Wondering what does a nutritionist do? A nutritionist, also known as a nutrition advisor, is a person who has in-depth knowledge on food and nutrition. He or she has the job of providing sound advice on what food should be appropriately consumed to gain or maintain a healthy lifestyle. He or she also gives explanations on how food may affect one’s health.
A nutritionist can work in different places, but most of the time, he or she can work in schools, nursing homes, food manufacturing companies and even restaurants. However, there are some nutritionists who are self-employed and prefer to manage their own private practice.
What does a nutritionist do?
One of the main tasks of a nutritionist is to provide customized information in relation to the food intake of a particular individual. For instance, when a mother is undergoing a risky pregnancy due to some health conditions, a nutritionist usually recommends what food she should eat and what to avoid to make sure that both the mother and the baby are properly nourished.
In addition, a nutritionist also does the following:
– Inform the client on the importance of nutrition and its purpose
– Evaluate the health necessities and diets of the client
– Come up with meal plans according to the cost and preferences of the client
– Assess the results of the meal plans and make necessary changes if needed
– Share insights on better nutrition and encourage good eating habits
– Stay updated with the latest news and developments on science research
Nutritionist vs Dietitian
Most of the people may think that both nutritionist and dietitian are the same. However, there is a clear distinction between the two of them.
A nutritionist is an unregulated term or a non-accredited title, which may be given to a person who has completed a short nutrition course. In some cases, a person may also call himself a nutritionist even if he does not enroll in any nutrition-related education or participate in any practical training. Nutritionists do not get the same protection under the law, unlike the dietitians.
Meanwhile, a dietitian or formally called as a registered dietitian is an expert in the areas of food and nutrition. Unlike the nutritionists, dietitians have to complete all the educational prerequisites. First, they must finish a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences. Second, they need to undergo a one-year internship. Third, pass a nationwide exam before they can register their names with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), which gives them the license to practice as a full-fledged dietitian as well as a nutrition consultant.
Requirements to be a nutritionist
To become a nutritionist, you have the option to complete a two-year of four-year course that is related to Nutritional Science. But if you want to become a certified nutrition specialist (CNS), you must do the following:
– have a master’s or a Ph.D. related to the same field
– must render 1,000 hours of practical experience or internship
– pass the certification exam given by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists or CBNS
– continue professional study to maintain the certification
How long does it take to become a nutritionist?
Becoming a nutritionist depends on the academic path you have chosen. If you have taken an associate degree, then you can become a nutritionist after two years. A bachelor’s degree, on the other hand, is completed after four years.
But to become a certified nutritionist, you must complete a master’s degree, which usually take two years. In addition, you must complete an internship for one year. Hence, a total of seven years.
After understanding what does a nutritionist do, are you still interested in becoming one? If yes, then it is more advantageous to aim and earn the credential as a certified nutrition specialist (CNS), so that more doors of career opportunities will open for you.