Nutritionists in Arkansas are non-licensed professionals. The Dietetics Practice Act of the Arkansas Dietetics Licensing Board (ADLB) outlines the regulations and licensing process for the practice of dietetics to include only licensed dieticians.
Although no certification or licensure requirements for nutritionists exist in Arkansas, professionals practicing the act of nutritional care in this state nevertheless choose to pursue a post-secondary education, a standard in this profession.
A typical requirement for nutritionist licensing in other states includes a post-secondary education, from a bachelor’s degree to a doctoral degree. Nutrition-related degrees, both in Arkansas and through online programs, typically include a focus on a number of topics, including food and nutrition, dietetics, community nutrition, and public health nutrition. Courses in biochemistry, physiology, or anatomy/physiology, and nutrition science are also often an integral part of these degree programs.
Individuals in Arkansas who choose to complete a bachelor’s degree may decide to take additional didactic coursework to ensure a well-rounded education in nutrition and dietetics, while individuals who choose to complete a master’s or doctoral degree may better position themselves for nutrition-related professional certification, such as:
Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) certification, Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists
Certified Nutrition Specialist Scholar (CNS- Scholar) certification, Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists
Career opportunities in Arkansas for nutritionists may be found through a number of establishments, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, health clubs, governmental agencies, school districts, and hospitals.
Just a few of the organizations/businesses in Arkansas where nutritionists are likely to be employed include:
Nutritionists, therefore, are desperately needed to help create a better environment of healthful eating and overall physical health. This need creates a variety of job opportunities for nutrition experts. Baptist Health and HealthSouth are two examples of healthcare networks which have multiple locations throughout the state. Baptist Health, for example, has hospitals in Arkadelphia and Little Rock, plus several other communities.
Other opportunities for nutritionists can be found in health and fitness facilities that offer nutrition counseling for club members as part of their fitness program. Kerch Wellness Management in Russellville focuses on a broad spectrum of wellness strategies, including offering the services of nutrition consultants. Powerhouse Gym in Little Rock is another health club that offers nutrition education to club members.
Statewide, nutritionists with the Arkansas Department of Health provide education, resources, and assistance to help Arkansans eat more healthfully. Areas of focus include helping prevent obesity, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, and breastfeeding, while decreasing the amount of sugar-laden foods and beverages in typical diets.
Overall, nutrition specialists in the following categories are especially in demand:
Nutritionists study about food and its nutrients as well as how the human body processes, uses, and depends on various nutrients so that they can inform others regarding healthful choices. Nutritionists often obtain a bachelor’s degree and take classes such as human physiology, biology, and chemistry. They also take food-related classes that discuss the preparation of food, health and safety of food storage and preparation, and the different properties and nutrients in food that help or hurt the human body.
Nutritionists in Arkansas earned a mean, annual salary of $33,160 to $49,430, as of May 2013. The national average for nutritionists during this time was $56,300, with the top 10 percent of nutritionists earning more than $78,720.
The long-term growth projection for nutritionists in Arkansas are below the national average of approximately 21%, but the number of positions for nutritionists is expected to rise through 2020 according to the State of Arkansas Long-term Industry and Occupational Projections report.
Similarly, the national average wage for nutritionists and dietitians was $55,240 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics report of May 2013. The BLS information for the state of Arkansas reveals that the median salary was $47,920, but the upper range of salaries were well above the national average median at $58, 380 for the 75th percentile and $69,900 for the 90th percentile. Salaries for nutritionists are dependent on education, experience, and location.
Professional competence for nutritionists in Arkansas can be achieved through membership and participation in state and regional professional associations, such as:
Nutritionists need to stay informed about new developments and strategies regarding nutrition. Continuing education is a given in this field, especially because nutritionists themselves are often teaching others about good choices when it comes to food. The Arkansas Chapter of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) provides excellent resources for nutritionists and dietitians to receive information as well as network with others in their profession.
Nutritionists who work for the Arkansas Department of Education oversee and administer many programs that directly influence students’ nutrition options in public schools. These programs include the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Seamless Summer Program, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Grants, and other programs designed to encourage children to eat healthy snacks, meals, and drink milk. Child Nutrition Services provides additional information and resources.