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Diet Counselor: Job Duties & Career Requirements

Get information about a career as a diet counselor. Learn about the required education and training. See what the career prospects are and what the earning potential is. Keep reading to find out if this job is right for you.

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Career Definition

A diet counselor is part of a team of professionals, including nutritionists and dietetic technicians, dedicated to providing accurate and individualized diet and nutrition counseling. Diet and nutrition counseling can be helpful for geriatric patients, patients who suffer from diabetes, hypertension or other medical conditions, and for obese patients. The diet counselor often works for a hospital, home health organization, or clinic with the responsibility for improving the nutritional habits of clients and patients. Diet and nutrition counseling may also be helpful for prenatal and infant care.

Become a Diet Counselor

Required Education

A diet counselor is sometimes regarded as having a more holistic viewpoint of health than a dietitian. The typical education required for a career in diet and nutrition counseling is a bachelor's degree in nutrition and/or counseling. A diet counselor may also enter the field by obtaining a degree in nutrition education.

Skills Required

Good people skills may be the most important factor for a successful career in diet and nutrition counseling. Because many diet counselors work directly with individuals and groups to convey information, skills in public speaking and presenting information in an interesting and accurate format is important.

Career and Economic Outlook

The median annual salary for registered dietitians involved in diet and nutrition counseling in 2012 was $55,240, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The diet counselor who has not completed the requirements to become registered will typically earn less. Job growth for this career is projected to be 20% from 2010-2020, better than the average expected for all occupations, according to the BLS.

Alternate Career Option

Health Educator

Health educators use their bachelor's degree in health education to promote good health and wellness practices through programs and direct outreach. They may prepare informative materials, host meetings or events, observe program participation and evaluate program successes, and advocate for related public policies and services to communities or populations in need. Some jobs do require a master's degree in a related field. Earning the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) designation is also required for some jobs. Jobs for health educators are expected to increase 37% from 2010-2020, according to the BLS. The median salary for health educators was $48,790 in 2012, per the BLS.

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