Nutritionists continue to be a powerful tool in the fight against obesity in New Jersey. By providing clients with informative assessments, personalized diet plans, and food-related advice services, nutritionists are helping to popularize preventive solutions for future generations. Statistics by the New Jersey Department of Health illustrate the prevalence of obesity among state residents:
According to the Center for Nutrition Advocacy, the laws concerning licensure for nutrition professionals in New Jersey are in hot debate. Although the New Jersey Dietetics Association is pushing for mandatory licensure, cross-sections of the general public fear that licensure restrictions may create a dietetic monopoly that may result in unemployment for many otherwise qualified nutritionists. However, there are currently no formal regulations governing nutritionists practicing in New Jersey.
In lieu of professional licensing regulations, nutritionists in New Jersey can prove their occupational knowledge and skills by earning a college degree in nutrition. By graduating from a college degree program, nutritionists reassure clients of their ability to provide quality care while simultaneously illustrating professional competency among colleagues.
Students are advised to enroll in a nutrition degree program that that is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. Degree programs with concentrations in nutrition-related disciplines typically provide coursework that is extensively weighted with science-related subjects like biology, chemistry, physics, and physiology.
Examples of degree programs in nutrition found in New Jersey include:
Studies by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that in 2010 there were 1,940 dieticians and nutritionists employed in New Jersey. However, by 2020 this number is expected to grow to 2,090, which expresses an 8% growth change in ten years. As of May 2013, the New York-White Plains-Wayne Metropolitan Division of New Jersey held the highest concentration of employed dieticians and nutritionists in the state.
The United States Bureau of Labor declares the national median wage for dieticians and nutritionists is $26.88/hr. and the median salary is $55,900/yr. However, nutrition professionals working in New Jersey can expect even higher pay schedules. Here, the median wage is $30.74/hr. and the median salary is $63,900/yr.
Jobseekers looking for nutritionist jobs in New Jersey may find opportunities available in in-patient and outpatient care facilities like Lourdes Health System in Camden, medical care providers like Fresenius Medical Care in Montclair, or rehabilitation centers like Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in Saddle Brook. Nursing homes, hospital, state health departments and local school systems also typically hire nutritionists throughout New Jersey.
The American College of Sports Medicine’s annual survey has listed health and wellness coaching among its top 20 international fitness trends every year since 2010. Health coaching is a field that you can break into whether you are just starting out or want to change careers in mid-life. For example:
New Jersey’s Courier-Post suggests that the health coaching profession is gaining ground due to the Affordable Care Act, shifting the health care industry towards prevention to keep medical costs down. Virtua, a health system in New Jersey, employs community-based health managers to oversee patients with chronic illnesses who face frequent hospitalizations. These managers act as health coaches to the patients, making sure that they receive all of the diagnostic testing their illnesses require and that they are getting the right care at the right time.
Health coaches are not required to be professionally registered, licensed or certified. This means you would have a lot of leeway when it comes in the type of degree you pursue, as long as it is health-related.
Some health coaching positions in New Jersey may call for applicants who are Registered Dietitians (RD), which would involve qualifying for registration with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Commission on Dietetic Registration.
Most health coach jobs in New Jersey, however, just call for a bachelor’s degree.
Certificates or associate’s degrees such as these can help you to qualify for an entry-level health coaching position in New Jersey:
Bachelor’s degree majors that many of New Jersey’s top employers of health coaches look for include:
If you hold a bachelor’s degree in that area, but would like to become a health coach, you could change careers more easily if you pursue one of the following graduate certificates or degrees:
Professional Certification and Registration
Many health and wellness coaches in New Jersey elect to pursue professional certification. These accredited and professionally recognized organizations provide optional credentials to qualified individuals:
The following job vacancy announcements, sourced in August 2016, represent the types of employment opportunities available to properly credentialed health coaches in New Jersey. 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 Check-Ups Program – Port Reading, NJ
You will coordinate and conduct biometric screening appointments for members, collect health history and help to engage members into health and wellness programs. You will promote goals for fitness, weight loss, health and nutrition.
Wellness Program Consultant for Innovative Benefit Planning, LLC- Moorestown, NJ
You will work with employees in designing, coordinating and delivering health programming to change behaviors and improve outcomes. In addition to coaching participants to make behavior changes, you will also work with outside vendors and oversee events such as health screenings or organized runs or walks.
Health and Wellness Specialist for Behavioral Health Home Unit- Hammonton, NJ
You will coordinate and deliver health and wellness education to consumers who are mental health clients. You will help to develop and conduct wellness activities and programs, as well as disease management and wellness education. You will also provide on-call support for clients.
Nutrition Coach for Life Time Fitness- Mount Laurel, NJ
You will engage members in services, programs, supplements and technology of Life Time Fitness. You will provide nutrition consultations for prospective clients, and nutrition coaching sessions for members. You will also facilitate seminars and group nutrition and fitness events for members.
State and Local Resources for Health Coaches in New Jersey
State of New Jersey Department of Health
Cape May County Health Department
New Jersey Health Resource Center
Atlantic City Health & Human Services Department
Atlantic County Division of Public Health
Hackensack Health Department
Paramus Board of Health
Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness