Monday, November 1, 2010

Becoming a Registered Dietitian: Job Outlook and Earnings

If you are passionate about helping people to live healthier, more active lives, a career as a registered dietitian might be just what you’re looking for. In my previous blog, I offered some insight into what it takes to become qualified as a registered dietitian. The next question I am often asked about the field of dietetics and nutrition is about salaries. What can you expect to earn as a registered dietitian?

Job Outlook
Before talking about earnings, let’s take a brief look at the demand for registered dietitians and nutritionists in related fields. We can take a look at the broader employment picture, since once you become an RD so many opportunities are opened up to you. While most RDs work in hospitals and clinics, many find jobs in schools, clinics, nonprofit organizations, the food industry, marketing, communications, education and research, to name a few.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for dietitians and nutritionists is expected to grow from 60,300 in 2008 to 65,800 in 2010. This is an increase of about 9 percent. A growing aging population and concerns about obesity and chronic diseases will impact this growth in employment opportunities.

The BLS report indicates that median annual wages of dietitians and nutritionists were $50,590 in May 2008. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,460 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $73,410.

“According to the American Dietetic Association, median annual wages for registered dietitians in 2007 varied by practice area as follows: $60,008 in consultation and business; $64,002 in food and nutrition management; $66,061 in education and research; $52,000 in clinical nutrition/ambulatory care; $53,997 in clinical nutrition/long-term care; $48,006 in community nutrition; and $48,984 in clinical nutrition/acute care. Salaries also vary by years in practice, education level, and geographic region.” (From the BLS)