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.