Public health nutritionists work to educate populations about proper diets. While some dietitians work in health care organizations and private practice, public health nutritionists are typically employed by government agencies or by non-governmental organizations that provide food relief to needy families. Public health nutritionists typically hold a bachelor's or master's degree related to dietetics.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dietitians and nutritionists earned an average of $56,170 per year as of 2012. However, this figure includes pay for clinical and organizational nutritionists as well as public health nutritionists. According to a 2009 survey conducted by the American Dietetic Association, public health nutritionists earned an average salary of $52,000 per year.
Pay by Type of Employment
According to the BLS, nutritionists employed by local government agencies earned an average of $50,440 per year in 2012. Nutritionists employed by state government agencies earned an average of $49,360 per year, and those working at the federal level reported an average annual salary of $69,360. Nutritionists employed by nongovernmental grantmaking and giving services reported an average salary of $66,590 per year.
Pay by State
According to the BLS, nutritionists employed in Maryland earned the highest average pay in 2012, $82,650 per year. Those in Nevada earned the second-highest pay, $71,840. Other high-paying states included California at $68,700, Hawaii at $65,050, and Alaska at $63,560. Utah was the lowest-paying state, where nutritionists earned an average of $46,850 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of jobs for nutritionists in all capacities will grow at a rate of about 20 percent between 2010 and 2020. This is significantly faster than the average job growth rate of 14 percent predicted for the American economy, and will result in approximately 12,700 new nutritionist positions by 2020. Many of these jobs will be in the field of public health; according to a 2008 report by the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, there is a nationwide shortage of public health nutritionists in the United States, particularly in rural areas.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Dietitians and Nutritionists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2012 Wages for Dietitians and Nutritionists
- Penn State Department of Nutritional Studies: Career Opportunities with a Nutritional Sciences Degree
- Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior: Can Distance Education Prepare Future Public Health Nutritionists?
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2012 National Industry-Specific Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for State Government
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