Nutritionists, also known as dietitians, are experts in the field of food and nutrition. They are healthcare professionals who create nutritional food plans and supervise the cooking and serving of meals to improve the health of others. They work to promote a healthier lifestyle by implementing a complete diet for individuals.  Health is becoming a bigger concern for many people, which drives up the demand for nutritionists. As a result, the average nutritionist salary has been quite strong.

Average Nutritionist Salary

The average annual salary for nutritionists is $56k. The monthly salary for the 10th percentile is $2.8k compared to $6.6k in the 90th percentile. When starting out your career, you can expect a nutritionist salary in the lower to mid range. This may vary between states and industries, which will be further discussed below.

Hourly Wage$16.35$21.35$26.88$32.93$37.84
Weekly Wage$654$854$1,075$1,317$1,513
Monthly Salary$2,833$3,700$4,658$5,708$6,558
Annual Salary$34,000$44,400$55,900$68,500$78,700

Highest Paying Industries for Nutritionists

Private corporations is #1 on the list of top paying industries. The salary for nutritionists in this top industry is $115k, which is considerably higher than any other industries. A rather distant #2 is the Health and Personal Care Stores with a salary of $98k.

RankIndustriesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1Management of Companies and Enterprises$55.29$2,212$9,583$115,000 1,800
2Health and Personal Care Stores$47.21$1,888$8,183$98,200400
3Grantmaking and Giving Services$34.33$1,373$5,950$71,400 1,000
4Federal Executive Branch$33.27$1,331$5,767$69,200 2,000
5Federal government, including the US Postal Service$33.27$1,331$5,767$69,200 2,000
6Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, Professional, and Similar Organizations$32.74$1,310$5,675$68,100 1,000
7Office Administrative Services$31.83$1,273$5,517$66,20050
8Food Manufacturing$31.06$1,242$5,383$64,60060
9Insurance Carriers$31.01$1,240$5,375$64,500100
10Insurance Carriers and Related Activities$30.77$1,231$5,333$64,000100

Best Paying States for Nutritionists and Dietitians

Nutritionists in the state of California had an average salary of $72k. This is higher than the $71k that came in second in Nevada. The next three states to round off the top five are Hawaii, Maryland and Connecticut. To see all of the states in one table, check out the nutritionist salary by states.

RankSalaries by StatesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1California$34.57$1,383$5,992$71,900 7,000
6New Jersey$30.24$1,210$5,242$62,900 2,000
8Rhode Island$29.90$1,196$5,183$62,200500
9Washington$29.76$1,190$5,158$61,900 2,000

States with the Lowest Nutritionist Wages

Utah had the lowest wage at close to $46k. While Utah’s salaries are quite low in comparison, just remember that factors such as a lower standard of living contributes to this.

RankSalaries by StatesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
2South Carolina$22.26$890$3,858$46,300700
4Pennsylvania$22.93$917$3,975$47,700 3,000
5Missouri$22.98$919$3,983$47,800 1,000
6Arizona$23.13$925$4,008$48,100 1,000

Top Paying Metropolitan Cities for Dietitians

The three major metropolitan cities of Oakland, Fremont, and Hayword in California had a higher annual salary for nutritionists than any other areas. The next cities were the neighboring Bay Area cities of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Redwood City at $78k a year.

RankMetropolitan CitiesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA$39.66$1,587$6,875$82,500600
2San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA$37.45$1,498$6,492$77,900500
3Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA$35.48$1,419$6,150$73,800400
4Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA$33.99$1,360$5,892$70,700 2,000
5Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, MA$33.17$1,327$5,750$69,00040
6Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, MD$32.84$1,313$5,692$68,300200
7Peabody, MA$32.40$1,296$5,617$67,40080
8Nassau-Suffolk, NY$31.35$1,254$5,433$65,200600
9Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA$31.35$1,254$5,433$65,200900
10Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, MA-NH$31.30$1,252$5,425$65,10040

Top Paying Non-Metropolitan Areas for Nutritionists

South Central Idaho had the highest paying nutritionist salary of any suburban area at $68k. This was followed by the beautiful areas of Maui and Kauai in Hawaii and Southwestern Virginia at close to $65k.

RankNon-Metropolitan AreasHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1Southcentral Idaho$32.84$1,313$5,692$68,30030
2Hawaii / Maui / Kauai$31.25$1,250$5,417$65,00070
3East Georgia$29.38$1,175$5,092$61,10040
4North Coast Region of California$29.23$1,169$5,067$60,80050
5Southeast Minnesota$29.18$1,167$5,058$60,70050
6Sussex County, Delaware$29.18$1,167$5,058$60,70040
7Central Texas$28.94$1,158$5,017$60,20040
8Southern Ohio$28.46$1,138$4,933$59,20070
9Other New Hampshire$28.37$1,135$4,917$59,00040
10Northwestern Virginia$28.27$1,131$4,900$58,80030

Highest Nutritionist Employment Level by States

To no surprise, California and New York had the highest number of employed nutritionists with 7k and 4k, respectively. They are also two of the most densely populated states in the US. To top off the list, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania had employment levels between 3k and 4k.

RankStatesHourly WageWeekly WageMonthly SalaryAnnual SalaryEmployment Level
1California$34.57$1,383$5,992$71,900 7,000
2New York$29.18$1,167$5,058$60,700 4,000
3Texas$26.39$1,056$4,575$54,900 4,000
4Florida$25.96$1,038$4,500$54,000 3,000
5Pennsylvania$22.93$917$3,975$47,700 3,000
6Illinois$24.86$994$4,308$51,700 2,000
7New Jersey$30.24$1,210$5,242$62,900 2,000
8North Carolina$24.23$969$4,200$50,400 2,000
9Ohio$26.06$1,042$4,517$54,200 2,000
10Georgia$24.33$973$4,217$50,600 2,000

Nutritionist Job Outlook

Nutritionists, also known as dietitians, are expected to grow in number by 21% between 2012 and 2022. This is slightly higher than similar occupations, and nearly double the growth rate of all jobs in the US.

Employment Projections Data for Nutritionists or Dietitions, 2012-2022 
Employment, 2012 67,400
Projected Employment, 2022 81,600
Employment Difference: 14,200
Nutritionists or Dietitions21%
Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners20%
Total, All Occupations11%

Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Dietitian & Nutritionist Job Description

nutritionist salary data

Nutritionists generally manage food systems of hospitals, nursing care centers, schools and other institutions. The skills and knowledge that is necessary requires a great deal of schooling, which is why nutritionists can earn a decent wage.

They assess the needs of patients and provide counseling to them based on their specific dietary requirements. They also help in educating the public about the importance of consuming nutritional foods and how our body will get affected with malnutrition.

Nutritionists give practical recommendations to people, which can help them become more health conscious. They estimate, diagnose and treat the problems related to dietary habits.

The main goal of this job is to enhance awareness among the people about the connection between food and health, so that they can protect people from future, more serious health problems. Nutritionists usually work in food industry, sports, media and researches.

These health experts may further specialize to work in pediatrics, sports, public health, clinical, management and consultancy. The salaries of nutritionists can vary greatly depending on the focus.

General Nutritionist Salary Information

Opportunities for nutritionists are expected to grow on an average of 9.6% to 19.6% in the next 5 years. Aging and population growth are the main causes for this growing demand, in addition to the recent changes in US health laws known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In addition, people have become more health-conscious nowadays. They also show concerns towards their health and change their eating habits to protect themselves from any life-threatening diseases. This increases the demand for these health experts which leads to higher salaries for nutritionists and dietitians world-wide.

The demand for nutritionists is likely to grow in hospitals, government service programs, nursing care facilities, research centers and community health programs. In the private sector, jobs are expected to increase in restaurants, corporate company cafeterias and assisted living care facilities.

They may also work as independent consultant nutritionists. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics forecast that the number of nutritionists will increase from 67,400 in 2012 to 81,600 by 2022. That’s an increase of about 21%.

The income of a nutritionist/dietician may vary depending on the type, size of the employer and location of the organization. An entry-level nutritionist may earn an average salary of $4,000 per month. If a person has a few years of experience, he/she may get nearly a $6,000 monthly salary as a nutritionist.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported that the average nutritionist salary in 2012 was $55,240. The top 10% earned minimum $77,590 and the bottom 10% earned about $34,500.

How to Become a Nutritionist/Dietitian

You have to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics, Nutrition, Food Science or a related field to become a dietitian. The institution should be accredited and your coursework should be approved from Accreditation Counsel for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

Once you have completed your degree, you need to go through an internship program for a period of 6 to 12 months. It can be done in any healthcare facility or food service corporation. Your internship experience will look great on your resume and will help you negotiate a higher nutritionist salary.

You have to pass the national level examination which is conducted by the Commission of Dietetic Registration (CDR) to become a Registered Dietitian (RD). You have to successfully complete your degree program and internship program in order to become eligible to take this examination.

You will be a Registered Dietitian soon after you successfully pass the exam. To maintain your RD status, you have to complete 74 credit hours of continuing professional education every 5 years. This will help you keep your knowledge fresh and improve your skills in your field to obtain a higher pay.

dietitian salary infoTo become a nutritionist, you have to get a degree in nutritional science from an accredited institution. The accreditation required for a nutritional degree varies depending on the state.

At present, 46 states need a 2 to 4-year degree program in nutritional science. If your state needs experience to acquire licensing, you have to go through an internship program.

Though an advanced degree is not mandated, it will widen your job opportunities as a nutritionist and certainly help earn a higher salary. Once you have completed your degree, you can take the certification exam of CBNS (Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists) and become a Certified Nutrition Specialist.

As a nutritionist, you need good communication skills to effectively interact with patients, coworkers and physicians. Ensuring that you receive the right training will ensure great experience that will translate to a higher nutritionist salary.