Public interest in food and nutrition has grown almost exponentially in the last few years with a profusion of news, books and even movies (“Super Size Me”) about the consequences of an unhealthy diet for both adults and children. The government has been promoting healthier choices in school cafeterias and Hawaii’s single school district (the ninth largest in the US), serves over 100,000 lunches each day. Since Hawaii receives government subsidies for low-income children, school nutritionists in Hawaii must plan menus that meet federally mandated nutritional standards while satisfying the diverse cultural tastes of the students.
The growing interest in healthy food choices has spawned a concurrent interest in nutrition as a career. If you enjoy helping people, like science, have an analytical mind, technical know-how and excellent communication skills, becoming a nutritionist might be the ideal profession for you.
Dietitians must be registered and licensed in Hawaii; however, there are no licensing or certification requirements for nutritionists. Nonetheless, in order to be hired you will need a degree in nutrition. One university in Hawaii, located in Honolulu, offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in nutrition through the School of Agricultural Science’s Department of Human Nutrition.
Courses you are likely to take as a nutrition major might include:
You also have the option of choosing to earn a nutrition degree from one of several, accredited online colleges or universities. Online learning is extremely convenient if your time is constrained by work, parenthood or other responsibilities. As long as they are accredited online schools are generally just as accepted by prospective employers as on-campus institutions.
As a nutritionist you might be responsible for any of the following duties:
Job opportunities for nutritionists in Hawaii have increased along with growing concerns about the role food plays in health and the prevention of disease. The kinds of places that hire nutritionists in Hawaii include but are not limited to::
You might be interested in specializing in a specific area like sports nutrition, in which case you could work for physicians specializing in sports medicine, clinics devoted to sport injuries or individual athletes desiring to improve their strength and energy. Hawaii has a growing cottage industry surrounding nutrition and surfing. You’ll find a wide array of books and articles on surfer nutrition, high-energy food products for surfers, and nutritional consultants.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2013 nutritionists in Hawaii earned an hourly mean wage of $30. 84 and an annual mean wage of $64,920. The BLS also states that the 290 nutritionists working in Hawaii in 2013 is expected to increase 10 percent by 2018.
When you think of Hawaii, particularly Honolulu, you might think of the various natural attractions like Waikiki Beach or Diamond Head. Although Hawaii has numerous mediums through which you can explore these natural attractions and commute through the beautiful city, you might not consider Honolulu to be a large biking community, but it is! Recently, a non-profit organization called Bikeshare Hawaii planted 150 stations all over the city for the general public’s transportation needs. You can stop at any one of these stations, pick up a bike, use it for as long as you need, and return it to any other station located around the city. This free access to an environmentally friendly and healthy form of transportation has been something the city’s health coaches are getting very excited about.
When people use bikes for everyday commutes and transportation, it significantly limits the city’s excessive use of fossil fuels, directly contributing to the health of Hawaii’s air quality and natural environment. Furthermore, riding a bike to and from work or while running errands encourages consistent physical activity.
Hawaii consistently ranks low in obesity rates and high in terms of the amount of aerobic activities residents enjoy according to Hawaii: Quality of Life. Hawaii also ranks high for life expectancy and low for tobacco use.
Hawaii also sets itself apart from other states in the US with its emphasis on natural health and prevention, something the state’s health coaches have been promoting for years.
Health coaches working for Family Health Hawaii focus primarily on prevention as the primary means of achieving health benefits. This organization provides wellness plans for people attempting to avoid future health issues. These plans include health assessments, consultations, medical library access, and various other resources intended to guide people in their journeys toward healthy living.
Several suitable degrees and a standard certification for employment are listed below.
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 most 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:
Health Coach for HealthSlate - ‘Aiea, HI
You will be responsible to help people create and maintain healthy lifestyle habits, focusing primarily upon the Diabetes Prevention Program.
Program Manager, Accountable Health Community for Hawaii Medical Service Association - Honolulu, HI
You will be assigned projects by executive management as well as oversee the programs and program managers.
Hawaii State Department of Health
Natural Healing Hawaii
Project Vision Hawaii
Hofa - Sustainable Hawaii Organic Agriculture
Aloha United Way
Hawaii Public Health Association
Healthy Hawaii Initiative
Hawaii Medical Service Association Foundation