Nutrition Consultant Careers
Becoming involved in a career that both fits economic and social demand and also inspires you can be a difficult task. Changes in consumerism have shifted spending habits so that much of the public is focused upon necessary spending. This has resulted in the restructuring of many industries and a rapidly changing job market.
Health concerns remain a focus regardless of fiscal means. This has also shifted the public mindset about healthcare into one of prevention and management instead of just treatment. Nutritional consultants fill both a public need and a health promotion opening, and public health departments are finding individuals in this job to be a great asset to the community. If you are interested in helping to shape your community into wellness, then the employment option of nutritional consultant may be an ideal fit.
What Is A Nutrition Consultant?
Nutrition consultants are versed in how the building blocks of different foods affect the physiology and wellbeing of an individual. They help guide others not only into better eating habits and food intake for optimal health, but also consider individual distinctions that can alter the way one person’s body will process food differently than that of another. Nutrition consultants help to develop eating plans that promote healthy metabolism, good immune response, and a healthy body weight.
As a nutrition consultant you would be engaged in the following activities:
- Discussing and analyzing current eating habits of clients.
- Educating clients about the importance of specific foods and nutrients.
- Studying health histories to determine specific nutritional requirements.
- Developing meal plans for individuals to promote health and wellbeing.
- Presenting educational modules for the public to raise awareness surrounding food choices.
- Working with schools and community centers to provide balanced dietary resources for children and program participants.
- Promoting understanding of daily nutritional requirements and physical function.
If you would like to pursue a career in public health as a nutritional consultant, the following qualities will benefit you in your work:
- Good listening skills: When working with the public, you will need to be present and take in the narrative information that a person is telling you, so that you can better understand their needs and formulate a plan.
- Creative teaching skills: A large part of becoming a nutrition consultant is focused on outreach and one on one education. This is often with individuals who are very set in their eating habits, or with children who can be adverse to healthy food options, so you will need to find ways to be engaging and informative when teaching.
- Interpersonal relations: You will be dealing with staff member in a number of healthcare settings and will need to be able to relate to different specialties in these settings. You will also have both personal and group time with clients, which will require the ability to connect with diverse personalities.
- Collaboration: In healthcare facility settings, you will be working with other care professionals. This will require cooperative action to assist patients and the public with food habits that may be specific to certain conditions or even lifestyle constraints.
- Physiological knowledge: You will need to not only have an understanding of nutritional components but also of how they affect the way the body works. This will allow you to create proper plans and interventions based on pre-existing conditions or activity levels of individuals within the community.
Nature Of The Work
In the public health sector, nutrition consultants may work in a number of venues. While many people in this line of work will be employed in conjunction with hospitals for developing recovery meal plans, you may find that you provide service to a variety of facilities in the community. Long term care facilities and in-home care providers will often use nutritional consultants to not only create meals and food schedules for clients, but will also have you come and speak with their clients to empower them for better living.
Public schools, non-profit organizations, and other public programs for children will also have a nutritional consultant help in planning meals as well as educating children about eating habits. This may happen in a classroom setting or may be done as part of a special lecture session. Even public urgent care clinics will use nutrition consultants to help with patients who have dietary restriction due to chronic illness, or who require help with weight management to prevent further health issues.
Education And Training
To work as a nutrition consultant you can have as little as a two year Associate’s degree, although higher educational levels can increase earning potential and advancement. A background in nutrition, physiology, food management, and even education are all applicable courses of study for pursuing this career path. Many states will expect that you are licensed and hold the designation of a registered dietician in order to fill this post.
As well, some states will also require that you are certified in health educations, as much of this job also involves teaching individuals and the public about the connection between consumption and health. With any of these certifications, you will also be required to gain continuing education credits in order to remain current but licensure can vary from state to state.
In working as a nutrition consultant in the public health sector, you will not only get a chance to become highly involved in the welfare of your community, but also in promoting your own quality of life. This career path not only offers a number of work settings, but is also above average in rate of occupational growth. A nearly 21% increase in jobs is expected over the next decade, and the salary can range from about $34,000 for entry level positions to $70,000 for advancement and higher education candidates. As a very interactive and practically focused field in public health services, the job of nutrition consultant can allow you to find good employment and great stability.