A nutritionist is a person responsible for developing a diet plan for an individual based on his personal medical and dietary needs. It’s the nutritionist’s job to study how the food that is eaten affects the human body. Working with a nutritionist is integral to help a person lose weight, stay healthy or minimize the ill effects of disease and other illnesses on the body.
To become a nutritionist, you need to have the proper credentials first. If you’re interested in this career path, here’s how to train to be a nutritionist.
- Analyze your own disposition. Before you embark on a career as a nutritionist, you must first consider your own personality and skills. To do well in this field, you must have a passion for biology and other human sciences. You must have patience because the job will entail research. You must also be innovative and think of ways to present an idea to a patient that will make him interested in his own health. You must have an interest in health and have a passion for learning since new studies are always coming out so this job will constantly have you studying and updating your knowledge base.
- Get your college diploma from an accredited school. You must be a high school graduate or have your GED to be accepted into a four year college or university program. You can go online to find a list of schools for you to consider. Check also with the career counseling office at your school to help you get on track. Make sure the nutritionist or dietician’s program or public health program you are taking is accredited by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). You will take a lot of biology, chemistry, statistical analysis and other medical research related subjects during your coursework.
- Get practical training. As part of your training, you need to work with actual patients on the field for a period of at least twelve months. This period of learning will help you get your certification. Also, there is nothing better than applying your theoretical knowledge to real life practice.
- Get your postgraduate education. For more career advancement options, it’s a good idea to get your two-year postgraduate degree. Again, make sure the school and program are accredited. When you take your postgraduate course, you may want to specialize in a specific field within the industry, such as research, management or education. Not only will you have classroom and research time during the coursework, but you will also have practical work in a clinical setting.
- Get certified. Once you have your degree and practical training, it’s a good idea to get your certification. The more credentials you have, the better your chances of a higher paying job. Check the State where you live to see if there are other additional requirements you may need.
There is growth in the field as more and more people become more conscious about living a healthier lifestyle. There are also many career options for nutritionists to work in the food industry as consultants, researchers and product developers in both the public and private arena.