In 2011, the Texas Department of State Health Services determined that 32.2% of adults and 15.6% of youths in Texas suffered from obesity. Residents with obesity also become candidates for heart disease, type II diabetes, cancer, and even premature death. Nutritionists in South Carolina are continuing to prevent the frequency of obesity among state residents by helping them develop daily routines centered on nutritious diets and active lifestyles.
According to current state law, the nutritionist profession is not regulated in Texas. Therefore, nutritionists are not obligated to fulfill any licensure, certification, education, experience, or training requirements in order to practice. Unlike nutritionists, dietitians in Texas must be licensed. As a result, nutritionists are excluded from using the titles of “licensed dietitian” and “provisional licensed dietitian” unless they obtain a dietitian license from the Texas State Board of Examiners of Dietitians.
Even though nutritionists are not legally compelled to have post-secondary education to work in Texas, most employers require nutritionists to have at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify for hire. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 40% of dietitians and nutritionists between the ages of 25 and 44 hold a bachelor’s degree while roughly 35% hold a master’s, doctoral or professional degree.
There are over a dozen accredited institutions of higher learning that offer nutrition-related degree programs in Texas. Some programs may offer concentrations in areas such as dietetics, exercise science, community, food science, foods and nutrition, and nutritional sciences. Students that participate in nutrition degree programs will be instructed in subjects like metabolism, nutrition education, consumer sciences, food delivery systems, and medical nutrition therapy.
Examples of bachelor degree programs in nutrition offered in Texas include:
According to the Texas Workforce Commission, 4,160 dietitians and nutritionists were employed throughout the state in 2010. However, government projections predict that by 2020, this number will rise to 5,160, which indicates a 24% growth increase for these professions. Top places of employment for nutritionists include nursing care facilities, general and surgical hospitals, outpatient care centers, colleges and universities, and offices of physicians. Local employers may include:
The median hourly wage for nutritionists working in the United States is $26.88 and the median annual salary is $55,900. In Texas, nutritionists are earning a slightly lower median hourly wage of $26.27 and a median annual salary of $54,600. Pay earning potentials are often contingent an individual employee’s level of education, amount of work experience, geographic location and professional credentials. Additional wage and salary statistics for nutritionists in Texas according to percentile include: