The dramatic increase in attention given to healthier living and eating over the last few years has led to significant growth in the number of persons considering a career in nutrition. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a 21 percent national increase in nutritionists and dietitian jobs between 2012 and 2018, a greater growth than theaverage for all other professions.
If you are a “people person” who likes food and is concerned about healthy living, why not look into becoming a nutritionist.
Nutritionists and dietitians are often thought of as the same but they are actually two different occupations. Both are health professionals who promote good nutrition; however, dieticians must be licensed, which involves specific education and training requirements, while in most states (including Idaho) becoming a nutritionist does not. This doesn’t mean anyone can walk into a nursing home or a health clinic and get a job as a nutritionist. A bachelor’s degree in nutrition is needed to qualify for almost any entry-level position as a nutritionist and a master’s degree opens many additional doors.
You can find accredited schools that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in nutritional science in the following Idaho cities:
There are also many accredited online colleges and universities that offer nutrition degrees. In recent years some of the best schools in the country now provide online studies and these degrees are just as acceptable as those from on-campus schools.
The kinds of courses you are likely to take for a B.S. in Nutrition include:
Nutritionists fill a wide variety of job functions, including but not limited to:
Prospective employers of nutritionists include:
The BLS reports that 14 percent of the working nutritionists are self-employed as:
Many nutritionists specialize in a specific area of nutrition, such as:
In Idaho, you could possibly become one of the nutritionists working for the Certified Idaho Potato Commission which produces websites, brochures, TV/radio commercials and newspaper/magazine ads about the nutritional benefits of Idaho’s famous spuds.
According to the BLS, Idaho nutritionists earn an average annual salary of $40,465.
The occupational outlook for nutritionists in Idaho is excellent. There are currently 230 nutritionists working in Idaho and that number is estimated to increase by17 percent, or to 270 jobs, by 2018.
Idaho School Nutrition Association. Statewide organization provides networking, school nutrition news updates, workshops and annual conferences.
The agricultural community of Idaho is so concerned with nutrition and the overall health of their communities that the United Dairyman of Idaho often partners with other organizations to support 5k races and other health-oriented events.
Currently, the United Dairymen of Idaho and FitOne have collaborated in creating a 10-week Eating and Running Plan for anyone who would like to participate. The state of Idaho maintains a standard for understanding the United Dairymen of Idaho’s slogan, “where good comes from” and the importance of physical activity. The collaboration with FitOne provides an extensive 10-week plan of a well-monitored nutritious diet and a consistent running schedule. FitOne and the United Dairymen of Idaho challenge participants to celebrate the end of the program by participating in the FitOne 5k on September 24th.
FitOne is not only hosting a 5k on September 24th, but they are also providing a 10k and a half marathon for the avid runners. Each of these races capitalize on the beauty and history of the city of Boise, starting runners off on the stairs of the State Capitol and ending in Ann Morrison Park with the track lacing through various historic landmarks throughout the city. The price to participate in any one of these races varies depending upon the length of the race but the gifts and prizes you receive for participating are well worth the price– not to mention having the opportunity to together with friends and family in your community for something that supports individual and community health.
FitOne is one of the more established health organizations in the state of Idaho and a top employer of health coaches. As such, when they host a community event, the list of sponsors and organizations that lend their support is extensive. FitOne has amassed a list of least ten high profile sponsors to contribute to the overall experience of the races for those who would like to participate in September.
FitOne frequently hosts similar events for the community of Boise. Events like these illustrate the size of the health community in the state of Idaho as well as the number of organizations and companies eager to partner with their community in an effort to improve health.
Since health coaching is an unregulated profession, while you are preparing for your education you will find you have a lot of freedom in choosing the degree, certification, electives, internships, etc. in preparing for your career. This freedom allows you to build your educational experience around your interests. Several suitable degrees and 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:
Regardless of your chosen degree, professional certification is a strong addition to your credentials as a health coach. Oftentimes, the required certification will depend on specified requirements from the employer, which will vary from position to position. The certification you complete will serve as a field-specific credential denoting hands-on experience and expertise. Certification provides you with credentials that will illustrate authority within the specialized scope of practice for health coaching.
Two popular certification options specific to health coaches are:
American Council on Exercise (ACE) – ACE certification is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and provides “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. TheACE Certification Candidate Handbook provides thorough details concerning the certification examination and maintenance process.
International Coach Federation (ICF) – This federation is known as one of the leading worldwide organizations committed to building a large community of trained health coaches around the world, setting high standards for their coaches, and offering independent certification. The organization provides a variety of credentials for coaches including, Associated Certified Coach (ACC), Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Master Certified Coach (MCC). You receive credentials when you have completed a program that offers health coach training and the required hours of coaching experience before going on to pass a Coach Knowledge Assessment (CKA). Every three years you are required to renew your ICF credentials and complete 40 hours of Continuing Coach Education at the same time.
Health Coaching in Idaho: Career Paths and Job Opportunities
Similar to many other states in the US, Idaho’s health coaching job market and employers set the standards for required qualifications and responsibilities. These significant differences from one position to another allow you to find a position that corresponds with your credentials and experience while providing space for you to continue in your education and progress in your field.
The following job vacancy announcements, sourced in July 2016, represent the types of employment opportunities available to properly credentialed health coaches in Idaho. These job vacancy announcements are shown for illustrative purposes only and are not meant to represent job offers or provide an assurance of employment.
Health Coach for Provant – Boise, ID
You will be responsible for conducting various health screenings for clients while maintaining a healthy lifestyle standard and cultivating a professional, comfortable, and energetic environment for clients.
Weight Loss Specialist for Metabolic Research Center of Boise – Boise, ID
You will educate and motivate clients on health choices and lifestyle changes. You will coach clients through program choices and offer feedback on results.
Nutritional Health Coach for Natural Grocers – Hailey, ID
You will provide nutritional education for customers and employees while providing operational support in retail.