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kb12345's avatar

What will a nutrition major bring in the future?

Asked by kb12345 (423 points ) January 29th, 2013

I am a first year nutrition major at my 4 year school. I chose this major because I knew I wanted to do a health science but was not sure if nursing was exactly for me. I am not on the path taking all the right classes for my nutrition degree. What exactly does a nutritionist do for work? Where do they work? I have done plenty of research but have found many different answers from random sources. At this point I don’t know what it is called what I want to do so I will describe it. I have always wanted to “specialize” or focus in an area of helping/working with special needs adults. I really would do anything with them such as a role of a nutritionist. With diseases such as down syndrome or autism. I know I don’t want to be a teacher though. Does anyone know what I could do in order to reach my dream of working with those adults? Will nutrition be the right choice?? Any help/advice would be great!! Thank you SO much.

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10 Answers

burntbonez's avatar

One place nutritionists work is in large health care institutions like hospitals and nursing homes. They may also work in assisted living homes. They design menus for various types of patients.

Private consulting nutritionists will work with individuals to design a plan based on their individual needs. They may also get involved in cooking if that is an interest. It’s more flexible to work for yourself and find your own clients, but unless you get famous, it’ll probably always be a struggle. But being a nutritionist to the stars could be lucrative.

If you wanted to work with folks with downs syndrome or autism, then you want to work in group homes or halfway houses that serve these populations. I don’t know if they hire nutritionists, or just hire cooks who cook what they want. If you were looking to help train folks with downs to live independently, well, that would be teaching, which you said you didn’t want to do.

In what capacity do you want to work with these folks if you don’t want to teach?

CWOTUS's avatar

Well, a good salad is nothing to be sneezed at; that would be a good place to start.

But seriously, you can be or do almost anything you want to with food. It’s one thing that all humans have in common; we all have to eat, and we all have to keep our bodies going with the energy we acquire from food. So nutrition is vital to us all.

For that reason I would not limit myself – if I were you – to being “a nutritionist”. Okay, that’s a place to start, but from there you can branch out to being a chef, a restaurant critic, a restauranteur or a food services manager of any institution (such as a school or hospital) or simply a crackerjack waiter who knows all of the best things to eat at any restaurant. Or anything else that’s food and nutrition related.

I’d worry a lot less about “what can I make” than “what can I do that’s useful and for which people will trade money for service with me”. You can get rich just the same, but you might as well do it by taking a path you’d like to walk.

Earthgirl's avatar

I see that you want to do something in a helping profession. I wouldn’t limit yourself to working with Down’s Syndrome patients or Autitstic individuals. There are many places where nutritionists are needed in both commercial areas like the food industry and in health service and school and hospital settings. Lord knows, we could use better tasting hospital food, lol, but I digress. This gives a good starting summary of typical dietician’s employment opportunities. But you don’t need to stop there. Health clubs and food chains are other potential employers.
Other possibilities include:
Public Health Nutritionists who work for Government Agencies and community outreach programs such as Cooperative Extension.
Consulting Nutritionists can also be in private practice. I would imagine they are often consulted in cases of anorexia and bulimia and senior nutritional difficulties. Seniors often have loss of appetite and don’t eat as well as they should.
There are so many ways to help people in this field. It really is a great one, just begging for great people who are passionate about what they do and caring and dedicated.
I wish you much luck in your studies!

Rarebear's avatar

Research “registered dietitian”

njnyjobs's avatar

Check this out… It provides some insight on the profession plus other info such as employment and financial outlook. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Dietitians-and-nutritionists.htm

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Cupcake's avatar

Find someone who does what you might want to do, contact them, and ask if you can shadow them for a few days.

People who are in the profession, especially those in positions you are interested in, can give you the best advice.

Penycat's avatar

If you have a passion for nutrition go with it.
For working with special populations I have known occupational therapists, art therapists, music therapists and pediatric nurse practitioners with a focus in special populations working with children with Down syndrome and autism. You can go this route with adult special needs too.

Earthgirl's avatar

Since you are already enrolled in program, can’t your academic advisors give you some advice on future employment options? Where are you located? Would you be willing to relocate for a job opportunity upon graduation?

antimatter's avatar

Perhaps you could work out a nice diet…

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