According to Utah’s 2012 Statewide Health Status Report, 10.5% of the state’s adult population suffered from obesity in 1989. By 2010, this percentage dramatically rose to 24%. Since obesity often triggers other serious health conditions such as coronary heart disease, type II diabetes and even stroke, it is becoming increasingly more important for health professionals, like nutritionists, to encourage the public to improve their quality of life through nutritious eating habits.
Nutritionists do not need a license or certification to practice in Utah. However, most employers will expect a certain level of education, experience and/or training to qualify for most positions. Nutrition professionals interested in using the titles of “dietitian” or “certified dietitian” must obtain a license from the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.
Students interested in becoming a nutritionist in Utah are encouraged to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in a nutrition-related major. Although nutritionists are under no legal obligation to acquire a degree, a bachelor degree-level of education is considered a professional standard. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 40.1% of dietitians and nutritionists between the ages of 25 and 44 hold a bachelor degree while 34.9% hold a graduate, doctoral or professional degree.
Texas colleges and universities offer several excellent degree programs for students that intend to enter the field of nutrition. Some of these programs also offer specialization options in food technology management, nutrition science, dietetics, and food science. Students can expect nutrition degree curriculum to revolve around general courses in chemistry, physiology, statistics, and biology along with core courses in nutrition counseling, food analysis, public health and diet therapy.
Nutrition degree options in Texas include:
The Utah Department of Workforce Services reports there were 400 dietitians and nutritionists employed in across the state in 2010. By 2020, another 100 nutrition professionals are expected to join the workforce. Jobseekers can anticipate 20 total annual job openings for these occupations. The top industries of employment in Utah include general medical and surgical hospitals, public administration, elementary and secondary schools, and nursing care facilities. Utah employers for nutritionists:
Wage statistics released by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that in May 2013, dietitians and nutritionists working in Utah earned an average hourly wage of $21.88 and an average annual wage of $45,510. Wages for nutritionists vary slightly among metropolitan areas in the state. For instance, nutrition professionals in the Provo-Orem are earning $23.70/hr. or $49,290/yr. while those working in Salt Lake City earn $21.83/hr. or $45,400/yr. Nutritionists practicing in the Ogden-Clearfield area are earning closer to $20.25/hr. or $42,110/yr.
Nutritionists in Utah are encouraged to facilitate career development by forging connections with national and state professional associations that cater to the nutrition community. Examples of these nutrition-based professional associations include: