Kicking off a career in nutrition

Nutritionists can sometimes diagnose what doctors have overlooked.

If you believe that diet is the source of optimal health and have a passion for helping people achieve it, you might consider becoming a nutritionist. “It’s very rewarding to help someone make changes in their lives so that they become healthier,” says Mary Jo Detroyer, a nutritionist and registered dietician practicing sports nutrition in New York City with a specialization in eating disorders. “It’s a very dynamic field.”

Once you decide this is for you, the schooling can be rigorous. There are varying requirements depending on what type of work you want to do, but  expect to earn a Bachelor’s degree (or higher), along with extensive internship hours.

Once you get your degree, you need to work on building your client base if you want to be a private nutritionist. You can get referrals from doctors, trainers and, of course, other happy clients.  

One of the more satisfying parts of the job, according to Detroyer, is being able to diagnose something that doctors have overlooked: “It’s very rewarding when someone has had symptoms that no one has been able to find the cause of, and you look at their profile and talk to their doctor and the person is diagnosed with a disease that no one else can find, like celiac disease.” 


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