how to become a nutritionist

What does a Nutritionist do?

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A nutritionist is someone that advises on nutrition and the effects it may have on an individual. They will help a client alter their diet in a variety of ways in order to promote a healthier lifestyle and eating habits. They are not usually medical professions but a nutritionist can also be a dietician if they are licensed or registered.

Watch a video to learn what a nutritionist does.

How to Become a Nutritionist

A nutritionist must earn a bachelor’s degree and have knowledge in biology, psychology, therapy and counseling, education and training. Nutritionists are not required to be licensed in many states. However, they should understand math, medicine, and chemistry. They should be able to communicate, both orally and in writing, in order to convey information properly and clearly. They should be active listeners, so that, they understand what is being communicated to them.

Job Description of a Nutritionist


A nutritionist takes a holistic approach in helping individuals or their clients in altering their eating habits and living healthy lifestyles. They help clients reach the goals that they have set. A nutritionist may work on weight loss, nutritional or hormonal balance, digestion, or food allergies. The design eating programs that lays out plans for their clients to follow. In addition they may go out into the community to educate groups on nutritional balance, preventing diseases, or good eating habits. Many work in similar settings as dieticians such as hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, school cafeterias, or private homes.

Nutritionists often times use tools to determine client’s measurements by using scales, tape measures and skin-fold calipers. In addition, they may body measurement charts and other aids to demonstrate healthy foods techniques. They may consult with physicians or dieticians at times and work collaboratively to meet clients goals. It is key to keep up to date on the latest research and trends as well; therefore one is constantly learning.

A nutritionist usually works full time and regular hours. Some are self-employed and if licensed may have the ability to charge medical insurance for their work. Nutritionist often times are listening to their client’s concerns and explaining and communicating in words that are easily understood and implemented. It is also very important for a nutritionist to be knowledgeable in supplemental medicines and over the counter herbs.

Nutritionist Career Video Transcript

I love food and I love helping people at USDA our job is to teach Americans about healthy eating, which is a pretty big job. A nutritionist, or dietician, is an expert in food, health, and nutrition. Nutritionists are health professionals so they work in a variety of settings. Nutritionists work in hospitals helping patients. Nutritionists also work in grocery stores helping customers. There are nutritionists that work in gyms that help athletes perform their best.

As part of my, we get to create nutrition education and resources, so handouts like these that are really bright and colorful and teach people about my plate and healthy eating. I get to create web pages and also work with online apps and games. The super tracker is an online application where you can enter in information about you how tall you are, what age you are if you are a boy or girl, how active you are and it will tell you a food plan, it will tell you just how many fruits and vegetables you need to be eating each day how much dairy, protein, and grains so that you know you’re getting the right foods from all five food groups.

If you’re interested in being a nutritionist, you should get out there in your community and volunteer. Volunteer at a food bank, or soup kitchen, see what it’s like to help people get excited about healthy foods. It’s also important if you’re interested in being a nutritionist to be a healthy role model and you can start today. So eating healthy foods and being active and showing your friends and family that’s something you enjoy those are ways that you can be a role model for others in your life.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Dietitians and Nutritionists.

National Center for O*NET Development. 29-1031.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the Public Domain and originally hosted on which is now, an interagency product administered by USAGov, a division of the U.S. General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Service.

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