California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Dietitians and Nutritionists in California

May also be called: Diet Consultants; Registered Dietitians

Specialties within this occupation include: Clinical Dietitians; Community Dietitians; Consultant Dietitians; Management Dietitians; Gerontological Nutrition Dietitians; Oncology Nutrition Dietitians; Pediatric Clinical Dietitians

What Would I Do?

Dietitians and Nutritionists plan and supervise the preparation of meals for patients or clients and confer with physicians and other medical professionals about each patient’s or client’s nutritional needs and preferences. They may coordinate diet therapy and nutritional education programs, instruct groups or individuals with medical conditions about nutritional care, make presentations to medical professionals, or conduct research and write reports of the findings.

Dietitians and Nutritionists work in a wide variety of settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, other health care facilities, schools, and prisons. They usually work in clean, well-lighted, and well-ventilated areas. However, sometimes they must work in hot, congested kitchens. Many are on their feet for much of the workday. Most full-time Dietitians and Nutritionists work a regular 40-hour week.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The occupation of Dietitian may appeal to those who are interested in nutrition, and who enjoy working with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking, searching for facts, or figuring out problems.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Salaries vary by years in practice, education level, and geographic region.

The median wage in 2015 for Dietitians and Nutritionists in California was $72,742 annually, or $34.97 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2015Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$62,785$72,742$85,346
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2015 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits generally include medical, dental, and vision insurance as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

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 health care agencies. Public interest in nutrition also will spur demand, especially in food service management.

Employment growth may be curbed if some employers substitute other workers, such as food service managers and dietetic technicians, to do work related to nutrition. However, employment is expected to grow for contract providers of food services, outpatient care centers, and offices of physicians and other health practitioners.

How Do I Qualify?

Completion of a bachelor’s degree in food service management, nutrition, or dietetics from a college accredited by the American Dietetic Association (ADA) is generally the minimum education required for Dietitians or Nutritionists. Many employers, particularly in the medical and health care fields, require new applicants to be registered Dietitians through the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Applicants can also find employment opportunities through placement offices at colleges and universities. Professional organizations, such as the California Dietetic Association, post job openings on their Web site. Newspaper classified ads and the Internet provide additional sources for job listings. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

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