Unique Job Options for Dieticians
The most common work environment for registered dieticians is within the realm of health care. Hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities employ dieticians to provide guidance and management of patients’ complex dietary needs.
Schools also employ those with backgrounds in nutrition. Due to the concern of childhood obesity and the need for healthier school lunches, dieticians are often on the front lines of ensuring children are getting the nutrients they need from their school meals.
However, there are many other options for those with an advanced degree in nutrition. From communications and marketing to food production, there is a growing need for professionals with in-depth knowledge of nutrition and diet.
1. Supermarket Dietician
Supermarkets are in a unique position to educate consumers at the point of purchase. Many supermarket chains employ dieticians to develop educational programs and marketing promotions. Grocery stores have offered everything from “Ask the Dietician” programs for customers on social media to cooking seminars and in-store labeling to help customers make better decisions.
Media outlets often seek dieticians as spokespeople and sources for stories related to food and diet. Food companies, health care providers, and other businesses within the food and eating sphere often hire communications professionals with backgrounds in dietetics to provide accurate and useful information while supporting their public relations goals.
There are thousands of blogs and websites devoted to nutrition, food, and eating. That’s not even counting books about diets and food (including cookbooks), magazine articles, and educational materials produced for doctors’ offices, hospitals, and stores. In other words, there are plenty of opportunities for experienced writers who can put their knowledge of nutrition to work by educating others.
4. Sports Dietician
Sports nutrition is a rapidly growing field, thanks to the growing understanding of the connection between nutrition and performance. Combining training in nutrition with the knowledge of exercise science, sports dieticians work with athletes at all levels to help them eat better, maintain a healthy weight, and stay at the top of their games.
The leap from clinical provider to farmer might seem large, but there is a growing trend among registered dieticians to shift from talking about food to actually producing it. It is by no means an easy transition to move into the commercial farming field, but an understanding of the basics of nutrition is beneficial to the production and marketing of healthy food.
6. Nonprofit or NGO Worker
Nonprofit organizations in the US and around the world often seek dieticians to help guide their efforts to feed the hungry and eradicate disease. You might work directly in the field, or in the office as an advocate, lobbyist, or grant or policy writer.
While the majority of registered dieticians work in clinical positions, there are plenty of options beyond the usual healthcare roles. Do not rule out a career in this field if you don’t want to work in a hospital — you can have a satisfying career without ever setting foot in one.