Connecticut does not require specific certification for a person to offer services as a nutritionist. This does not mean that becoming a nutritionist in Connecticut is easy or does not require certain skills. Typically a nutritionist has earned at least a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, food science, or other similar field. Nutritionists work in many types of jobs, including food management, nutrition educator, research, and fitness. Therefore, skills a good nutritionist has include critical thinking and reasoning, listening, and compassion for other people’s feelings and struggles. It takes a special person to be able to help others with their choices regarding food and wellness.
A well-educated nutritionist offers the best advice and information to clients. Therefore, content areas may include human nutrition, biochemistry, nutrient assessment, nutrition counseling, nutrition and disease, and public health nutrition. In some cases, nutritionists can earn higher degrees, especially if they focus specifically in one of these areas of interest. Some nutritionists decide to complete a master’s degree or even a PhD in order to learn as much as possible about their field of interest.
Nutritionists can also serve in the medical field, and some may start as nurses. Specialties in medical nutrition include diabetes education, heart healthy eating, pediatric nutrition, and nutrition for cancer patients. All of these fields require knowledge of the physiology of the human body, the way disease affects it, and how nutrition plays a role in becoming healthy.
Although Connecticut does not require certification or licensure for nutritionists, some employers may. Organizations such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) or the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board provide certification. The Connecticut chapter of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides a wealth of information regarding a variety of nutrition-based topics. Additionally, the American Nutrition Association provides a forum for promoting health and wellness through nutrition education.
According to the State of Connecticut Department of Labor Occupation Outlook, Connecticut averages about 40 job openings for nutritionists and dietitians annually. The Connecticut Department of Labor forecasts a growth rate of 14% through 2020. Average salaries range from $57,363 in New London/Norwich to $70,104 in Danbury. The average statewide salary is $63,890. Salaries are dependent on experience, education, and geographic location, as well as the type of position. Most nutritionists tend to work in hospitals, schools, and government offices, although a fair number are self-employed.
A career as a nutritionist in Connecticut can be very fulfilling as it enables you to help others feel better about themselves and provide their families with healthful, nutritious meals.
Typical duties for a nutritionist may include assessing nutritional needs for a client; offering advice about nutrition and diet choices; educating individuals, families, or groups about nutrition; working with other health professionals to create the best overall health plan for a client; or creating nutrition plans for individual clients.
Nutritionists may work in an alternative or holistic healthcare setting such as with a chiropractor, acupuncturist, or massage therapist; retail health food or vitamin supplement stores, nursing homes, public schools, fitness centers, or in private practice.
The overall goal for a nutritionist is to provide clients with beneficial information about food and nutrition and how to best care for themselves and their family.
Examples of positions for nutritionists in Connecticut include: