Hi- I know that the question was for foodgirl, but I am a trained nutritionist and thought that I could answer your question. To become a nutritionist you have to generally go through four years of school with courses in chemistry, biology, statistics, biochem., nutrition and food science. After finishing the required classes, you apply to an internship that can last between 6 months and two years. The internship puts you in all of the different areas of nutrition like foodservice, community, and clinical nutrition. After the internship you sit for the R.D. exam. Finally, you are a certified nutritionist. It seems like a lot, and it is, but it's definately worth it! I feel as if I went through medical school with all of the math and science requirements, but because of that, I feel like I can really understand the science behind all of the sensational headlines! The frustrating thing about nutrition these days is that it is an ever-changing science, with new reports coming out every day that contradict the last ones. This leads to the public being very frustrated and not really trusting our profession. I also find it to be a difficult job market (unless you are interested in clinical-hospital nutrition). I have worked for a while in the medical setting in an inner-city health clinic, and got burnt out very fast. Now I actually work as the cook and baker on a local farm and enjoy that more than anything I've ever done! So much for all of the biochem. huh? Actually, I am glad that I had it and I do use my nutrition skills in counseling on the side in my community. I hope that I answered some of your questions and feel free to ask anything more! -Becca
Thanks Becca - I only singled out foodgirl because I knew she was in the field .
After I asked the question, I stumbled on the American Dietetic website and got some of the info I was looking for. Sounds like I'd almost have to go back for another BA - I didn't take many of the courses you mentioned. That's a bit more than I'm looking to do! I would only be able to attend school part time and I wouldn't mind taking classes for 2-4 years, but I think it would take much longer than that!
I also wonder if ANY of my undergraduate classes would apply - I graduated from college 12 years ago! I guess I didn't realize how involved it would be....
I'll have to look into it a bit more. Thanks for commenting Becca! Like your catchy screen name!
From what I can tell about your personality from your posts, and from your obvious interest in and knowledge about health issues, I think you would be well-suited for such a career! I am obviously not a professional in the field myself, but all I know is that I were seeking a nutritionist I would like to go to someone like you
Good luck and please keep us posted!
Hi Lisa. I wondered if you would be able to tell me - or point me to a resource - about the academic requirements for becoming a nutritionist. Also, is there a difference between a dietician and a nutritionist?
As the boys get closer to both being in school full-time, I'm exploring options for my going back to work - maybe . I have a BA in Psychology, but have found that it is almost useless without an advanced degree. I am also trying to find something that I am truly passionate about.
Ideally, I'd like to use such a degree to help others with weight-loss program or all-around fitness program. What sorts of jobs are typically available? What's a typical salary? Anything you can share with me would be great!
Hi-I think that some of those college credits would definately apply! It is a pain to take all of the math and stuff, but it does sound like you really love the subject! The ADA website is really great for giving up-to-date info on all of that stuff-I'm glad that you found it. Keep me updated-I can send you my old biochem. books if you decide to go for it!!- Becca
Natasha - thanks so much for the kind words! Makes my rainy day brighter!
I'm just not sure that at 34 (not like I'm ancient or anything, but....) with two kids that I can face school again!!! I'd have to sit down with someone and have them go over my transcripts and see what kind of time would be involved.
And math - ack!!! That is NOT my strong suit. I took one course in college and had no idea what was going on! Becca - what sorts of math courses do you have to take? That really scares me....
I also find it hard to think about having any sort of career. I still want to be with the kids after school and then what about vacations and summers?! What sort of job would give me this sort of flexibility????? And if I did decide to put them into a daycare or have a babysitter, it would probably eat up a large part of my salary.
I also play around with the idea of working in computers - website design or something. That would give me a lot more flexibility. I've been playing around with HTML just for the heck of it.
I just know that once the boys are older, I'm going to need something more for myself. Here I am, 34 and I have no idea what I want to be when I "grow up"!!
I feel your pain. Do you know how I decided to major in nutrition? I was a pre-dental major, a junior and I was seriously failing Spanish. I could do the math & science with no problem, but I have some language. . . "issues". My writing downright sucks if you haven't noticed.
Anyway, my advisor looked over my courses and said, "how do you feel about nutrition? You will only be a year behind."
I said, "sounds OK to me". And so my career was decided. Pretty pathetic huh? Fortunatly I liked it, the funny thing is that I HATED the cooking and culinary classes. I would be studying for an advanced biochem class while also worrying about the "test" on veggie chopping in FOODS 101! I visited the CL test kitchen at least 3 times on field trips and I was BORED. Little did I know how interested I would become.
Becca is right on with the requirements to be an RD. Many of the internship programs are now 2 year programs that complete a master's degree.
I work as the only dietitian in an outpatient cancer center. It is a really great job. I did work in the hospital, but I felt like a glorified waitress and I got sick of apologizing for the bad food.
The problem with wanting a flexible job that allows you to be home with your kids, is that most RD's are women and they also want to only work those same hours.
Have you thought of anything cooking related? I think doing a cooking school, preparing meals for those people who are "too busy" would be a great business. I have patients who pay a woman here in K'ville to prepare their meals - she is called the 'food fairy'!
Taking a few courses on restaurant management (in case you have "staff")and some classes in general nutrition & food safety would be helpful in planning something like this.
I still feel like I should have been a veterinarian- even if I can't spell it right. I think that would be a job that I would love. We have a great vet school here in Knoxville, but I hear that vet school is harder than medical school and the money is not all that great for all of that time and $ you put into the education.
Good luck in your search - keep me posted on what you decide.
Lisa- I completely understand how you felt working in the hospital. I did some work at a nursing home and also felt like a waitress who sometimes gave advice! How great that you work in a cancer center now! Did I mention that I am a 24 yr. old uterine cancer survivor of 5 years? That is how I really became interrested in nutrition (through my healing process, learning about the amazing health benefits of food). I would love to hear more about your experiences. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com. Sorry to go off the subject everyone, it's just not often that I connect with other nutritionists, as I am working as a chef and baker these days!.-Becca
Hey guys, I'm a fellow RD. I'm not sure if things are different from state to state, but in TX, there are some issues between the label of "nutritionist" and "dietitian". For example, here, basically anyone can be labeled a nutritionist. I read an article once where a cat was labeled a certified nutritionist just because it's owner paid for the certificate! However, to become a dietitian, you must have a bachelor's degree (I have a BS) in nutrition and go through the graduate internship process, then pass the RD exam. So Becca, sounds like you're a RD, too. I was just wondering if the label was the same wherever you guys are from.
I am eventually going to culinary school, too, (hopefully I'll find a job as great as yours sounds, Becca!) so my education is far from over, but it's so nice to finally have a credential. Off the subject, do you have to be licensed to practice in your states? TX requires RD,LD. Just wondering in case we leave TX to attend culinary school! Good luck, lindrusso--my university nutrition courses were great. I'm sure you would enjoy it, too!
[This message has been edited by cryskie (edited 02-10-2001).]
I had a friend in High School that loved cooking and had a pt time job as a baker. She went on to get her degree in Hotel and Restaurant Mgt. (from Boston U.) I know she did'nt take anything more than the basic Math or Science classes, she currently is a caterer.
**To answer your question regarding the average salaries: go to www.salary.com
[This message has been edited by JLS (edited 02-14-2001).]
[This message has been edited by JLS (edited 02-14-2001).]
To add on to JLS's post, I am a dietician here in Texas also but I am currently getting my masters in Kinesiology. I worked as a RD in a community living environment and found it very depressing. The quality of food was terrible and there was nothing I could do about it. The pay was also very low (actually I could have made far more money as a waitress!!) Personally I just did not feel that I was having enough one-on-one impact with people. The reason I got into this field is because I want to help others live heatly/happy lives.
Here are some professions I'd recommend you investigate if you're interested:
wellness counseling, culinary arts, or any of the health related fields (like nursing which actually is taking a really interesting venture into patient counseling on overall health).
I too am a RD. To answer Crystal, in PA the nutritionist vs dietitian label is the same. Anyone can be labeled a nutritionist, but you have to have a BS degree and pass RD exam to be called a dietitian. Here in PA, we do not have LD (liscensed) status yet but this might be pending.
I work in a VA oupt clinic as a certified diabetes educator. I love it! It is so much nicer educating people to keep them healthy rather than to work with patients in the hospital who are sick.
Crystal, Good luck with culinary school, it sounds like fun (a lot of work, but fun)!
Lindrusso, Good luck with your decision.
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