5 Career Options for Master’s in Nutrition Grads

Eat this, not that! If only nutrition were that simple, we would all live to be 103, like Jiminy Cricket. “That won’t be easy,” as the Disney character says because nutritional science is complex and requires understanding its role in health, including the physiological, social, cultural and economic factors that contribute to nutrition needs. People are discovering they would live much healthier lives with expert nutritional input and guidance.

Nutrition Is the Antidote to America’s Health Crises

There has never been a greater need for postgraduate degree programs in nutrition. Processed foods, environmental contaminants, toxic remnants from pharmaceuticals and even the sedentary work and leisure behaviors of many Americans all present health threats to which the best response is informed, strategic nutritional planning.

America is facing health crises such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and blood disorders. A quick study of health and diet correlations in parts of Asia, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean, where people are living longer, is all it takes to know that the health crises in the U.S. can be remedied. Experts in nutrition stand to make a greater impact, through prevention and treatment, than even primary care physicians. People who are not chronically ill can also have their lifestyles, energy levels, overall health and life expectancy improved with strategic improvements in their diets.

Prepare for a Career With Increasingly Diverse Opportunities

Job growth for professional dietitians and nutritionists is projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to be 8% between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the average for all fields. The BLS reports that “More dietitians and nutritionists will be needed to provide care for patients with various medical conditions and to advise people who want to improve their overall health.”

The Lamar University Master of Science in Nutrition online program prepares graduates for a wide range of careers in the areas of food services, exercise sciences, social work and healthcare. With a focus on life-cycle nutrition and contemporary issues, including weight management, sports nutrition and eating disorders, the program prepares graduates to work in a variety of settings such as medical practices, private practices, outpatient care centers, weight loss clinics, state and local governments, nursing homes, NGOs, professional sports teams, corporations and hospitals. A wide range of leadership and specialist opportunities are available in consulting, clinical dietetics, food and nutrition management, community outreach and nutrition coaching.

There are several roles for which Lamar University’s online Master of Science in Nutrition program provides a strong foundation. A Master of Science in Nutrition , especially when combined with some industry experience, can be a career-enhancing supplement for professionals already in the field.  This degree is a practical next step for those who hold a bachelor’s in dietetics or nutrition, for instance, and who may be looking for a graduate degree in similar or complementary areas. A master’s degree typically enables graduates to start at the higher end of salary ranges for many positions.

It’s worth noting that Lamar University’s online M.S. in Nutrition will meet the graduate degree requirement that RD exam candidates will need to have starting in January of 2024. However, the master’s degree program does not provide candidates with an avenue to gain the required clinical hours for anyone who still needs that portion of the eligibility requirements to sit for the RD exam.

Here is just a small representation of opportunities available in the field of nutrition:

Pay information was sourced from Salary.com in March 2021.

Senior Dietitian
Median Salary: $71,193

Senior dietitians review physician records and diagnoses in order to design and implement nutrition plans for patients. The role documents patient progress toward goals, provides guidance to families, and administers and advises food service operations to ensure that menus comply with prescribed nutritional plans.

Clinical Dietitian
Median Salary: $64,205

This role collaborates with multiple healthcare teams and medical providers to offer nutritional planning and medical nutrition therapy to patients with specific conditions. The position devises nutrition care standards, patient care plans and educational materials, and may also conduct activities, workshops, seminars and staff development programs.

Senior Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Median Salary: $71,190

This position reviews physician diagnoses and implements therapeutic care plans for patients using dietetic standards and regulations. The role advises food service operations, educates medical staffs and patient families, and supervises less experienced dietitians.

Nutritionist
Median Salary: $63,800

This position may work in a variety of settings, from corporations to schools or inpatient medical centers, weight loss clinics and hospitals. The role administers and advises food service operations to ensure that menus comply with prescribed nutritional plans, educates staff and helps patients progress toward health, wellness and nutritional goals.

Exercise Physiologist
Median Salary: $54,887

The person in this role often collaborates with dietitians and nutritionists to develop comprehensive programs for patients that include both exercise and nutrition components. The anatomy and physiology, nutrition, vitamins and minerals, weight management, sports nutrition and energy nutrient courses in the curriculum enable the exercise physiologist to work in higher levels of organizations and in collaborative projects.

If the prospect of making a difference in the lives of people and in the conditions of communities through better health and nutrition appeals to you, create your future in this broad and growing field.

Learn more about Lamar University’s online Master of Science in Nutrition program.


Sources:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook for Dietitians and Nutritionists

Noodle: What Can You Do With a Master of Science in Nutrition?

NutritionED.org: Nutrition Jobs

Salary.com: Senior Dietitian

Salary.com: Clinical Dietitian I

Salary.com: Senior Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Salary.com: Nutritionist

Salary.com: Exercise Physiologist

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