Average employment growth
is projected. Applicants with specialized training, an advanced degree, or
certifications beyond the particular State's minimum requirement should enjoy
the best job opportunities.
Employment change. Employment of
dietitians and nutritionists is expected to increase 9 percent during the
2008-18 projection decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job
growth will result from an increasing emphasis on disease prevention through
improved dietary habits. A growing and aging population will boost demand for
nutritional counseling and treatment in hospitals, residential care facilities,
schools, prisons, community health programs, and home healthcare agencies.
Public interest in nutrition and increased emphasis on health education and
prudent lifestyles also will spur demand, especially in food service management.
Also, with increased public awareness of obesity and diabetes, Medicare
coverage has been expanded to include medical nutrition therapy for renal and
diabetic patients, creating job growth for dietitians and nutritionists
specializing in those diseases.
Employment growth, however, may be constrained if some employers substitute
other workers, such as health educators, food service managers, and dietetic
technicians, to do work related to nutrition. Also, demand for nutritional
therapy services is related to the ability of patients to pay, either
out-of-pocket or through health insurance, and although more insurance plans now
cover nutritional therapy services, the extent of such coverage varies among
plans. Growth may be curbed by limitations on insurance reimbursement for
Hospitals will continue to employ a large number of dietitians and
nutritionists to provide medical nutritional therapy and plan meals. But
hospitals also will continue to contract with outside agencies for food service
and move medical nutritional therapy to outpatient care facilities, slowing job
growth in hospitals relative to food service, outpatient facilities, and other
Finally, the number of dietitian positions in nursing care facilities is
expected to decline, as these establishments continue to contract with outside
agencies for food services. However, employment is expected to grow rapidly in
contract providers of food services, in outpatient care centers, and in offices
of physicians and other health practitioners.
Job prospects. In addition to employment
growth, job openings will result from the need to replace experienced workers
who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons. Applicants with
specialized training, an advanced degree, or certifications beyond the
particular State's minimum requirement should enjoy the best job opportunities.
Demand for dietitians should be particularly strong in outpatient care
facilities, offices of physicians, and food service management. Applicants
without a bachelor's degree will face
keen competition for jobs.
Dietitians with specialized training, an advanced degree, or certifications
beyond the particular State's minimum requirement will experience the best job
opportunities. Those specializing in renal and diabetic nutrition or
gerontological nutrition will benefit from the growing number of diabetics and
the aging of the population.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition
Find related resources below:
Dietitian Job Outlook