Friday, December 14, 2007

Creating a New Career: Get into Nutrition!

Hi Jean,

I am looking to get into the nutrition field; I am currently an archaeologist that loves the concept of my job more than the actual job, unfortunately. My interest has always been food and archaeology. I want to study food as much as possible, and how we, humans, should be eating healthier. I also would like to start out with just a nutrition certification, to make sure this is what I really want to change to, but am finding the number of programs out there overwhelming, and sometimes unreliable. Could you offer any insight on what I should do to narrow my search?Thank you, any time you have is much appreciated!


It's great to have the courage to follow your passion; too many people feel trapped in a career because it seems unwise to get a whole new education. My mom started going to community college as a high school drop out when I was 10. By the time I graduated from high school, she had earned her law degree from Cornell and now she has her own firm. Its worth it to pursue your passions!

That said, few "nutrition certifications" have credibility among other professionals. In fact, it is illegal in some states to give diets or nutrition information without being a registered dietitian! The registered dietitian (RD) credential is a four year dietetics-specific nutrition degree and about a 1000 hour internship; the whole process takes five years, starting from scratch, but it will make you an official "expert" in nutrition and you will able to accept insurance for some conditions. Find more information at read more at:

Another option is the diet tech credential (DTR), which is a two year credential, but you cannot do as much with it. Information about diet tech is available at above the link above as well.

On the other hand, it's smart to test out the new career choice first, so if I were in Bethany's position, I would start by taking a well-reviewed introductory nutrition class at a university that would also count toward the dietitian requirements. I would review the professors evaluation on websites and make sure good things were said about him or her; it's a shame to be turned off by a bad teacher! You will gain more relevant and true knowledge there than in a certification class or book. Too often, quick certification books are not thorough enough to make the material "understandable" without background a lot of knowledge. Secondly, I would find someone in your area that had the job that you think you would like to do and ask to shadow them for a few days or intern with them.

Also think about exactly how your background would allow you to stand out among teams of jaded dietitians, or many who are struggling to build a private practice (since most clients must pay out of pocket). I have found that my opportunities increase with more graduate education, and the majority of dietitians have a master's degree. It can be tough to stand out and highlight the value of your services!

Many people do extremely well in the nutrition field with limited/no education, however, so your passion for it is an important part of what can take you far. People are attracted to passion and confidence more than a framed piece of paper.

If you feel unmotivated by your life, think about what would make you happy and follow; you only have one life, so don't waste it making ends meet. Many community colleges have career counseling and reasonable credit-hour rates; financial assistance is usually a possibility

If your goal is to get a four year degree or graduate degree, graduating with mostly A's from junior college, along with community involvement, will make you stand out to top universities-- my mom is living proof! And to the moms out there, don't feel like you are not doing enough for your kids! Giving unconditional love, consistent boundaries, and taking charge of your own life is good parenting. My mom NEVER made a bagged lunch for me or attended ANY of my track meets, but she made her best effort to be home when I got off the school bus and demonstrated how striving for personal goals will completely change your life!

1 comment:

food management degree said...

Good thinking to pursue a career in nutrition and food management to enhance your career or for getting benefits for maximum job position etc.