitness regimens
  • Work with food-service providers to create healthy menus and recipes

2.  Home Healthcare Nutrition Specialist

Where they work:

  • Community
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Hospitals
  • State or government-funded agencies

What they do:

  • Educate individuals and families about healthy diet choices

3.  Community Nutritionist

Where they work:

  • Public health clinics
  • Fitness centers
  • Home health agencies
  • Corporate wellness programs

What they do:

  • Design nutrition programs to prevent disease and promote health

4.  Corporate Nutritionist

Where they work:

  • Food manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Large food companies

What they do:

  • Analyze food
  • Prepare literature for distribution
  • Report on issues such as nutritional content of recipes, dietary fiber, or supplements

5.  Nutrition Writer

Where they work:

  • Freelance positions
  • Corporations
  • Consumer writing

What they do:

  • Freelance content writing
  • Write cookbooks for healthy diets
  • Write speeches
  • Write nutrition education kits for other dietitians and nutritionists
  • Write consumer handouts

6.  Teaching and Speaking

Where they work:

  • Colleges/universities
  • Athletic programs
  • Conferences
  • Private clients
  • Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Schools
  • Public health and government agency

What they do:

  • Speak at professional conferences
  • Teach patients about healthy living through diet and activity
  • Teach nutrition-focused courses at colleges and universities
  • Speak to patient groups in a hospital or clinic setting

Clinical and/or Coaching

A clinical or coaching nutritionist addresses existing health issues, offers support, and encourages behavioral changes that lead to improved health. Nutrition consultants and coaches work under the direction of licensed medical professionals to help people with diagnosed conditions improve their health and live a more balanced life.

Examples of clinical and coaching nutritionist jobs and responsibilities:

1.  Consultant Nutritionists

Where they work:

  • Under contract with healthcare facilities
  • Private practice
  • Wellness programs
  • Sports teams
  • Supermarkets
  • Freelance

What they do:

  • Perform nutrition assessments
  • Advise clients about diet-related issues
  • Consult with food service managers (i.e. meal and budget planning; offer expertise in sanitation and safety procedures)
  • Work as an independent freelance consultant nutritionist in various industries
  • Freelance or corporate writing

2.  Clinical Nutritionists

Where they work:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing care facilities

What they do:

  • Take the lead from licensed healthcare providers
  • Assess patients’ nutritional needs
  • Review lab assessments
  • Provide medical nutrition therapy
  • Evaluate and report the results
  • Suggest therapeutic diet and nutrients
  • Provide follow-up support
  • Work on a functional medicine team with physicians and other licensed medical professionals (MD, ND, DO, RN, LAc, etc.)
  • Work with patients who are overweight and critically ill
  • Teach health professionals and consumers

Food-Based

Food-based nutritionists can choose from a variety of jobs in the food sector. With a whole-foods based approach, backed by science and research, food-based nutritionists offer support, education, advice, and research assistance to individuals, small businesses, corporations, and government agencies.

>> Learn more about Functional Nutrition

Examples of food-based nutritionist jobs and responsibilities:

1. Culinary Nutritionists (holistically-trained natural chefs)

Where they work:

  • Private practice and consulting
  • Organizations
  • Nursing facilities
  • Government agencies

What they do:

  • Teach clients how to cook healthy meals
  • Provide cooking services and meals to agencies and facilities
  • Promote healthy eating and wellbeing

2.  Manufacturing

Where they work:

  • Food manufacturing industry

What they do:

  • Assess science, ingredients, policies, legislation, and regulations involved in food manufacturing
  • Conduct research
  • Implement and communicate nutritional standards and information for commercial foods
  • Product development
  • Marketing
  • Regulatory support
  • Support product development
  • Advising food safety
  • Formulate or reformulate foods to make them healthier

3.  Wholesaling

Where they work:

  • Food service industry

What they do:

  • Conduct research
  • Marketing
  • Regulatory support
  • Customer service

4.  Retailing

Where they work:

  • Major supermarkets
  • Retail pharmacy chains

What they do:

  • Conduct research
  • Marketing
  • Regulatory support
  • Customer service

5.  Sales Representative

Where they work:

  • Food service industry
  • Major manufacturers
  • Public relations companies

What they do:

  • Customer service
  • Nutritional training
  • Health assessment and promotion
  • Education
  • Marketing
  • Lobbying government to change food standards

6.  Import/Export

Where they work:

  • Trade/industry organizations

What they do:

  • Involved in industry committees to improve nutrition regulations
  • Quality assurance
  • Health assessment and promotion
  • Education
  • Marketing

7.  Research Development

Where they work:

  • Food service industry
  • Major manufacturers
  • Public relations companies
  • Small, medium, large food production companies
  • Government agencies

What they do:

  • Human and animal research to build evidence supporting nutrition claims for new products
  • Help maintain regulatory compliance
  • Quality assurance
  • Labeling-compliance
  • Publication and presentation of human research

These career opportunities highlight the many responsibilities of nutritionistsand the variety of job choices in this field. As a nutritional expert, you will have the opportunity to change individuals’ and families’ lives in many different settings.

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From entry-level training to continuing education units (CEUs) for working  professionals, CLIMB's Institute for Health Professionals offers a range  of educational opportunities for health care professionals. You can always  count on the Institute for Health Professionals at PCC CLIMB to provide  the health training that you need to succeed in a health care career. 

Topics: Healthcare, Functional Nutrition, Integrative Healthcare

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