Dietitians and Nutritionists
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Overview
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Plan and conduct food service or nutritional programs to assist in the promotion of health and control of disease. May supervise activities of a department providing quantity food services, counsel individuals, or conduct nutritional research.
Titles for this career often contain these words
DietitianClinicalDieticianDietaryNutritionistFoodDietManagerNutritionSupervisorConsultantCounselorPediatricRegisteredSiteCoordinatorAdministrativeCertifiedChiefCommunityCorrectionalServiceTherapistAideAssistantDieteticInternDietistTeacherAdviserHolisticMenuPlannerDirectorNutritionalistOutpatientPublicHealthResearchSportsTeachingTherapeuticWICWomenInfantsChildren
Education
About 71% of dietitians and nutritionists have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by dietitians and nutritionists
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More dietitians and nutritionists have bachelor's degrees than 80% of other careeers.
Employment
Workforce size
Dietitians and nutritionists, with 70,900 workers, are near the middle of all careers in the number employed.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for dietitians and nutritionists are expected to grow by 11%, and should have about 5,500 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Dietitians and nutritionists are less likely to be automated than 96% of other careers.
Salaries
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for dietitians and nutritionists compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most dietitians and nutritionists earn.
$61K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
Gender
Women account for 88% of dietitians and nutritionists -- that's a larger percentage than 96% of other jobs.
Gender of dietitians and nutritionists
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. Women dietitians and nutritionists actually earned more than men -- a very rare occurance among careers!
Race/Origin
About 26% of dietitians and nutritionists are minority, and 14% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of dietitians and nutritionists
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (14%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Dietitians and Nutritionists per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
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Benefits
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of dietitians and nutritionists who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (74%)
  • Time Pressure (65%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (36%)
  • Consequence of Error (33%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (32%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (32%)
SOURCES:
Salary and diversity
What do dietitians and nutritionists earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries. This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for dietitians and nutritionists (BLS Salary Data)
$61K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$61K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for dietitians and nutritionists (ACS Salary Data)
$51K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$51K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Dietitians and Nutritionists: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $53KAll jobs' median $45K$50K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire dietitians and nutritionists.
Employers of Dietitians and Nutritionists (ACS)
Private for-profit (49.4%)
Private not-for-profit (24.4%)
Local government (8.5%)
State government (9.7%)
Federal government (4.6%)
Self-employed incorporated (1.2%)
Self-employed not incorporated (2.2%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of dietitians and nutritionists by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$51K$53K$50K$45K$69K$41K$64K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000Self-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of dietitians and nutritionists by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$61K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000All

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for dietitians and nutritionists

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$47K$54K$51K$47K$54K$55K$52K$27K$56K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
05K10K15K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Dietitians and nutritionists and gender

With 88% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 96% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
88%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Dietitians and nutritionists
Men (12%)
Women (88%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

Although nationally the median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, in dietitians and nutritionists, the median salary for women is 11% higher than the median salary for men.

$51K$46K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KWomenMen

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of dietitians and nutritionists

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a higher percentage of minority dietitians and nutritionists than for 74% of other careers. The percentage of foreign-born workers in this career is near the middle of all careers.

Race/origin of dietitians and nutritionists
White (72% )
Black (16% )
Asian (6% )
Other (3% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
26%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
14%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for dietitians and nutritionists by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$34K$37K$42K$53K$54K$54K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KBlackHispanicOtherWhiteMultiracialAsian
Distribution: Salaries for dietitians and nutritionists by nativity
$47K$51K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Dietitians and nutritionists and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 27% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 80% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
27%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time dietitians and nutritionists is shown following.

$25K$51K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by dietitians and nutritionists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dietitians and nutritionists typically hold a bachelor's degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as dietitians and nutritionists as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for dietitians and nutritionists

Dietitians and nutritionists typically need a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, foods and nutrition, clinical nutrition, public health nutrition, or a related area. Dietitians also may study food service systems management. Programs include courses in nutrition, psychology, chemistry, and biology.

Many dietitians and nutritionists have advanced degrees.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for dietitians and nutritionists

Many states require dietitians and nutritionists to be licensed in order to practice. Other states require only state registration or certification to use certain titles, and a few states have no regulations for this occupation.

The requirements for state licensure and state certification vary by state, but most include having a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition or a related area, completing supervised practice, and passing an exam.

Many dietitians choose to earn the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential. Although the RDN is not always required, the qualifications are often the same as those necessary for becoming a licensed dietitian in states that require a license. Many employers prefer or require the RDN, which is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The RDN requires dietitian nutritionists to complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and a Dietetic Internship (DI), which consists of at least 1,200 hours of supervised experience. Students may complete both criteria at once through a coordinated program, or they may finish their required coursework and degree before applying for an internship. These programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), part of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In order to maintain the RDN credential, dietitians and nutritionists who have earned it must complete 75 continuing professional education credits every 5 years.

Nutritionists may earn the Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credential to show an advanced level of knowledge. The CNS credential or exam is accepted in several states for licensure purposes. To qualify for the credential, applicants must have a master’s or doctoral degree, complete 1,000 hours of supervised experience, and pass an exam. The credential is administered by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists. To maintain the CNS credential, nutritionists must complete 75 continuing education credits every 5 years.

Dietitians and nutritionists may seek additional certifications in an area of specialty. The Commission on Dietetic Registration offers several specialty certifications in topics such as oncology nutrition, pediatric nutrition, renal nutrition, and sports dietetics, among others.

Education attained by dietitians and nutritionists
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for dietitians and nutritionists? Below we see the distribution of dietitians and nutritionists salaries based on the education attained.

$27K$32K$37K$53K$59K$55K$80K$0$50K$100K$150KHigh School (13%)Some College (8%)Associate's/Cert. (5%)Bachelor's Degree (37%)Master's Degree (28%)Professional Degree (5%)Doctorate (2%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

College majors held by dietitians and nutritionists

This table shows the college majors held by people working as dietitians and nutritionists.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Percentage of Dietitians and nutritionists with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
The link between degrees and careers

With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as dietitians and nutritionists, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.

Dietitians and Nutritioni...Registered NursesPhysiciansElementary and Middle Sch...Postsecondary TeachersSpecialized ManagersMedical and Health Servic...Food Service ManagersWholesale and Manufacturi...Secretaries and Administr...Specialized Social Worker...Educational, Guidance, an...Specialized TherapistsVeterinariansPreschool and Kindergarte...Education and childcare a...Childcare WorkersFirst-Line Supervisors of...Nurse Practitioners and N...Nurse AnesthetistsNursing AssistantsLicensed Practical and Li...DentistsSpecialized Physical Scie...Specialized Life Scientis...Medical and Clinical Labo...PharmacistsSpecialized PsychologistsLawyers, and judges, magi...Labor Relations Specialis...Accountants and AuditorsFinancial ManagersChief executives and legi...First-Line Supervisors of...Customer Service Represen...Farmers, Ranchers, and Ot...Specialized Agricultural ...Animal CaretakersPhysical TherapistsPhysician AssistantsOccupational TherapistsAgricultural and food sci...Industrial Production Man...Market Research Analysts ...First-Line Supervisors of...Inspectors, Testers, Sort...Nutrition SciencesHealth/Medical SpecializedPreparationFamily and ConsumerSciencesNursingBiologyPsychologyBusiness Management andAdministrationAnimal SciencesGeneral Medical and HealthServicesFood ScienceAll other degreesThis jobTop 10 majorsEach major's top ten jobs
What college major is your best entry?

About 71% of people working as dietitians and nutritionists have at least a bachelor's degree. Each dot represents a college major leading to these jobs, with the dots to the right representing the majors sending the most of their grads into this career. The dots at the top are the majors who earn the most working in this career.

Darker colors have a larger percentage with graduate degreesOverall median salary0.0%5.0%10.0%15.0%20.0%25.0%30.0%35.0%Percentage with this major$40,000$50,000$60,000$70,000$80,000$90,000$100,000Median salary with this major
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for dietitians and nutritionists

What jobs will most dietitians and nutritionists hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of dietitians and nutritionists reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Dietitians and NutritionistsCooksMedical assistants and other healthcare support occupationsDining Room/Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender HelpersNon-restaurant Food ServersManagement AnalystsStockers and Order FillersFirst-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving WorkersChildcare WorkersPersonal Care AidesRegistered nursesPostsecondary teachers and assistantsRetail SalespersonsFood Service Managers
Lateral job transitions for dietitians and nutritionists

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 6 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as dietitians and nutritionists as well as 1% of respondents after working as dietitians and nutritionists. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Prior and next careers for dietitians and nutritionists: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as dietitians and nutritionists? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of dietitians and nutritionists surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most dietitians and nutritionists? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as dietitians and nutritionists. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Dietitians and Nutritionists per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.00.20.40.60.8
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where dietitians and nutritionists earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for dietitians and nutritionists compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for dietitians and nutritionists.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Location-adjusted median salary for Dietitians and Nutritionists (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which dietitians and nutritionists earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
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$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?