State Requirements for Nutrition and Dietitian Fields


Becoming a Nutritionist in Indiana

In 2010, Indiana State Department of Health officials became concerned about the health and eating habits of its citizens and produced the Indiana Comprehensive Nutrition and Physical Activity Plan, 2010 – 2020.

Goals of the highly publicized and widely distributed report emphasize improving the health of Hoosiers by reducing obesity (65 percent of Indiana’s adults were found to be overweight or obese), increasing both exercise and fruit/vegetable consumption, providing healthier school lunches and decreasing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. The report has increased the demand for nutritionists in Indiana. The following tells you what you are required to do in order to become a practicing nutritionist in Indiana.

Nutritionist Degree Certification and Licensing in Indiana

A bachelor’s degree or better is the minimum education requirement for both dieticians and nutritionists. As in most states dieticians, but not nutritionists, must be licensed and registered. However, nutritionists can be certified, which is sometimes necessary to receive insurance reimbursements for services rendered. It is noted that Indiana’s governor recently vetoed a bill passed by the state legislature which would have limited certification to registered dieticians, excluding nutritionists from Medicare and other insurance payments.

In 2013, 127 students graduated from Indiana colleges or universities with degrees in nutrition. The following Indiana cities have colleges or universities which offer nutrition degrees:

  • Evansville
  • Muncie
  • Terre Haute
  • Vincennes
  • West Lafayette

You can earn a bachelor’s degree in nutrition at the schools in all of these cities; four of them have master’s programs offers a two-year Associate’s degree. Four schools have nutritionist certification programs.

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In addition to general education requirements, courses you might take as a nutrition major include but are not limited to:

  • Introduction to Food
  • Human Nutrition and Advanced Nutrition
  • Biochemistry
  • Food chemistry
  • Community Nutrition
  • Life Cycle Nutrition
  • Medical Terminology
  • Research in Nutrition/Statistics
  • Nutritional Epidemiology
  • Nutrition and Cancer Prevention
  • Nutrition and Genetics
  • Appetite, Metabolism and Obesity

Post-baccalaureate nutritionist certification programs generally require two semesters of courses that improve your communication skills and deepen your knowledge of:

  • Food Science
  • Optimization of Health through Nutrition
  • Changing Nutritional Needs from Childhood through Old Age
  • Nutrition for Individuals with Diabetes, Heart Disease, Eating Disorders or Alcohol/Drug Addiction
  • Application of Management Principles to Nutrition and Food Service
  • Problem Solving in Nutrition
  • Applied nutritional Research

Nutritionist Job Description and Job Opportunities in Indiana

Your job functions as a nutrition might include any of the following:

  • Evaluate the nutritional needs of patients
  • Counsel individuals regarding their nutritional needs
  • Design weight-loss, weight gain or special needs diet plans
  • Create meal plans for patients in hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, nursing homes, retirement facilities, spas, etc.
  •  Evaluate nutritional contents of processed and other foods
  • Plan school lunches
  • Teach nutrition classes
  •  Speak about nutrition to organizations, clubs, civic groups, etc.
  • Research nutritional issues
  • Write reports, newspaper/magazine articles
  • Develop a specialty, such as Sports Nutritionist or Pet/Animal Nutritionist

As a nutritionist you will have an extremely broad array of job opportunities from which to choose. You will have to decide if you wish to be self-employed or employed by others. Self-employed nutritionists counsel individual clients, write about nutrition issues, open a health food store or create healthy food products.
Potential employers for nutritionists include:

  • Hospitals, medical clinics, rehab centers, physician offices
  • Federal or state food/nutrition agencies
  • Research labs
  • Public school districts
  • Colleges and universities
  • Food manufacturers
  • Humanitarian/refugee organizations
  • Spas, hotels, resorts
  • Fitness centers
  • Wellness centers
  • Veterinarians / Zoos

Nutritionist Salary and Job Growth in Indiana

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were 67,400 nutritionists and dieticians working in the U.S. in 2012 for a  median annual wage of $55,240..The average annual wage varies by city as follows (highest to lowest):

  • Bloomington              $50,200
  • Indianapolis               $49,220
  • Evansville                  $48,100
  • Fort Wayne                $46,440

It is estimated that there are 1,330 nutritionists currently working in Indiana. The BLS predicts that number will increase nine percent, or to 1,450 jobs, by 2018. That means job growth in Indiana is good but not as high as the 21 percent growth predicted nationally.

Nutritionist Organization or Associations in Indiana

Indiana School Nutrition Association – dedicated to the promotion of healthy child nutrition in Indiana schools.
Indiana Association of Nutrition and Food Service Professionals (ANFP) – dedicated to providing optimum nutritional care through food service and management.

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