Doctors and nurses have long known that health is intrinsically linked with diet and nutrition. While it has taken the general public a bit longer to catch up, now nutrition related careers are rapidly growing, with nutritionists being hired in a wide variety of institutions. As the interest in nutrition grows, so does the interest in nutrition degrees. For career versatility and salary potential, there’s no better nutrition degree to earn than a master’s of science in Nutrition. A master’s degree in Nutrition prepares graduates for a wide variety of career paths. So, what can you do with a master’s in Nutrition? Below we explore just a few of the many careers you can pursue with an MS in Nutrition in hand.
But First, What Does a Master’s in Nutrition Entail?
A master’s in Nutrition trains students to promote and support awareness of optimal nutrition. By integrating biochemical and physiological knowledge with nutritional, evidence-based interventions, graduates of MS in Nutrition programs are able to prevent and treat a variety of health conditions. This knowledge is acquired by taking a number of foundational courses in physiology and biochemistry, as well as program-specific courses. These classes include:
- Evidence-Based Nutrition
- Biochemistry of Nutrition
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Developmental Nutrition
- Clinical Biochemistry
At University of Bridgeport, the Human Nutrition Program provides students with the skills they need to provide counseling in alternative and complementary medicine using nutritional strategies. The program helps students explore the ways in which nutrition can be used as a preventative, adjunctive, and alternative strategy for both the prevention and treatment of health conditions. However, the classes taken while pursuing an MS in Nutrition prepare students for a number of career paths. These include:
Perhaps the most obvious choice for those who earn a master’s degree in Nutrition is to pursue a career as a nutritionist. Nutritionists evaluate their clients’ health through nutrition assessment and, in some cases, diagnostic laboratory testing. Based on their findings, they can advise their clients on how they should modify their behavior, develop meal and nutrition plans for their clients, and counsel their clients on their nutritional needs. Nutritionists help prevent or treat health conditions including heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and obesity. They may also work with clients who suffer from disordered eating. In many cases, nutritionists work as members of larger patient care teams, collaborating with physicians and other healthcare professionals.
Becoming a Nutritionist
While it is possible to work as a nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree, it is recommended that those who wish to work in a clinical setting pursue graduate study. Graduate work prepares students to provide clinical care in medical practices, hospitals, and government agencies. Nutritionists who hold a master’s degree are also qualified to teach and conduct research. After graduating, students should research the licensure requirements of their state. Currently, only nineteen states require clinical nutritionists to earn licensure. In Connecticut, for example, there is no license required for providing general nutrition care; however, only state-certified individuals can call themselves “certified nutritionists.”
The median annual wage for nutritionists was $63,090 in 2020. The highest ten percent of nutritionists earned more than $90,000. Salary can depend on level of experience, location, and type of employer. For example, those nutritionists who work in outpatient care facilities tend to earn more than their counterparts who work in residential care facilities.
- Community Health Educator
Community health educators work to promote good health and prevent disease within their community. Working in a variety of settings, from schools to their local government, community health educators teach people about health behaviors. They may develop educational plans or strategies to improve the overall health outcomes of their community members. They can act as advocates for their community members in their search for healthcare. They may also conduct research and collect data to help identify their community’s health needs. They can use this information to create outreach programs and provide social support.
Becoming a Community Health Educator
Health education specialists are typically required to hold a bachelor’s degree in health education or promotion, at least. However, a master’s degree in a related field such as health science, public health, or nutrition can enhance one’s career prospects. For example, you can complete an MS in Nutrition if you are looking to become an expert in this area of health education. You may also complete a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) if you’d like an accelerated route towards a health education career.
Please note that many employers require that health education specialists be certified. Certification can be earned by passing examinations proctored by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.
The median annual wage for community health workers and educators in 2020 was $42,000. The highest ten percent of community health educators earn more than $70,790. Salary can depend on education level, experience, and employer.
- Technical Writer
Technical writers create instruction manuals, how-to-guides, journal articles, and other documents that communicate complex, technical, and frequently scientific information. They can write or revise content for products, edit materials written by other writers, and determine the needs of the end users of technical documentation. They create paper-based as well as digital materials for their employers. Technical writers who specialize in science writing (such as those who graduate with a degree in Nutrition) may help write grant proposals for research scientists and institutions.
Becoming a Technical Writer
In order to become a technical writer, prospective writers must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Some writers have a bachelor’s degree in English or communications. However, it is key that technical writers have extensive knowledge of a technical subject. So, if you’re a skilled writer who has a degree in Nutrition, for example, this may be a wonderful career for you!
The median annual age for technical writers was $74,650 in 2020. The highest ten percent can earn more than $119,040. The salary of a technical writer depends on their skill level, portfolio, experience level, and the industry they’re writing for.
Those who earn a graduate degree in Nutrition can pursue many highly in-demand careers. Employment for nutritionists is expected to increase by 11% in the next ten years, much faster than the national average. Plus, a degree in Nutrition can prepare graduates for a variety of other careers, from food science to community health. Students who graduate with a master’s degree in Nutrition are needed to help solve the health problems of today in unique and innovative ways.
Interested in pursuing a career in nutrition? Contact us online to get more information about University of Bridgeport’s M.S. in Nutrition.