At a time when half of all Americans—roughly 117 million people—have preventable chronic diseases, there is no denying that nutrition plays a critical role in helping to prevent these illnesses. As a result of this health crisis, more and more people are feeling empowered to embrace a healthier lifestyle every single day.
The problem? Most don’t know where to begin—and this is where you come in.
You have passion and drive, but you might be wondering: How much can I expect to earn as a certified nutrition consultant salary?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median salary for nutrition professionals is about $58,000 per year, with top earners making more than $80,000 per year. The range in earnings varies greatly according to important factors like your location and education, whether you opt for specialization, and how successfully you market yourself.
Like with any career, location plays a major role in how much you can expect your certified nutrition consultant salary to be. Working as a sports nutritionist in Tulsa, Oklahoma probably won’t earn you as much as working as a nutrition consultant at a high-end spa in Los Angeles, so make sure you have realistic expectations. If you’re considering relocating and starting a new consulting business, make sure you know what local salaries look like by checking sites such as Glassdoor.com or PayScale.com, where people post their salaries and other information based on location and job type.
Also, consider the fact that more and more people are seeking out nutrition professionals online because of cost and convenience. Location might not even play a role in your salary if you opt to set up shop online, and it actually might mean greater earnings because you won’t have commuting costs or expenses related to renting a space. When done right, a web-based nutrition consulting business can be beneficial to both you and your clients.
The right knowledge and expertise can translate into a lucrative career, but the type of education you receive can play a major role in determining how much your certified nutrition consultant salary is. Many employers won’t even consider you for a nutrition position without some type of credential, whether a college degree, certification, or a combination of the two.
Many universities now offer a bachelor of science in nutrition and/or dietetics, and this typically takes at least four years to attain. Some nutrition professionals opt to pursue further education, such as a master’s or doctorate degree, in order to take a teaching or research position in the field. The downside to pursuing a degree for your nutrition career is that it can cost tens of thousands of dollars and take years to earn.
Certification programs, on the other hand, typically last about six months, are much more affordable than a college degree, and are offered online or through distance learning. Additionally, many nutrition consultant certification programs offer the option to specialize in areas such as weight management or sports nutrition.
If you want to work in research or healthcare, you’ll want to pursue a college degree, but a certification program will be quicker and more cost-efficient, getting you into the field faster but with the educational chops—from nutrition basics to the complexities of consulting—to help your clients change their lives.
Depending on your professional background, your salary as a nutrition consultant can vary greatly. For example, if you are a personal trainer who has decided to obtain certification, your earning power will be greater than someone starting from scratch because you probably already have a client list. If you have a background in marketing, those skills could help launch your consulting career—and subsequently raise your salary—more quickly than someone with no clue where to begin when it comes to marketing their business.
No matter what your professional background, take time to consider how you can integrate your current skill set into your new career. If you can use the tools, experience, and talents you already have as a certified nutrition consultant, you may be able to negotiate a higher salary with an employer or launch your own business with greater ease.
After you’ve obtained your certification, there are opportunities for specialization that can set you apart from other professionals and give you greater earning potential. Some popular areas of specialization include weight management, sports nutrition, and corporate wellness.
With a specialization in weight management, you can work in more specific settings, such as in a wellness spa, gym, or weight management program. A sports nutrition specialization could enable you to work with a sports team or at a rehabilitation or occupational health facility. The corporate wellness field is a growing (and incredibly lucrative) one, because companies are realizing that healthy employees are happier and more efficient employees.
Lastly, your dedication plays a huge role into how much your certified nutrition consultant salary will be. How serious are you about helping clients achieve their goals? Employers—and clients—want to know that you’re dedicated to the field and that you have the motivation and passion to succeed.
As more and more people are embracing the need for a healthier lifestyle, they’re turning to the convenience of online education and consultants to achieve their goals. If you’re committed to growing your brand in the expanding digital space, from building a website and having an active Facebook presence to posting engaging visual content on Instagram, this alone can increase your salary.
Nutrition is an exciting and rapidly expanding field, lush with earning potential. Learn more about nutrition consultant salaries and find out how much you can expect to make as a nutrition educator, corporate consultant, or nutritional program developer by downloading our Ultimate Nutrition Professional Salary Guide now!