Most easiest way to become a Nutritionist
Written by: zazafee
A nutritionist is an individual whose work is to advise people on matters related to food and its nutritional impacts on health. Nutritionists are known by different names in different countries such as clinical nutritionist, nutrition scientist, sports nutritionist or the public health nutritionist. In some instances the terms nutritionist and dietitian are used interchangeably. However, there is a big difference between the two terms in the United State with the term nutritionist being less protected and can be used with anyone, while dietitians have to meet certain professional requirements.
Traditionally the term nutrition has been associated with alternative medicine with notable example in the work of Robert O. Young. However, this association has been disputed with celebrity nutritionist and self taught nutritionist being classified as a danger to the public. Nutrition is now recognized as a scientific discipline that employs standard scientific formula and scientific evidence in its operation. Today the Association for Nutrition keeps a log of all accredited nutritionist with varied background in nutrition training and research.
Today in the United States nutritionists are recognized experts in matters pertaining food and nutrition. Qualified nutritionists offer advice to the public on what to eat and when in order to live healthy lifestyles. As a result, there is an expected increase in the employment of nutritionists by 20% between 2010 and 2020 according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is supported by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, of 2013 which found out that 27.1% of Americans are classified as obese and thus the pronounced need for nutritionists. These findings are related to those of the Centers for Disease Control of 2012 which had obesity at 34.9%. These findings can explain the growing interest in food and nutrition and the increasing role of nutritionists in the American society. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) further predicts that the growth in the nutritionists labour needs will vary depending on states being strongest in states like Utah, Colorado and Idaho.
The Roles of Nutritionists
Certified Nutritionists provide advice to the public on food and nutrition in the five specific areas. Thus nutritionists have to specialize in these five specific areas:
- Food Nutrition
Food Nutritionists specializes in human food and work in food education as food researchers, in food manufacturing firms to produce various processed human foods and food supplements, in fund service firms preparing and serving foods, in food retails stores such as supermarkets and pharmacies as customer care executives and in public relation firms as nutrition experts. Food nutritionists are trained on the ingredients, science, regulations, policies and legislations touching on the preparation, marketing and consumption of food stuff. Their roles therefore span the fields of food training, customer service, food marketing, health diet promotions, and communicating health standards. Sometimes food nutritionists are required to work on community development project and on food regulations formulation.
- Nutrition Science
The Nutrition Scientists are trained to carryout experiments on the physiological and metabolic responds of the body to given food items and nutrients. Thus nutrition scientists have expertise in biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology and genetics which are vitals in investigating the reaction of the body to food items. In their work, nutrition scientists aim at unraveling factors responsible for the requirements of energy and other nutrients in the body. Thus their job includes studying the human digestive systems, nutrients absorptions, and digestive related diseases among others. Nutrition Scientists typically performs research roles in food industries, research firms and academic centers. Their work helps in the understanding of food nutrition process in human beings and animals
- Public Health Nutrition
Public Health Nutritionists are trained to formulate, implement and assess nutritional regulations and policies in the public sector. Thus public health nutritionists apply a scientific body of knowledge in the development of policies and programs related to food consumptions in order to promote human health. The typical roles of Public health Nutritionists therefore includes advocacy in health improvement, solving nutritional inequalities in the public sector, policy formulation, implementing nutrition programs, monitoring the implementation of health regulations, and capacity building in nutrition and health sector.
- Sports & Exercise Nutrition
Nutritionist in the sports and exercise field are trained to deal with the formulation, implementing, monitoring and assessment of nutritional strategies in improving performance of stake holders in sport and exercise activities. They work carry out studies to find out the nutrients and energy requirements for given sporting activities and exercises and then formulate specific dietary menu for the teams or individuals involved in the sports. Usually sports and exercise nutritionist work in the sports nutrition firms or for given sporting teams, in research firms and in teaching centers. Their roles include food production for sports men, research work on food production and as nutrition consultants.
- Animal Nutrition
Animal Nutritionists apply their acquired body of knowledge on nutrition, anatomy, metabolism and physiology to a given species. Animal nutritionists provide dietary advice on the nutrition, and health of animals. They also carry out experiments on nutritional requirements of given animal species and the effects of a given food items of the species. Usually they work in zoos, academic centers, animal feed plants and animal health consultant centers.
In general nutritionists work in the food industry and perform experiments to develop a body of knowledge on food and nutrition from which they give advices related to food, dietary requirements and nutrition. It is therefore imperative that nutritionist must have a strong foundation in the science of food production and digestions in the body.
Educational Requirements for a Nutritionist
- Investigate the Educational Requirements in your State or Country
The first step to becoming a nutritionist is to investigate the educational requirements in your state or country. To become a nutritionist in the United States of America or in any other country in the world there are specific educational qualifications that you must meet. In the U. S. about 30 states licenses nutritionists while 15 certifies them. The licensing and the certification of nutritionists require some academic qualifications such as a certificate in food and nutrition or a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and nutrition. It is therefore important to investigate the requirements in your state or country before embarking on a given study program.
- Find a Fitting Educational Program.
To become an accredited nutritionist you need to have excelled in a given academic program in nutrition. Different programs differ in a number of things and so do the requirements for accreditation by states or countries. In America about 46 states require that you must have finished a two year or a four year academic program for you to be accredited. Thus you have the task of finding the perfect program depending on your states requirements.
Different institutions offer different nutrition courses and at different levels. For example there are eight schools offering nutrition Chicago. These collages offer nutrition training at four levels as follows; Nutrition Certificate, Bachelors degree in Nutrition, Masters degree in Nutrition and PhD degree in Nutrition. It is therefore important to find the right institution offering the course of your choice at the level you want to study.
To study a degree in nutrition the general requirements are at least two A’s in biology and chemistry, and an additional five GCSEs. Specific requirements however differ with the institution offering the course. Majority of courses in nutrition usually covers: food and nutrition, biochemistry, physiology, infection and immunology, current issues in public health and health promotion.
- Training and development
Once you are a qualified nutritionist and you are working you will be required from time to time to undergo continuous professional development programs. This are required to keep you updated in terms of emerging knowledge and skills. You may also consider advancing your knowledge by taking an advanced degree in nutrition. Taking an advanced degree will most definitely give you a strong foundation in the field and even open more job opportunities for you. You could become a certified clinical nutrition specialist or a certified nutrition specialist.
- Skills and Qualities
To become an accredited nutritionist you need a given set of skills and qualities. These includes: excellent communication skills, team player skills, the ability to inspire confidence in people, a deep interest in diet and nutrition, strong knowledge base on diet and nutrition, great evaluating and reporting skills, good time management skills and great organization skills.
Getting Certified as a Nutritionist
To be a certified nutritionist in the United States of America, you are required to complete the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB) course requirements. The requirements are; at least three hours in microbiology, biochemistry, chemistry, biology, Physiology and anatomy. In addition you also any five electives out of; Introduction to Nutrition, Nutrition and Supplementation, Nutrition Counseling Strategies, Nutrition and Disease, Nutrition II, Nutrition Assessment, Herbology and Nutrition and Aging.
Once you have the right course work the CNCB will review your collage transcript and other credential before you are a proved to take the(Post Graduate Studies in Clinical Nutrition) PGSCN course and the (certified Clinical Nutritionist) CCN exam for you to be certified. The PSGSCN course is made up of four courses that each takes about 14 hours. It’s done online in four sessions and takes 90 days to complete. Once you are done with the PGSCN courses work you submit all your paper work and apply for the CCN exam. The exam takes three hours and is taken at specific testing centers. Once you pass the exam you are then certified.
It is important to note that in some states such as Illinois one does not require to be certified for them to practice as nutritionist. In fact the college degree is enough for one to be legally recognized as nutritionists.
Starting Work as a Certified Nutritionist
To start working as a nutritionist you will require a license from your government. In the U.S. the procedure may differ from state to state and therefore it is important to find out the procedure in your state and apply for your license. If you move from one state to another or one country to another, they you have to apply for a license in that state or country.
Once you get your license, you need to start applying for job openings in medical centers, food processing firms, zoos, and research firms among others depending on your specializations. Be ready to volunteer or participate in on job training to further sharpening your skills and gain experience in the field. You can also consider specializing by advancing your studies and training so that you can build your skills in a niche field such as children nutrition.
Career Advancement in Nutrition
The nutrition field encompasses multiple wide range of career growth. The training in nutrition serves as a lunch pad for one to persue a myriad of specialized fields in nutrition. Some of the specialist career options in nutrition includes:
1. Public Health
As one seeks to advance their career is nutrition they can decide to specialize and become specialist public health nutritionists. This puts them in a better position to work for organizations that seeks to uplift the nutrition status of people living in given places such as the developing world and war torn countries among others.
- Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics
In advancing career in Nutrition a nutritionist can choose to specialize in clinical nutrition and become a specialist clinical nutritionist. This opens the doors for work with patients and in hospitals to help people recover from ailments by suggesting the best nutritional sources and requirements for given medication procedures.
- Food Nutrition Consultant
Some times to advance in nutrition a nutritionist may choose to become a consultant and offer services to a large number of clients in the food industry.
- Academia Nutrition Research and Lecturing
A nutritionist can also choose to advance his/ her career by joining the academic field as a researcher. One can choose to study up to the PhD level and then concentrate his/her efforts in studying food in the laboratory for the main aim of expanding the existing body of knowledge on food and nutrition.
Lastly one can opt to become a teacher in college or a university. One can take a post graduate certificate in education and become a certified teacher in food technology, home economics, or nutrition. This depends on the desires of the nutritionists.