How to Become a Nutritionist

This article provides in-depth information into What is a Nutritionist? What Nutritionist do? Degrees for Nutritionist, Steps to become Nutritionist and much more.

A nutritionist is a specialist in the field of nutrition and food. They advise individuals on what to eat keeping in mind the end goal to lead a healthy lifestyle or accomplish a particular health-related objective. They work in numerous settings, including hospitals, cafeterias, nursing homes, and schools. Some are independently employed in their own practice. All registered dietitians are nutritionist, but not all nutritionists are registered, dieticians.

What does a Nutritionist do ?

Nutritionists are experts in food and nutrition. They help patients choose the right things to eat, help them plan menus, and advise them on the health effects of certain foods.

  • Educate clients about nutrition and how it helps in living a healthy lifestyle.

  • Assess patient's current dietary habits and needs.

  • Formulate proper food menus, taking both cost and clients’ preferences into account.

  • Follow up to ensure effects of meal plans and change the plans as needed.

  • Write reports that document a patient’s progress.

  • Keep up with the latest nutritional science research.

  • Promote better nutrition by giving talks to groups about diet and nutrition.

Steps for becoming a Nutritionist


Earn A Bachelor’s Degree From An Approved And Accredited Program

To become nutrition the first step is to complete a bachelor’s degree from an approved and accredited program in dietetics, food, and nutrition, food service system management, or a related field. Bachelor’s degree programs can typically be completed in four years. During their training, students may also have to complete an internship, either during their undergraduate program or shortly after graduation.


Meet Licensing And Certification Requirements

Licensure and certification requirements differ across the country. Many states require nutritionists to obtain and update special certifications, while others require completion of exams to prove knowledge and skills. Most of the licensing requirement requirements are administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. For example, In order to become a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS), candidates must obtain an advanced degree, complete 1,000 hours of fieldwork, and pass an exam.


Consider An Advanced Degree In Nutritional Science

Some nutritionists decide to continue their education by completing a master’s or doctorate degree program in nutrition. Although advanced degrees are normally not required to work as a nutritionist, they can prepare students to work as educators and researchers in the nutrition field.


Seek And Obtain Employment

Nutritionists have plenty of options when it comes to places of employment. You can work in many settings, including hospitals, cafeterias, nursing homes, government agencies, and schools. Some are even self-employed.

Nutritionist Salaries


Nutritionist Degree Levels


The Associate of Science degree in nutrition gives students a basic overview of the discipline, as well as hands-on training that prepares them to work in the field. In addition, this degree lays the foundation for students who eventually decide to continue their education with an eye toward becoming licensed.

Normal Nutrition
  • Conducting food lab experiments

  • Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins

  • Nutrient analysis

  • Provides an overview of the nutrition field

  • Principles of nutrition science

  • Nature and functions of carbohydrates

Modified Diets
  • Diets for medical conditions

  • dietary recommendations

  • dietary modifications

  • Relationship between nutrients and body functions

  • Health and medical conditions

  • Diets

Nutrition and Fitness
  • body fat composition

  • dietary supplements

  • Exercise

  • Relationship between diet and energy

  • Physical performance

  • Cardio


Students in this program gain a solid foundation of nutrition theory, along with a hands-on look at how it works in practice when dealing with patients. This program also provides an understanding of how to educate a community about the importance of good eating habits, as well as the ever-changing relationship between nutrition and societal factors such as culture and socioeconomic status.

Cultural and Social Aspects of Food
  • Different ethnic groups

  • Popular recipes in different cultures

  • Ingredients used in different regions

  • Relationship between culture and eating habits

  • Food-related health care issues

  • Understand others through their cuisines

Introduction to Food Science
  • Preparation of food

  • Physical and chemical properties of food

  • Packaging of foods

  • Physical and chemical properties of food

  • Overview of food science and technology

  • Examine the differences between food constituents

Nutrition Counseling
  • Verbal and nonverbal communication skills

  • nutrition education resources

  • Promoting the health benefits

  • Discuss the dietetic practitioner's role

  • The process of counselling

  • Attributes of a successful counselor


Master’s degree is for those students who want to advance their skills and gain deeper knowledge in a specific area. A master’s degree in nutrition takes about two years of full-time study to complete. These programs are designed for practicing nutritionists and allow students to focus on a specialty area. In many cases, there is also a heavy emphasis on understanding nutrition research.

Nutrition Research Methods
  • Different research techniques

  • Analyzing research studies

  • Interpreting research results

  • Understanding of research in nutritional science

  • Systematic approach to solve problems in nutritional science

  • Methodologies used in nutritional science

Human Lactation
  • Support to nursing mothers

  • Benefits of breastfeeding

  • Challenges associated with breastfeeding

  • Nutritional benefits of breastfeeding

  • Breastfeeding promotion

  • Protection and support

  • Awareness of diseases

  • Understanding how diseases are spread

  • Epidemiological statistics techniques

  • Different kinds of communicable diseases

  • Prevention of diseases

  • Measures of association


Nutritionist degree programs at the doctoral level are more focused on research, training students to contribute to the field by conceiving and conducting original nutrition studies. They also emphasize teaching, particularly at the postsecondary level. A doctoral degree can be ideal for professionals who want to become experts and advance in their careers, taking on managerial roles in either the public or private sector.

Eating Disorders
  • Recognizing eating disorders

  • Understanding obesity

  • Treating patients with eating disorders

  • Problems associated with disordered eating in adults and children

  • Theories and biases regarding obesity

  • Biological, medical, nutritional, psychosocial, and cultural factors

  • Analyzing public health problems

  • Conducting population research

  • Applying statistical methods to healthcare issues

  • Use of statistics in understanding public health problems

  • Use of Biostatistics in the field of public health

  • Concept of statistical inference

Advanced Nutrition and Wellness
  • Food preparation, safety & handling

  • Protein, fat, and carbohydrates

  • Trends & issues in nutrition

  • Provides an extensive study of nutrition

  • Food safety and sanitation

  • Personal hygiene


A nutrition certification course provides students with tools to design an effective nutrition and supplement programs for patients and advise them on diet and exercises legally. Nutrition certificate program covers the fundamentals of the fitness and nutrition field, from creating targeted fitness routines and mastering flexibility training to planning healthy menus and developing effective weight-loss strategies

Nutrition and Healthy Living
  • Nutrition and the digestive system

  • Carbohydrates

  • The science of exercise and weight loss

  • Scientific information on nutrition and disease prevention

  • Awareness of ways to preserve optimal lifetime health

  • Identify valid and reliable nutrition information

Nutrition Counseling
  • Understanding the person

  • Understanding the problem

  • Eliciting new behaviors

  • Techniques for refining counseling skills

  • Reducing the risk of chronic diseases

  • Connection between health and nutrition

Plant-Based Nutrition
  • Nutrition and Society

  • Diseases of affluence

  • Plant-based in practice

  • Following a plant-based diet and lifestyle

  • Prevention and reversal of diseases

  • Heart disease and diabetes