Nutritionists fill a vitally important role in society by educating people about food and the importance of good nutrition. They also help individuals find the dietary plan that offers them the most healthy and active life. Nutrition is a holistic practice that considers a person’s entire body and lifestyle, not just a single part of it.
Although dieticians are licensed in Georgia, nutritionists are not. However, there are at least six accredited schools in Georgia that offer nutrition degrees at the associate’s bachelors, masters and doctoral level. Some schools even offer certificate programs (mostly at the graduate level). The following Georgia cities all have schools offering degrees in nutrition:
Courses offered for a degree in nutrition may include but are not limited to:
Nutritionists are health professionals who educate the public and individuals about the importance of good nutrition for a person’s general health and well-being. As a nutritionist in Georgia you may do research on how food affects the body in terms of health, behavior, metabolism, body functions, and disease. You may confer with individuals and develop a dietary plan that is right for them, often for persons with special dietary needs like diabetics, obese individuals or those with eating disorders. If you are a scientifically-minded, health aware, compassionate person with good communication skills who likes people of all
ages, being a nutritionist could be the rewarding and enjoyable career you’ve been looking for.
There is an extremely diverse assortment of the kinds of employers who hire nutritionists. They include but are not limited to:
There also are self-employed nutritionists who work as personal nutritional consultants for individuals.
The occupational outlook for nutritionists in Georgia is good. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there are currently 1,780 nutritionists employed in Georgia and that number is expected to grow 16 percent, or to 2,080 jobs by 2018.
Nutritionist wages vary significantly depending on type of employer. The annual salary of a nutritionist can be as low as $30,000 or as high as $68,000. The BLS lists the mean and median annual wage for nutritionists and dieticians as $56,000 and $55,926 respectively. The average annual income of nutritionists in Georgia is $51,000.
Professional associations are a great way for you to keep up with the latest information about nutritionist careers, attend conferences and participate in continuing education, seminars, webinars, etc. Georgia currently does not have a professional organization of nutritionists; however, you can enjoy many of the same benefits by joining a national association. National nutritionist organizations include:
If you were to walk the halls of Beecher Hills Elementary School in Atlanta, you would likely see classrooms engaging in stretching, jogging in place, or kickboxing moves while working on math equations or English lessons. This school is proactive in more ways than one when it comes to contributing to the overall health of their students. Georgia Shape is an online resource related to physical activity and nutrition methods for families and schools working to combat childhood obesity.
Beyond simply implementing Georgia Shape’s initiative of Power Up for 30, which challenges students to engage in thirty minutes of physical activity every day, Beecher Hills Elementary has also developed a learning garden with the assistance of Captain Planet Foundation which serves schools with learning-based gardening programs. This garden provides students with hands-on learning about nutrition. The teachers work directly with the school cafeteria to provide the produce from the garden for school lunches, allowing students to glean, quite literally, from their learning and handiwork.
In addition to providing support and resources for schools and families looking to improve their health, Georgia Shape also provides an interactive community in which partners of the program and schools are honored monthly by being granted Partner of the Month and School of the Month recognition. The partner of the month recognition lists a brief synopsis of various organizations that have successfully implemented the Power Up for 30 initiative. The school of the month recognition is listed similarly to the partner of the month and provides the names of the schools as well as a brief explanation of their daily methods for health improvement.
The possibilities through the Georgia Shape program are extensive and diverse. The program is well organized and easily accessible to the community. However, the Georgia Shape program will be free to the general public only until August 2016. As this program grows and changes, it illustrates the constant need for consistent, efficient, and resourceful methods for health improvement in the state. This is where health coaches come in.
Associate’s degrees in areas like those shown here are suitable for some entry-level health coach jobs:
A bachelor’s degree in one of these areas is the most common qualification employers look for and is necessary for many health coach career opportunities:
A master’s degree in one of these areas would be considered a very strong qualification, and would go beyond the general expectations of most employers:
In preparing for a career in health coaching, you must take certification into consideration. Certification serves as an important component to your credentials as it requires a certain level of hands-on experience. The certification you are required to complete will vary from one position to another, depending upon the specific training employers are looking for in their employees.
The certification you complete will serve as a field-specific credential denoting experience and expertise which contributes to your academic training in your baccalaureate degree. Certification provides you with credentials that will denote authority within the specialized role of health coach.
American Council on Exercise (ACE) – ACE certification is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). You can choose from “standard” or “premium” self-study packages to prepare for the examination that leads to the Health Coach Certification. Certification through ACE must be renewed every 2 years by completing continuing education approved by ACE. The ACE Certification Candidate Handbook provides thorough details concerning the certification examination and maintenance process.
Telephonic Health Coach for UnitedHealth Group - Atlanta, GA
You will encourage clients to create health improvement goals. You will provide effective telephonic coaching that will promote lifestyle changes and provide these coaching tips according to the unique social, physical, age-specific needs of each individual client.
Health Coach for Provant Health Solutions - Savannah, GA
You will provide health coaching sessions for clients as well as required health screenings.
Client Specialist (Health Promotion/Screening Coordinator) for Corporate Health Partners (CHP)
You will serve as the face for CHP and its participants. You will execute the screening process which is the first experience participants have with CHP. The client specialist must maintain healthy behaviors as well as a healthy lifestyle, serving as an example to participants.