Editor's Note: This post was originally published July 2015 and has recently been updated and revised for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
As a nutrition consultant, you have a unique opportunity to help your clients develop better eating habits, achieve their weight-loss and fitness goals and ultimately maintain healthy and fulfilling lifestyle changes. "Proper nutrition is essential to healthy living and overall well-being," writes the staff at Livestrong. "A nutritionist can play an important role in your health by evaluating your diet and offering you personalized advice." It's also an opportunity to help inspire others and encourage them to shape a happier and healthier outlook.
Beyond personal fulfillment, a career in nutrition provides you the chance to work in a stable market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for dietitians and nutritionists is $59,410. This is, however, all dependent on the experience you hold and the industry you're in. If you're working for a professional sports team as a sports nutritionist, for example, you can earn more than $77,000. Let's dive into what it takes and what you can anticipate from your career.
What are the key responsibilities of a nutritionist?
As a nutrition and wellness consultant, you can help your clients develop better eating habits and create meal plans that help them meet and exceed their goals. Some other responsibilities of a nutritionist may include:
- Advising and presenting a balanced nutritional strategy
- Discussing and advising on weight-management plans
- Assisting clients with nutritional goals and offering a sound nutritional plan for optimizing health
- Recognizing appropriate behavioral-change modifications and dietary approaches for different ages and populations
Nutrition-based career opportunities
Before you get ready to jump-start your career, it's important to identify why you became interested in the first place and what you're hoping to gain from your certification. While health, wellness and nutrition is a very competitive market, you can find your place with the right objectives in a successful, professional setting.
Career opportunities you can pursue with a nutrition and wellness consultant certification include:
- Nutrition and wellness consultant
- Nutrition coach
- Food or supplement salesperson
- Nutrition and wellness writer
- Corporate wellness center specialist
- Weight-loss center specialist
- Health food and nutrition retail store management
- Nutrition and wellness instructor
Starting with the fundamentals of nutrition—such as nutrition analysis and macronutrients vs. micronutrients—and diving into the more advanced topics, your education will provide you with the knowledge you need to guide and support your clients through their weight-loss journeys. Once you acquire the appropriate amount of education—which is primarily dependent on the state in which you're employed and the career path you take—it's time to pick a field. Nutrition consultants work in a wide range of environments, from hospitals to private or public fitness centers, fulfilling a variety of roles.