How To Become A Nutritionist: A Complete Guide

Nutritionists are in demand these days as more people are starting to work on becoming fit and healthy.  Aside from this, the increasing life expectancy of baby boomers is generating more jobs for nutritionists.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of nutritionists will rise to 77,100 in 2020.  This means more people earning roughly between $51,000 and $68,330 per annum.

how to become a nutritionist

If you are wondering how to become a nutritionist, here are five steps that could help you be one.


1.    Identify Your Course.  Not all nutritionists simply give advice on proper nutrition.  Some work as food researchers, so they are called Food Nutritionists with a degree in Nutrition and Food Science.  Those that study the relationship of an animal’s anatomy with its dietary needs are Animal Nutritionists with a Bachelor’s Degree in either Biology or Chemistry.


Meanwhile, a Public Health Nutritionist is someone who has acquired a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree; thus, he is capable of implementing and disseminating nutrition policies to both the public and private sectors.


2.    Apply for a Scholarship Program.  A nutrition course is expensive but if you’re really interested in becoming a nutritionist, gather as many scholarship resources as you can in your state of residence.


Most nutrition scholarship programs prioritize applicants with a high grade point average (GPA), which serves as a gauge of their ability to maintain academic excellence.  You can inquire about scholarships for nutrition courses from the university you are planning to attend or from state organizations.   Some scholarship programs offer financial assistance amounting from $1,000 to $2,000. Below are some of the colleges listed on EducationUSA that offer bigger scholarships.


  • College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown, NJ – Scholarships range from $4,000 to $16,000 a year.
  • College of Saint Mary, NB – Its annual scholarships amount to $14,595.
  • Converse College, SC – Offers a financial aid that amounts to $18,000 on average.
  • Agnes Scott College, GA – Financial aid award is $15,000


3.    Undergo Training.  After you have acquired a nutritionist degree, consider intern jobs in a hospital or clinic so that you can get a firsthand experience of a nutritionist’s job.  As an intern, you will be able to apply everything that you learned in the classroom.  Thinking and acting like a health expert is after all how to become a nutritionist.


Furthermore, an intern job will prepare you for the licensure exams to be administered by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists (CBNS) and Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB).


4.    Master Your Conversational and Organizational Skills.  Just because you have graduated from college, it does not mean you have mastered all the fundamental aspects of a nutritionist’s job already.  It is important to master effective communication.  This way, you can explain clearly to your patients why they need to eat certain foods without making them feel alarmed or confused.


5.    Get a License.  Although you are free to think and act like a nutritionist, you will never be one until you have acquired a license from the nutritionist certification boards.  Passing the Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) Exam  and CBNS Exam is how to become a certified nutritionist in 46 states.    To qualify for the exams, though, you have to comply with the boards’ requirements.


  • The CBNS Exam requires a Master’s Degree in Nutrition or in Clinical Health from an accredited college.  You must have earned at least 1,000 hours of internship and passed a medical nutrition therapy.
  • The CNN Exam requires a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition Science or any related course.  You must have had at least 900 hours of internship apart from 56 hours of postgraduate studies.


With patience and perseverance in looking for the right scholarship program that is designed for a nutrition course, anyone who aspires to become a nutritionist someday can easily achieve his dream.


Your Turn

 Do you have other tips on how to become a nutritionist?


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