Degrees in nutrition give their holders a foundation in food studies, nutrition, physiology and a host of other related subjects. This career has an excellent outlook and comes with an excellent income.
However, like many fields of study, the study of nutrition is rather broad. Those who undertake this course of study have plenty of career options, so many, in fact, it’s often difficult to decide how best to use a nutrition degree once it’s earned.
What the Degree Teaches You
In order to understand what a degree can do for its holder, it is sometimes helpful to first look at what a typical nutrition studies degree teaches its students.
Below is a list of possible classes a nutrition science major would take while pursuing a degree at the undergraduate level. The classes were compiled by looking at nutrition degree programs from several colleges, including Oregon State University, University of Wisconsin Green Bay and Kansas State University.
In order to give would-be nutrition students a more thorough look at the study of nutrition. As with any degree, it’s best to look at the programs of several colleges in order to find the right fit for the degree seeker.
Here’s a look at the classes a nutrition student might take:
- Nutrition and health
- Kinesiology and nutrition
- Foodservice and production
- Metabolism and nutrition
- Promoting nutrition and food
- Food sanitation and safety
- Beer, wine and spirits
- Nutrition and athletic training
- Nutrition therapy
- Community nutrition
- Lifetime fitness and health
The course sample above demonstrates how different nutrition degrees approach the study of food and nutrition. Some of the coursework includes more practical coursework, designed to help those who want to work as chefs or caterers. Others deal with how food affects health. Others look at food and food systems in the community.
Common Jobs for Nutrition Majors
While many nutritionists opt to embark on a career as an independent nutritionist, many will get jobs with local businesses, organizations, and schools.
The University of Minnesota website highlights some of the jobs that people who’ve studied nutrition pursue:
- Food Service Managers: These nutrition professionals may work in the kitchen of a big chain restaurant or open up their own eatery. In addition to their skills in food and nutrition, they often need training in management, scheduling, and budgeting, to name but a few.
- Food Production and Sustainability Managers: As the world grows, food insecurity grows with it. Professional nutritionists who work in this industry create food systems that are more sustainable in areas that have been hit by famine, drought, and other events.
- Sports Dietician: Athletes have special nutrition requirements. Nutrition scientists who enjoy sports and athletics put their education to work in school athletic programs, doctors’ offices and other sports organizations. This job is a subcategory of those who study nutrition for the purposes of advancing health and wellness.
- Food Safety: People who work in food safety often become inspectors for state and local governments. They inspect and review the food safety practices of restaurants, coffee shops, assisted living facilities and other organizations that deal with food.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), jobs for nutritionists and dietitians will at 11 percent from 2018 to 2028. Salaries for these jobs come in at around $60,000 a year.
The above sample of nutrition-related jobs only represents a small fraction of the job types that people with nutrition degrees can get. Other food-related jobs can deal with food and beverage writing, public health policy and nutrition education.
People getting these jobs have a number of educational options. They can pursue nutrition studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels. They can also study a related subject, like sports physiology or medicine, and then get a certificate or a minor in nutrition.