Last updated on October 5th, 2023.
A nutritionist or a dietician is a person who studies nutrition and the diet of an individual. They are experts in nutrition and food and provide information and advice to others about eating habits, management of chronic health conditions like diabetes, etc. Nowadays, nutritionists are hired by educational institutions too. The growing need to have a well-balanced diet has become an essential part of attending school. They help to educate the students and promote healthy lifestyles. They provide nutrition support to people and also nutrition therapy.
But have you ever wondered how much do these nutritionists make? In the US, on average the salary is $62,600 per year!!
Yes, you have heard it right. The average salary of a nutritionist is $62,600 in a year as of April 2020.
Work of a Nutritionist
Nutritionists have a range of work which is closely related to the work of a dietitian but there is a thin line of difference between the two which you will learn later in this article. Typically, a nutritionist provides specific information to specific clients. They educate their clients with the kind of lifestyle who should be living, they teach them about healthy food habits and designs meal plans for them depending on their health conditions. For instance, if a client suffers from high blood pressure, the nutritionist will advise him to consume fewer amounts of salt in his meals.
- The work of a nutritionist involves the following –
- Define the meaning of nutrition and what it does to an individual.
- Examine the health condition of the client and design a diet plan based on the condition of his health. While designing meal plans, the nutritionist should also take into account the client’s preferences.
- Assess the impacts of each meal plans and educate the client on the same
- Keep a track of the improvements on the health conditions and modify the plans if needed
- Promote better and healthier nutrition habits by educating your clients about diet and health and the correlation between healthy eating habits and better conditions of the health.
- Keep yourself updated with the current research on nutritional sciences.
How much do Nutritionists Make?
On average, the salary of a nutritionist in the United States was recorded to be $62,600, updated on March 26, 2020. Typically, the average salary ranges from $57,00 to $68,800. This range is because various factors determine the salary of a nutritionist such as certificates, educational qualification, additional skills and knowledge, the number of years spent in practicing your profession, etc.
Nutritionist Average Salaries measured by Percentile
|Percentile||Salary||Location||Last Updated on|
|10th Percentile||$51,901||US||March 26, 2020|
|25th Percentile||$57,000||US||March 26, 2020|
|50th Percentile||$62,600||US||March 26, 2020|
|75th Percentile||$68,800||US||March 26, 2020|
|90th Percentile||$74,445||US||March 26, 2020|
The above table shows the average salaries of nutritionists in the United States, categorized into different salary percentiles.
In terms of benefits that the nutritionists are entitled to, such as bonus over base salary, social security, pension, healthcare, disability, time off, 401K/403B.
The nutritionists earn a bonus of $100 on an average, over and above the average base salary of $62,600 in a year. The benefits of core compensations are many. They receive an average of $4,797 as social security, $2,947 as 401K/403B, $502 as disability, $6,056 as healthcare money. On average, they receive a pension that amounts to $3,449 and time-off that amounts to $7,717. The total compensation a nutritionist gets on average amounts to a sum of $88,166 which includes the base salary, the bonus, and the benefits that an average nutritionist earns in the United States. This is shown in a tabular form below to give you an idea about the income split-up of the nutritionist.
Average Income Split-up of a Nutritionist (including benefits)
|Average Income Split-Up||Average Amount||% of Total|
|Value of Benefits||Average Amount||% of Total|
How much do Nutritionists make an hour?
One of the most asked questions regarding nutritionists and dietitians is that how much do they earn in a year and what is their hourly wage.
An entry-level nutritionist who has little or no experience in the professional field is expected to earn an average income which ranges from $38460 to $48880 per year which means $18 to $24 per hour.
The salary of a nutritionist increases as they become more and more experienced in their field just like any other profession.
However, in the case of experienced or professional nutritionists who have practiced in the field for quite some time make an average of $29 to $35 per hour.
Those nutritionists who work independently and practice privately might make more than the other nutritionists. They offer private consultations and impart nutritional education, design eating plans, and also addresses problems of weight loss or gain, muscle gain, eating disorder, and healthy eating habits.
In the case of these self-employed nutritionists, providing their salary data can be difficult as they practice price discrimination in their field, which means they have the freedom to charge a different price for different clients. In that case, providing a fixed salary number becomes difficult. According to Thumbtack, the nutritionist charge on an average, a price of $60 to $100 per session. The initial appointments and consultations are quite expensive when compared to the subsequent appointments and sessions.
What is the Highest-Paid Nutritionist?
As of 2018, the highest-paid nutritionist earns $211,201 in the United States whereas the average pay scale of a nutritionist was $75,605 in 2018.
People often say that nutritionists and dietitians earn very less but the following points will show you that people who have taken up dietician or nutritionist jobs earned profitable and exorbitant salaries.
Consultant Nutritionist earns about $58,920 to $71,840 per year as per the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, 2016. Consultants make contracts with various firms like private medical organizations, sports organizations, health spas, nursing homes, etc.
Technology Nutritionist is those who are working in the tech industries, earn about $80,820 to $110,00 per year. They usually develop educational materials online, cooking videos, food photography, etc.
Supervisory Nutritionists are almost like the nutrition managers and they earn about $102,040 to $132,649 per year. They coordinate and direct therapy sessions related to medical nutrition, manage the rest of the team members, and act as a link between programs and departments.
Counselling and Coaching Nutritionists earn $104,00 – $162,240 per year. Several schools and companies have started hiring nutritionists for the sole purpose of counseling or coaching the students and the employees either through virtual platforms or in-person.
Director of Nutrition generally earns $125,879 – $156,829 per year. They manage employees and monitors the activities involved in the organization.
In 2018, Nutritionist was ranked as the 91st most well-known job in the US which employed around 2,644 dietitians and nutritionists
The government dietitian and nutritionist are categorized under the General Schedule (GS) payscale, the minimum pay grade being GS-6, and the highest that can be achieved in this profession being GS-15.
Below are the highest paying states in the US for Nutritionists
|States / Districts||Salary|
It is evident from the table that dietitians and nutritionists in California earn higher income ($74,060) than those in New Jersey ($68,810)
Below are the highest paying cities in the US for Nutritionists
How much do Nutritionist Make: 2010-2020?
The following table shows the trend of average salary of a nutritionist in the United States for the time period 2010-2020. The trend shows an upward slope of the annual salary from 2010 to 2015. The data has been collected from the U.S. Bureau of Labour and Statistics. It rose from $33,320 in 2010 to $63,700 in 2015. The trend shows a slight fall after the year 2015. The annual average salary of the nutritionist reduced to $58,920 in 2016 and it kept rising till 2018, reached $60,370 and fell again the following year in 2019 and then again rose in 2020, which is the current annual salary of $62,600 in 2020.
The following table shows the trend of annual salaries of nutritionists in the United States for the period 2010-2020
Is it worth becoming a nutritionist?
If you are an inexperienced entry-level nutritionist or you have experienced less than a year, you can earn an average salary including tips, overtime pay, and bonus, of $40,111 a year.
During the initial years of your career, if you have an experience of one to four years, then you may earn $44,168 per year. A nutritionist who has worked for five to nine years can earn an average total compensation of up to $50,149 per year.
After working for a period of ten to nineteen years, you become an experienced nutritionist. You earn recognition and you have an identity of being a nutritionist. Your salary also increases to $48,396 a year, including all the benefits and bonuses. Your salary can rise to $68,784 or more if you continue with your practice.
Now, you know if it is at all worth to become a nutritionist.
With the rise in the number of people suffering from morbid obesity, there has been a growing demand for dietitians and nutritionists in every corner of the world. According to recent statistics, approximately 78 million adults and 12.5 million children are suffering from overweight or obesity. The numbers signify almost half the population in the country and it is alarming.
To overcome this problem, many schools and organizations are hiring health care nutritionists. So, if you are planning to become a nutritionist, think of the contributions that you are going to make in the world that is going to prevent many health illnesses that occur due to obesity.
The next inevitable question that will pop in your mind is – How to Become a Dietitian or a Nutritionist?
To answer the above question, you should be aware of the differences between dietitians and nutritionists. You will often hear people using these terms synonymously but they do not mean the same.
Dietitians are generally more regulated than nutritionists. Studying health and nutrition is easier than gathering certifications and licensures to become a dietitian.
The training involved in becoming a certified dietitian requires rigorous and laborious academic as well as professional preparation. Whereas the training involved for a nutritionist is not as difficult as that of a certified dietitian.
Nutritionists and dietitians both are experts when it comes to nutrition but dietitians pursue special certifications and training, unlike nutritionists.
If you are aspiring to become a nutritionist or a dietitian one day, then you may require the following to fulfill your aspiration –
- Pursue your bachelor’s degree
- Get an advanced degree
- Obtain internship experience
- Get a license
- Get certified
Most American nutritionists have claimed that they get full job satisfaction and they find their jobs both enjoyable and fulfilling.
How can a nutritionist make more money?
Nutritionists have the scope to increase their earning potential.
If you want to work as a nutritionist, you will need certain certifications or licenses to work. In many instances, you’ll be able to pursue your nutrition certification online. The more the certifications you collect, the more potential clients will come to you. You will be defined by the number of certificates you possess. It shows that you are capable to maintain high standards in your field.
A couple of closely related certifications that will make you a more well rounded all-around health advisor are become a certified health coach as well as pursuing certification as a life coach. (Check out our article here to learn more about what life coaches do and we have a separate article on what health coaches do). As a nutritionist specialist, you can attain the required skills to fulfill the following job requirements
Hospital Nutritionist – if you are a nutritionist, you can be associated with a dietitian of a hospital and promote good health habits and educate your patients regarding calorie intake and disease prevention.
It is a full-time job and you can gain professional experience and build expertise in this field. Jobs like these usually come as salaried along with benefits and compensations. The average annual salary ranges from $50,000 to $55,000 based on your education and other qualifications.
But the problem in this type of job is that it can be challenging for those who want to be self-employed or work independently.
Nutritionist in the public health sector– nutritionist specialists is important characters in society as they tend to promote good n healthy food habits. They focus on educating poor families about food and nutrition.
Sometimes these specialists are hired by educational institutions. They analyze the food menus in the school canteen and provide necessary inputs to change the menu into a healthier one.
These jobs are full-time jobs and come along with retirement and other health benefits. They are required to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and the average annual salary ranges from $31,000 to $59,000 based on the level of qualifications and experience in this particular field.
Sports Nutritionist – In case you want to opt for Sports Nutritionist as your career, you will multiple ways in which you can earn. You can work at a local gym or an educational institution and provide guidance on nutrition either for weight loss or weight gain, muscle gain, or overall health. This job line is quite enriching and dynamic and it requires you to constantly motivate your clients. The average salary in this job may be around $40,000 to $45,000.
Nutritionist Writer – This particular job has got several options. You can be a writer for a magazine or a newspaper. You can write online on blogs or marketing materials or eBooks. These are not full-time jobs and these usually have flexible hours. You may also have to option to work from home. The disadvantage of this job is that there is no benefits or compensations or fixed salary. You will earn on a contractual basis as it is not a full-time job. Along with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, you will need to be qualified in journalism as well. The average salary is around $29,000 per year.
Nutritionist in a Corporate Setting – people who work as nutritionists in the corporate environment have the responsibility to analyze the food and nutrition habits and design and implement research on behalf of the pharmaceutical and medical companies. They focus on conducting wellness programs that educate others to improve their health conditions, reduce sick leaves, and also reduce the ultimate overall healthcare costs. The average annual salary of the nutritionist who works in the corporates varies depending on the companies.
The nutrition field is witnessing a huge growth in recent years, the nutritionists are earning exorbitant revenue and the platform through which they earn these revenues are countless. Every nutritionist must pursue the required educations and get themselves certified so that they can carry on with their profession successfully.
The employment of the nutritionist sector is likely to expand faster than the average and it is expected to rise by 15 per cent by 2026, according to BLS.
In the American markets, dietitians are more regulated than nutritionists. Nutritionists do not go through the typical professional training and that is the reason why they are not allowed to diagnose and treat any of the diseases.
Hence, the major difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist is that a dietitian can diagnose the eating disorders of an individual, make meal plans to manage the health problems of that individual. Whereas a nutritionist can only provide support in these problems and most of it is associated with the kind of food behavior that an individual must follow. They educate their clients about the balanced healthy nutrition and the properties present in the food they intake.
To be a certified nutritionist, one must be registered with the CDR or the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Unless they get themselves registered, they cannot really call themselves nutritionists.
If you want to be a nutritionist, you should be possessing the following qualities –
- Be analytical – the most essential quality of a nutritionist is to be analytical. You will have to analyze the problems your clients are suffering from, interpret them, and give them solutions.
- Be organizational – Being a nutritionist also requires you to have organizational skills. You need to keep proper records of your clients and follow up with them from time to time to check their progress or regress.
- Have People Skills – since this is a people-oriented job, nutritionists must be good listeners and pay heed to the goals of their clients. They must love to work with people of diverse nature. They must be considerate and listen to the problems faced by the clients and make them feel comfortable. A good rapport with the clients will make them have faith and trust in you.
- Be Technical – the technical know-how is a must-quality of any nutritionist. Usually, they use tools that include glucose meters that measure blood sugar, bioelectric machines that measure body fat and calorie meter that measures metabolism. As a nutritionist, you must be well-acquainted with the equipment. The nutritionists also use software programs that they need to be comfortable with.
- Be Communicative – Other than being a people person, a nutritionist should also be communicative which means that he should be able to communicate the necessary information to his clients either verbally or in writing. A big part of the job involves promoting a good and healthy lifestyle, teaching clients about food habits and health diseases. This requires excellent communication skills otherwise the clients will tend to lose interest in you and have no faith in your diet plans or advice.
Also, be sure to check out this article on getting certified in holistic nutrition.
It is important to note that being a dietitian or a nutritionist means that you have a huge responsibility on your shoulder and you must not take it lightly because one wrong advice may turn out to be harmful and dangerous to your client and you may lose your license if something goes wrong.