Food as medicine is a revolutionary concept. While we've always known that fruits and veggies are good for us, society's relationship with healthy food is evolving. More and more people are turning to nutritionists and dietitians to help solve health problems. By offering personalized support and wellness plans, nutritionists can literally save lives. If you're eager to help people discover the benefits of a healthy diet, it's worth considering a job in the field. In addition to critical thinking and communication skills, nutritionists need certain certifications to begin treating clients.
As a nutritionist, your job will require you to assess the current eating habits of your clients. By educating them about what a healthy diet looks like, you'll help them reach their health goals faster. While the definition of healthy varies from person to person, nutritionists can help individuals develop their own metric for success. Considering the wide variety of workplaces where nutritionists are employed â€“ doctor's offices, nursing home facilities, schools, and beyond â€“ there's no stopping the spread of knowledge.
Before beginning your career as a nutritionist, you'll need to earn a bachelor's degree in a health-related field. Some schools offer nutrition-specific programs, but degrees in biology, psychology, anatomy, and chemistry can be just as useful for your career path. During school, many aspiring nutritionists are required to complete internships. These positions are a great way to network and familiarize oneself with the daily practices of professional nutritionists.
After graduating with your degree, you may be required to become certified as a nutritionist. Every state has slightly different rules and regulations about this, but most require certification through the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists, or BCNS. Their Certified Nutrition Specialist exam helps to qualify aspiring nutritionists for a job in the field. The most widely recognized certification by both federal and state governments, the CNS is considered the gold standard in the nutritionist field. Once you've passed this test, you'll be ready for work in hospitals, schools, laboratories, and research institutions.
To become a nutritionist, you'll need more than just book smarts. Nutritionists need to be incredibly patient, find joy in helping others. They also keep an open mind when it comes to new trends. Nutrition science is constantly evolving, so it's important that professionals keep abreast of the most up-to-date research even after they finish school. Since health consciousness looks slightly different every few years, it pays to attend professional development workshops as well as conferences and seminars put on by industry thought leaders
Many nutritionists work one-on-one with clients to develop food plans, combat disordered eating or stick to a diet. Stellar communication skills are needed to do these kinds of assessment. For a successful career, you'll need to feel real empathy for your clients. Those who find happiness in helping others succeed will find the nutrition field incredibly rewarding. Of course, more introverted professionals may opt to work in research laboratories instead of in the field.
After completing your studies, finding a job as a nutritionist is a matter of narrowing down your options. Take an honest inventory of your experience and skills. Ask yourself: in what environment would you be most successful? From there, job hunting becomes clear.
Once you've determined which aspect of nutrition interests you most, begin sharing your journey with friends, family, colleagues, and classmates. Networking can help ensure you're connecting with the right people at the right time. Professional groups can introduce you to your peers in the industry, opening up your job options even further. In addition to networking, nutritionists should check job boards like the one the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics featured on their website.
Some nutritionists continue their career path by earning their master's or doctorate. Though not typically required for most nutritionist positions, the degrees are helpful for anyone hoping to work as researcher or educator in the field. Public policy, molecular biology, research applications, and statistics, among others, are all degree options for those with a background in nutrition.
If you're dreaming of a career in the nutrition field, Exam Edge can help you pass your certifying tests. With dozens of BCNS and NBNSC practice exams available on our website, there's no reason not to begin studying for your qualifying test right now. Each of our practice tests features the option to time yourself, pause the test, and receive thorough explanations of each answer. There is truly no better way to study than to tackle questions formatted in the same way as the real test. There are even free sample practice tests to give you a taste of just how helpful Exam Edge can be! Get started now.