Dietitians specialize in applying nutrition science principles to practical situations to ensure patients are making health-conscious diet decisions and are receiving the vital nutrients needed to improve their overall well-being.
Dietitians are typically responsible for educating patients with a wide range of diet-related disorders, calculating patients’ nutritional requirements using health assessments, analyzing the nutritional content of foods, advising hospital catering departments about specific dietary regulations, and teaching other healthcare providers about nutrition.
How much does a dietitian make? According to the May 2012 records from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 58,240 dietitians registered for employment throughout the United States. The average dietitian salary is $56,170, or a mean hourly wage of $27.00.
The bottom ten percent in the profession makes $34,500 on average or less, the top ten percent of dietitians bring home an impressive salary of $77,590 each year. Dietitians who are employed by the local government earn considerably less than average at $50,440, but those that work for the federal government can expect to be well-compensated with a mean annual wage of $69,360. The top-paying states for the field are Maryland and Nevada, where dietitians make an average $82,650 and $71,840 annually.
The majority of dietitians, around 32 percent, are employed by private, local, and state hospitals to work with other nutritionists to devise nutrient-based meals to meet the individual needs of each patient during their stay.
Other dietitians often find employment at nursing care centers, residential care facilities, physicians’ offices, outpatient treatment facilities, schools, cafeterias, and other food services. Around 15 percent of dietitians are self-employed as independent consultants to work directly with clients or healthcare organizations on a contract basis. Although 20 percent of dietitians work part-time, most are employed on full-time status during regular business hours.
Recently, there have been tremendous spikes in demand for understanding the role of nutrition in promoting health and wellness to prevent various medical concerns. With the steadily increasing populations of both obese and elderly individuals, there is predicted to be a high demand for dietitians to provide their expert advice for treating many illnesses. Therefore, employment is expected to grow more rapidly than the national average for all occupations at a rate of 20 percent from 2010 to 2020, thus creating 12,700 more jobs for dietitians.