What Is the Starting Salary for a Dietary Nutritionist?

Dietary nutritionists create and oversee nutritional programs for children, the elderly and the chronically ill. Read on to find out more information about the starting salaries for this career. Schools offering Fitness & Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Salary Overview

If you're interested in becoming a dietary nutritionist, you can expect to see a wide starting salary range. Nutritionists with less than a year of experience in the 10th-90th percentile earned a salary between $12,996 and $59,598 per year as of January 2014, reported PayScale.com. In contrast, most professionals of all experience levels made between $28,430 and $65,938 annually at that time. Your starting salary can depend on several factors, including your employer, the certification that you earn and your geographic location.

Salary Based on Employer

As a dietary nutritionist, you might work for hospitals, outpatient care centers, nursing care facilities or physician offices. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most dietitians and nutritionists were employed at hospitals and made an average yearly salary of $55,970 as of May 2012 (www.bls.gov). Those working at nursing care facilities made an average wage of $56,240 per year, while dietitians at outpatient care centers made higher average salaries of $58,450 annually.

Dietary nutritionists employed by corporations usually receive greater starting salaries than those who work in other sectors. The highest-paying industry for dietitians and nutritionists was in animal food manufacturing; the yearly average salary for professionals in this sector was $88,100 as of May 2012, according to the BLS. However, this industry only employed 30 workers. The Federal Executive Branch also offered competitive salaries, employing 1,960 nutritionists and dietitians, and paying them an average wage of $69,360 yearly.

Salary Based on Certification

Your starting salary as a dietary nutritionist can depend not only on the type of position that you take, but also if you earn certification from an accredited organization. The BLS reported that those who earn certification, in addition to receiving a nutrition or dietetics bachelor's degree, should have the best job prospects. The most common certification is the Registered Dietitian (RD) designation, which is awarded by the American Dietetic Association's Commission on Dietetic Registration. To become an RD, you must earn a bachelor's degree, complete dietetic coursework, finish a supervised internship program and pass a national exam. According to PayScale.com, RDs in the 10th-90th percentile earned $39,352-$71,913 per year as of January 2014.

Salary Based on Region

If you're just starting your career as a dietary nutritionist, your income will vary according to where you work. The BLS reported that the states with the greatest number of dietitians and nutritionists were California, New York and Pennsylvania. California offered an average yearly salary of $68,700 as of May 2012, which was well above the average salary nationwide. New York paid workers an average income of $59,810 per year, while the average annual salary for professionals in Pennsylvania was $47,360.

The state that paid nutritionists and dietitians the highest salary was Maryland, which offered workers an average yearly wage of $82,650. Nevada came in second with a mean wage of $71,840. Other states with high mean wages included Hawaii ($65,050) and Alaska ($63,560).

Some states with low mean wages between $32,410 and $50,280 included Pennsylvania, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Job Outlook

The BLS expects faster-than-average employment growth for dietitians and nutritionists over the 2012 through 2022 decade. A 21% uptick in employment is expected, which will result in 14,200 new jobs by 2022. Some factors influencing this growth include the aging population and an increased need of professionals to provide help with diets for those with medical conditions.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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