Masters Degree in Nutrition: Career Options and Salary Info
Read details about master's degree studies in nutrition. Find out what degree is earned, what is needed to enroll and what courses are offered in the curriculum. Get information about career options, licensure requirements and career information such as employment outlook and average earnings.
A master's degree program in nutrition is meant to educate students on the effects and benefits of food choices, diet assessment and other health principles related to diet. The goal of a master's degree in nutrition is for graduates to be eligible to become registered dietitians (RDs). Students striving toward this goal take classes in various types of food, exercise and counseling. They learn how to plan balanced menus, guide individuals towards healthy choices and assess the nutritional value of foods. This program typically takes two years to complete if taken at full-time status and results in a Master of Science degree. Many states require dietitians to be licensed or certified.
In addition to having earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, students must have a science background and may need college credits in chemistry and biology. Other prerequisite courses may include anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and basic nutrition.
Courses focus on natural and biochemical healing processes in the human body. By the end of the program, the student must have completed an independent project or thesis. Some courses may include study of the following:
- Metabolic disease
- Nutritional status
- Botanical medicine
Popular Career Options
Although RDs cannot hand out medicine to patients, they can counsel individuals and groups on nutritional practices and menu planning. Some careers may include the following:
- Community dietitian
- Management dietitian
- Clinical dietitian
- Nutritional educator
- Philanthropic project officer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), employment growth in the dietitian and nutritionist field is expected to increase by about 20% in the period between 2010 and 2020. The BLS also stated that the median annual salary of dietitians and nutritionists was $55,240 in May 2012.
There are 48 states with laws governing dietitians. Of these, 35 require licensure, 12 require certification and one requires dietitians to register with the state. State requirements vary, and dietitians need to consult their individual state's website to find out more information.
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