Nutritionists are vitally important in the health care field. There is a steadily projected job growth through 2014 for those who chose the profession. Educational requirements include a bachelor's degree and in most states, a licensure exam. Those wanting to go the extra mile might consider obtaining the registered dietitian credential.
Becoming a nutritionist requires at least a bachelor's degree in nutrition, dietetics, food and nutrition, or food services system management. On your path to being a nutritionist, you will be taking courses not only involving food and nutrition but also specific science courses such as chemistry and microbiology. There are more than 280 bachelor's degree programs approved by the American Dietetic Association, so finding a quality program is easy.
After obtaining a bachelor's degreee, earning a license is the next step. Forty-eight states require nutritionist candidates to pass a licensure exam. Requirements and exams vary by state, so be sure to research your state's procedures. Most states allow for retakes if your first attempt at licensure is not successful. In states that require a license, nutritionists cannot practice in any form until they have passed the exam.
Nutritionists seeking higher pay and increased job opportunities can apply for the title of registered dietitian. An exam and internship is required. This title and exam are different from state licensing and requires candidates to complete 75 hours of continuing education every five years. Registered dietitian status can let potential employers know you are up to date on the latest nutritional theories and are at the top of your field.