Registered dietitians are nutritional experts who therapeutically assess and advise individuals on diet and nutritional issues. Dietitians typically work in clinical settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes, with physicians and other health care providers to ensure that a patient's dietary needs are met during medical treatment. At the masters level, dietitians can see their roles and job duties expand as they move out of the clinical setting and begin to work in the fields of education, management and public policy.
Nutrition Policy Analyst
Nutrition policy analysts are responsible for creating and regulating how food is labeled and marketed across the country. These analysts provide consumers and government organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration or the U.S. Department of Agriculture with in-depth research on consumer food safety, food labeling, economic modeling and food market analyses. A policy analyst may be responsible for regulating how much fat or sodium is allowed in a product labeled "Low fat" or "Low sodium. Analysts can also determine if a product can be labeled as safe for human consumption or if it is only suitable for livestock or industrial uses.
Agricultural business makes up one of the largest industry models in the U.S. today with nearly one quarter of the U.S. workforce employed in that sector according to North Dakota State University. Many agricultural producers, such as the meat and dairy industry, hire expert nutritionists and dietitians to advocate their products and services by engaging in personal and professional conversations with members of congress. Lobbyists may use their expertise to promote the ideas and concerns of the food industry to members of congress on a variety of nutrition-related issues ranging from the amount of milk and grains that should be included in school lunches, to regulations on exporting poultry and livestock products to other countries.
Community Nutrition Education
From working in small groups with low-income families, to creating and developing easy to understand materials for the general public to access online, dietitians with graduate training may find a career as a community educator. These professionals create nutrition-related tools, such as the U.S.D.A.'s SuperTracker, or work one-on-one with individuals through government-funded educational programs to better assist their clients in making healthy dietary choices.
Clinical Managerial Positions
Earning your masters in dietetics does not mean that you have to leave the clinical setting behind. Graduate training can give you the opportunity to rise through the ranks of your current organization. As a clinical dietitian manager, you are responsible for overseeing the nutritional health plans for your entire organization. This may include consulting with your team of registered dietitians to create nutrition plans for their clients and supervising their work with clients to ensure that the plans are being successfully followed. You may also be responsible for the business-related aspects of your department, such as managing an operating budget, set objectives for your department and work closely with your staff to develop and grow morale.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Dietitians and Nutritionists Do
- University of the District of Columbia: Master's Degree in Nutrition
- RTI International: Food and Nutrition Policy Research
- North Dakota State University: Agribusiness
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Community Nutrition Education
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