Nutritionist/Dietitian

By: Ariana

Introduction

When I was growing up, I never really had an idea of what I wanted to do. After I got into high school and completed a course in Freshman Health, I became very interested in health. I wanted to know what being healthy means and what I can do to make my lifestyle healthier. I like that the career requires you to be sympathetic and challenges you to think critically to solve problems. This is why I believe that the career would be a suitable fit for me.
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Studying the Career

What's the Environment Like?


The work environment for a Nutritionist/ Dietitian is very flexible. You're schedule can revolve not only around your life, but your client's as well. Nutritionists/ Dietitians usually work on evenings and weekends to meet with their clients which gives them time throughout the day for themselves. In addition to this, you will find that many Nutritionists/Dietitians work in hospitals and/or government. This is where they are usually found unless they are working and have their own office where they meet their clients.


Education and Training


To get a career as a Nutritionist/Dietitian, you have to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. You have to work certain jobs and participate in activities that will help you gain experience. Specifically, you should probably get an education and major in something that is related to that of a Nutritionist/Dietitian. BLS states that to become a Nutritionist/Dietitian, "Most dietitians and nutritionists have a bachelor’s degree and receive supervised training through an internship or as a part of their coursework. Many states require dietitians and nutritionists to be licensed"


Duties and Responsibilities


  • Observe and listen to your patients/clients health needs and diets
  • Keep track of your patients/clients health progress and diet
  • Stay on top of knowing the latest
  • Make meal plans for your patients/clients
  • Speaking to groups of people to promote nutrition and a healthy lifestyle


Job Skills


  • Active listening skills: Part of being a Nutritionist/ Dietitian is listening to your clients. They come to talk to you and obtain advice from someone who has skill and experience in the area. You won't be a very good Nutritionist/ Dietitian if you aren't giving your full attention to your clients.


  • Critical thinking skills: Another part of being a Nutritionist/Dietitian is that you need to be able to think critically. This involves being able to problem solve. When clients come to talk to you and get advice from you, you need to be able to listen to their problems and see how you can help them solve it.

  • Speaking skills: Another part of being a Nutritionist/Dietitian is that you need to have good speaking skills. These come in handy when you are talking to your patients/clients or when speaking in big groups of people


  • Organization Skills: Organization skills are important in almost all jobs but they are very important if you want to impress your boss and stay on top of your game. They are very important in the Nutrition/Dietitian job because it can benefit you to keep track of your clients. In fact, it's very important that you keep up with your clients so they don't leave your service. Staying organized can help you figure out your schedules and when your meeting with clients as well.


Job Outlook


The job outlook for a Nutritionist/Dietitian is expected to increase 21% by 2022 because of growing health complications such as obesity.


Average Salary


The average starting salary for a Nutritionist/Dietitian is 49,940$

Connecting With an Expert

Researching the Nutritionist/Dietitian career, I definitely learned a lot, but I still had a lot of questions that I wanted answered and lots of things that I still didn't know. I took the approach of contacting an expert, someone who had experience in the career I am interested in. Ms. Kate Loman is a Nutritionist/ Dietitian whom I found online. She has had 4 years of experience and became interested in becoming a Nutritionist/Dietitian because she came down with gestational diabetes while pregnant with her first child. She started to change her eating habits and she saw how it dramatically impacted her health and her baby's health. Ms. Loman answered many of my questions and gave me a lot of insight on the career I was interested in pursuing. Here is some of what she said, " I became interested in nutrition after I developed gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my first child. I saw first hand the effect of changing my eating habits had on my health - and my baby's health!...when I was in high school I visited several colleges. Great experiences to compare what was out there."

Preparing Myself in High School


There are many courses here at Leyden that provide plenty of learning experience and open many opportunities in the future for me and my peers. Some courses I can take that give me experience in the Nutritionist/Dietitian field are:


  • Personal Chef and Dietetics will give me knowledge on nutrients in foods and how the human body uses these nutrients. Dietetics will also teach students on food sciences and how nutrients, health, and diet all relate.


  • Physical Management will give me and others knowledge on physical activity and provide me with physical education. It also helps me gain knowledge on the importance of a healthy body and an individuals well being. In addition to this, Physical Management also teaches you how to live a healthy life-style


Extra Curricular Activities


  • Outdoor Adventure Club gives you knowledge on outdoor activities such as hiking and canoeing. Knowing these skills can allow you to incorporate them into your lifestyle making it healthy.


  • Track Team is basically building up skill in running. You can improve on your agility and endurance. In addition to this, you’re practically going to be running and training your body to be stronger so this is also an excellent way to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle to make it healthy.


Volunteer/Work Experience


  • A potential place that I could volunteer to work at is a Weight Watchers nearby so that I gain experience on food nutrition, how to lose weight, and or maintain weight in a healthy way. In addition to this, I can also build up speaking skills when speaking to others in group conversations.


References


  • Ms. Gorzynski (Digital Literacy teacher at East Leyden)
  • Ms. Heppeler (Global Studies teacher at East Leyden)
  • Ms. Kubeczko (Biology teacher at East Leyden)
  • Ms. Cunningham (Sponsor for GraceNotes, Women of Jazz, Chambers, VJE, Theatre, and Jazz Choir. Choir teacher at East Leyden)
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When I went to NIU I was in my 40's and it was close enough that I could commute, I had children in school at the time, and the tuition was the most reasonable. -Ms. Kate Loman

Post-Secondary Plans

There are many pathways that I can take advantage of once I graduate from high school. They would definitely be beneficial to me if I want to pursue a career as a Nutritionist/Dietitian but I have to choose a pathway that is a good fit for me and that will help me gain the experience I need to become a Nutritionist/Dietitian.



  • 4 year college/university
  • 2 year college
  • Take classes in health sciences to gain experience


In addition, I have the option of joining the military. According to Campus Explorer, "The military GI Bill provides over $40,000 towards a college education, opening up new possibilities for anyone afraid they can’t afford a higher education. Funding may also be available for books and housing." This could be a very good fit for me because it could help to pay for schooling if I want to attend a 4 year college or university. If I do take that option, I take many risks and have to make a huge commitment towards the military.

Lastly, if you were to take the option of a 4 year college or university, you might want to consider going to some of these schools to obtain your education.



  • Northern Illinois University
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
I Wanna be a Nutritionist