How Much Do Nutritionists Make? (And How To Become One)

Updated 26 January 2023

As public awareness and concern for healthy living increases, so does the demand for healthcare professionals trained in nutrition. Many people rely on nutritionists to tailor the best diet suited to their needs. Nutritionists work in a variety of settings like public health clinics, private hospitals, schools, cafeterias, food businesses and nursing homes. In this article, we discuss how much do nutritionists make, primary responsibilities they have and how to become one.

How Much Do Nutritionists Make?

If you are considering a career as a nutritionist, you may benefit from understanding "How much do nutritionists make?". The salary of a nutritionist may depend on their qualifications or work experience, or the certifications and licences they possess. Their salary may vary with location, specialisation and the industry they work in. The average base salary of a nutritionist is ₹18,876 per month.

What Does A Nutritionist Do?

Nutritionists are experts in food and nutrition who help people develop healthy eating practices and make good diet choices. They develop personalised diet plans to help their clients cultivate healthier eating habits, reduce weight or incorporate lifestyle changes. Some common duties and responsibilities of nutritionists include:

  • Explaining the benefits of good nutrition to clients

  • Determining a client's health and dietary needs

  • Developing appropriate meal plans for a client based on their requirements and budget

  • Developing and analysing menus for schools, sports teams, hospitals and offices

  • Following up with clients to assess the impact of meal plans and making informed adjustments to plans

  • Promoting good nutrition and disease prevention through campaigns on healthy eating

  • Providing consultations for clients

  • Raising awareness about false advertisement and other public policy issues related to nutrition

  • Conducting research and staying up-to-date with developments in the food industry

Related: What Are Nutritionist Skills? (With Responsibilities)

What Are The Job Roles Available For A Nutritionist?

Nutritionists can work as counsellors at institutions like schools or pursue a private practice in the field of health care, in a clinical setting. Many people hire personal dieticians to plan healthy diet regimens for themselves and their family members. Sports professionals, actors, industrialists, models, fitness enthusiasts, health bloggers and people recovering from terminal illnesses may hire nutritionists to prepare menus to provide a healthy and balanced diet. The different job available to a nutritionist are:

  • Clinical dietician

  • Health coach

  • Medical nutritionist

  • Registered nurse

  • Rehabilitation counsellor

  • Sports nutritionist

  • Researcher

  • Lecturer

The primary employers for nutritionists include:

  • Paediatric hospitals

  • De-addiction centres

  • Diabetes clinics

  • Fitness salons

  • Food processing companies

  • Geriatric clinics

  • Government hospitals

  • Private hospitals

  • Hotels

  • Multinational companies

  • Nursing homes

  • Non-Governmental Organisations

  • Pharmaceutical companies

  • Physical therapy clinics

  • Schools

  • Social welfare initiatives

  • Sports management companies

  • Weight management clinics

  • Wellness centres

Related: How To Become a Lecturer: A Complete Guide

How To Become A Nutritionist?

A nutritionist's work requires knowledge of scientific terminology and concepts like nutrients, enzymes, proteins and genetics. They also have a comprehensive understanding of the impact of food on the human body. A formal science-based academic qualification is important to become a professional nutritionist. Follow these steps to become a nutritionist:

1. Choose science stream in 10+2

Choose natural science subjects like biology, zoology or chemistry at the 10+2 level to pursue these subjects at the undergraduate level. Since science subjects largely constitute an academic programme in nutrition, science background at the higher secondary school level helps you understand and work with advanced topics in these disciplines. Colleges may conduct their own entrance examinations for admission, or grant admission to students on the basis of their 10+2 board exam results.

Related: How To Become A Nutritionist: Duties, Salary And Skills

2. Pursue a nutrition-related bachelor's degree

Nutrition is a popular subject, and most science colleges offer nutrition-related bachelor's degrees. B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science) in Nutrition and Dietetics and B.Sc. in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics are the most appropriate courses to pursue to become a nutritionist. The syllabus of these courses include human physiology, food and nutrition, food chemistry, maternity and health, public health and nutrition, food science, food preservation, cuisine and health, general dietetics and food biotechnology. After completing a bachelor's degree, you become eligible to work in entry-level nutritionist roles.

3. Consider a master's degree in nutrition

A master's degree in nutrition can benefit candidates looking to set up private practice or independent consultancies after gaining some industry experience. Post-graduate qualifications can also give you a competitive edge while pursuing administrative roles in reputed companies. A master's degree may also be beneficial if you are interested in pursuing a doctorate in nutrition. Popular master's degrees related to nutrition are M.Sc. (Master of Science) in Nutrition and Dietetics, M.Sc. in Food and Nutrition and M.Sc. in Clinical Nutrition. Post-graduate degrees in nutrition may focus on public health, clinical nutrition, food science and diet therapy.

Related: How To Share Your Education Background

4. Join specialised courses or diplomas

Joining a nutrition-related diploma or a certification program helps you to specialise in specific facets of nutrition. Many premier government and private institutes offer short-term certification and diploma programs in nutrition. While you can join certificate courses directly, you may require to pass an entrance exam to join a two or three-year diploma programme. Before registering for an online or offline course, verify if the course and the institutes have the necessary accreditations from a governing authority. Some popular diploma and certification programmes that are beneficial for nutritionists to pursue are:

  • Certified sports nutritionist

  • Diploma in nutrition and dietetics

  • Diploma in nutrition and fitness

  • Diploma in nutrition and health education

  • Post-graduate diploma in dietetics

  • Post-graduate diploma in dietetics and public health

  • Post-graduate diploma in nutrition and dietetics

5. Work as an intern

Government and non-government agencies working in the field of public health employ interns for data collection, analysis and field work. Wellness centres, hospitals, branding companies and fitness centres employ interns to assist with routine office functions. Completing an internship helps you gain entry-level work experience and gives you a good understanding of work culture.

Related: What Are Internships And How Do You Find One?

6. Get a nutritionist license

The Indian Dietary Association (IDA) is an organisation that sets up standards of practice for dieticians and nutritionists. A license from IDA increases your chances of employment in large hospitals and government agencies. The following is the eligibility criteria to apply for a registered dietician's license:

  • Master's degree or post-graduate diploma in nutrition

  • Six-month internship after graduation

  • Clearing the IDA examination

What Are The Career Paths Available To Nutritionists?

With a growing awareness of the relation between nutrition and health, many individuals and enterprises approach nutritionists for diet tips and making diet modification plans. Large organisations employ nutritionists to design menu plans for their employees in their canteens and cafeterias. Many popular wellness websites and social media channels hire nutritionists to guide their followers to adopt healthy eating habits. Some popular career paths for nutritionists include:

  • Clinical nutritionist: Only registered nutritionists can practice as clinical nutritionists. These professionals work in hospitals and provide nutrition therapy for admitted patients. They can also practice as entrepreneurs and start wellness centres or cafes that serve nutrient rich food.

  • Public health nutritionist: Public health nutritionists work with national and international organisations that develop policies to counter malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, anaemia and other nutrition-related diseases. They may work with journalists or regulatory bodies that inspect the quality of ingredients in food products.

  • Oncology nutritionist: An oncology nutritionist works exclusively with cancer patients. These professionals collaborate with oncologists and provide diet-related guidance and additional treatment to patients.

  • Food safety auditor: A food safety auditor ensures that food processing units, production facilities and farms follow regulatory guidelines.

  • Sports nutritionist: Sports nutritionists work with private and public physical education colleges and sports clubs to prepare diet plans for sports persons according to their specific requirements. They may also work in fitness clubs and gyms and consult with personal trainers to assist members.

  • Entrepreneur: Several nutritionists establish private practice in which they provide counselling to clients as independent contractors or through a firm they own. They advise them on maintaining good nutrition, help develop meal plans and motivate them to stay committed to healthy eating.

  • Food scientist: These professionals work as researchers, food analysts and consultants in the food industry. Food scientists study the nutritional value of ingredients that go into making a food product.

Related: How To Write A Dietary Aide Resume (With Tips And Example)

What Are Some Skills That Nutritionists Require?

Nutritionists provide scientific and evidence-based advice to their clients. They may work with individuals, communities or organisations. They may work as part of a team to create and enforce policies and guidelines regarding nutrition. If you are keen on becoming a nutritionist, consider developing the following skills:

  • Communication skills: Written and verbal communication skills are necessary for nutritionists. They educate their clients about nutrition and collaborate with physicians and other healthcare professionals to develop nutrition plans.

  • Organisational skills: Nutritionists manage medical records and other evidential paperwork. Organisational skills, time management skills and attention to detail are key skills that can benefit a nutritionist in performing their duties.

  • Instructional skills: Instructional skills are necessary to inform clients about diet plans and nutrition regimens. Nutritionists benefit from having the ability to break down complex concepts into simple instructions that are easy to follow.

  • Mathematical skills: Nutritionists frequently make calculations to determine nutrient intake, measure Body Mass Index (BMI) and calculate caloric intake. Good mathematical abilities can help them hasten their diet planning workflows.

Related: 9 Examples Of Useful Nutritionist Skills (With Definition)

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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