A nutritionist or a dietician is an individual who is knowledgeable about matters pertaining to nutrition. Over the years, the field has grown in popularity, which is one of the reasons why many students are now pursuing a degree in it. According to statistics, the employment rate in this field will grow to a staggering 11% by the year 2028. This might look like a great reason to go into this field, however it is imperative that you understand more about what nutritionists actually do before you pursue a career in the field.
What do nutritionists or dieticians actually do?
Most people are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle. The first thing you need to do to live a healthy life is to consume a balanced diet. The idea of a balanced diet is, however, not as easy as it seems. This is where a nutritionist or a dietician comes in. Some of the main responsibilities of nutritionists include:
- Creating appropriate meal plans for individuals
- Make sure people understand the importance of nutrition in relation to the human body
- Analyzing any problems resulting from current meal plans and coming up with appropriate changes to resolve these
- Educate society about nutrition
- Provide nutritional therapy to patients
Once you become a qualified nutritionist, the above mentioned are some of the tasks that you would undertake in your daily life.
How to become a nutritionist
Just like any other profession, it is not easy to become a nutritionist. You need to follow certain educational paths before you can earn the title of a nutritionist. Here are some things that you can do to follow a career in this field.
Get an undergraduate degree in a health-related course
One step towards becoming a nutritionist can be to pursue an undergraduate degree in a health-related niche. Various degrees can put you on a great path to becoming a nutritionist, including:
- Community Nutrition
- Food science
- Clinical nutritional care
An undergraduate degree will most likely take three to four years to complete. Throughout your degree, you will most likely learn about food processing principles, the nature of food, etc. You will also typically partake in an internship, either during or after completing your undergraduate degree.
Complete an online course
To ensure you are familiar with the ins and outs of nutrition, you may also consider taking a nutrition science online short course. The course will assist you in expanding your current knowledge and help you gain useful information about this field of study. Although you won’t become a certified nutritionist, this course can help you develop foundational knowledge of the science behind nutrition.
Pursue a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics
After gaining experience in the nutrition field, one can choose to specialize in a niche area by pursuing a master’s degree. Such a degree will enable you to broaden your knowledge and will help you improve your existing skills. When combined with your existing experience, a master’s degree can help you advance your career to become a well-sought after an expert in your field.
Skills that make a great nutritionist
You may have all the qualifications required to become a nutritionist, but you still need specific skills to do your job correctly. Some of the most important skills include:
As a nutritionist, you need to be well versed with the latest technology. In this technological era, you need various devices to carry out various tasks, including doing research, generating reports, and storing data.
One thing that is certain is that, with this job, you are going to have plenty of tasks to do. You thus need to organize yourself so that you don’t end up missing out on crucial functions. You need to know how to plan accordingly and manage your time in order to accomplish your daily working threshold.
There will be instances where you will be required to give professional advice to clients or even offer education to the general public about the importance of food and nutrition. Without excellent communication skills, you will have a hard time communicating this information effectively. You also need to be a great listener in order to understand the problem your client is facing so you are able to provide them with the correct guidance.
The above mentioned are some of the paths you can take to become a reliable and knowledgeable nutritionist.