Skip to main content
Explore Health and Human Development

A Nutritional Sciences degree can be the foundation for career opportunities in areas such as:

Further information on each of these categories is listed below. Contact your academic adviser for more information about recommended courses to prepare for these careers.

Clinical Dietetics

  • Hospitals, long-term care, and outpatient settings
  • Many specialties (pediatric, renal, diabetes, nutrition support, etc.). RDN generally required

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists working in inpatient care earn a median salary of $56,659; ambulatory care: $51,750; and long-term care: $58,281 (Source: Compensation Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession, 2009)

Food and Nutrition Management

  • Hospitals, long-term care, businesses, schools
  • Work with chefs or at spas
  • Consult regarding healthy choices on menu

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists working in food and nutrition management earn a median salary of $67,995 (Source: Compensation Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession, 2009)

Public Health Nutrition

  • Women, Infants & Children (WIC)
  • Public Health Department with state and county agencies
  • Cooperative Extension
  • Congregate Meals program

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists working in public health earn a median salary of $52,000 (Source: Compensation Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession, 2009)

Education and Research

  • College, university, health professional school, and culinary school
  • Teach K-12 (requires further course work)
  • Create and write curriculum for state board of education, Dairy Council, Cooperative Extension
  • Worksite wellness--teach nutrition, exercise, fitness and other health promotion to employees
  • Manage or assist with clinical protocols, interventions, or clinical trials

Advanced degrees are usually required for research-based and university-based jobs. The RDN credential is frequently preferred, but not required. Registered dietitians working in education and research earned a median salary of $65,000 (Source: Compensation Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession, 2009)

Consultant / Private Practice

  • Private practice consultation to hospitals and long-term care facilities on hourly or "job" basis
  • Client counseling for weight management, eating disorders, sports nutrition, diabetes management, etc. from either physician referrals and/or advertisements
  • Write cookbooks, educational programs, or articles for local newspapers or specialty magazines
  • Food photography
  • Consult at health clubs / spas as a personal trainer-nutritionist

The RDN credential is generally required for patient counseling. Registered dietitians working in consultation and business earned a median salary of $69,992 (Source: Compensation Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession, 2009)

Related Health Professionals

Use your nutrition degree and skills for a career in a health-related profession

  • Chiropractor (DC)
  • Dentist (DDS)
  • Naturopathic Doctor (ND)
  • Physical Therapist (PT)
  • Physician (MD or DO)
  • Physician Assistant (PA)
  • Podiatrist (DP)
  • Veterinarian (DVM)
  • Nursing

Additional post-baccalaureate schooling is required

Business and Industry

Careers in business and industry include jobs such as sales, marketing, public relations, research and development (labeling, recipes, and product informtation) and production quality control.

  • Food (eg. Cambell Soup, Kraft Foods, Proctor & Gamble)
  • Information Technology (eg. CBORD, Compu-Cal, Computrition, ESHA Research, First DataBank)
  • Nutritionals (eg. Mead Johnson, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Novartis Nutrition, Ross Products)
  • Nutraceuticals (eg. Archer Daniels Midland, Cooke Pharma, GeniSoy Products)
  • Pharmaceutical (eg. Eli Lily, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Pfizer)
  • Food Service Equipment (eg. Diversey Lever, Ecolab, Hamilton Beach Commercial, Hobart)
  • Food Service Contract Management (eg. Aramark Healthcare, Morrison Management, Sodexho)
  • Food Service Vendors (eg. Precision Foods, Super Bakery, Sysco, US Foodservice)
  • Medical Equipment (eg. Bodystat, HealtheTech, Johnson & Johnson)
  • Trade Associations (eg. Cranberry Institute, Dairy Council, Peanut Institute, Pork Producers)


  • Commodity groups (trade associations) hire public relations firms
  • Radio, TV, newspapers, and magazines are a major source of nutrition education for the public
  • Cooperative extension agents often write for the local media

International Food Organizations

  • Peace Corps
  • Non-governmental organizations such as CARE, Food for the Hungry, or World Relief
  • United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
  • US AID (Agency for International Development)
  • Multi-national corporation
  • Consulting and research collaboration

Public Policy / Government

  • Staff resource to legislator
  • Government agency--USDA, FDA, NIH, etc.
  • Health care reform
  • Supplement labels
  • Regulatory
  • Lobbyist in state or federal government