How Many Dietitian Career Paths Are There?

Demand for dietitians and nutritionists is growing faster than many other industries in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be a 7% increase in demand for these professionals over the next 10 years, leading to 5,200 new jobs.

One reason why dietitians are so in demand is because they are increasingly valued across a variety of fields. Dietitians are found in healthcare, child development, sports, and even in the corporate world. This means there are countless dietitian career paths that anyone can take depending on their interests. Here are a few things to evaluate if you want to develop your ideal career path and find a job you love. 

Choose Between Working As a Contractor or In-House

Dietitians can either work for a single company as in-house employees or juggle multiple clients as contractors. In-house employees often have the most stability because they receive an hourly wage or flat salary every month. You will most likely receive training from your employer and will be expected to follow their policies and procedures.

While contractors have less stability, they have more control over how they run their business. As a contractor, you can grow your client base and set your hourly rates, and you have the potential to make more money as your company grows. Contractors also have more diversity in the clients they work with. You can either specialize in a certain type of dietitian service (like helping women going through menopause) or serve as a general dietitian who helps people from all walks of life 

Identify Fields and Industries That Interest You 

It's impossible to count all of the potential dietitian career paths because they’re used (and loved!) in so many industries. That means you’ll be in a better position than in most other fields to pick professional activities that resonate with you the most. Here are a few places where you can find dietitians delivering essential services for enthusiastic clients:

  • Athletic organizations: College, professional, and minor league sports teams all utilize dietitians to support their athletes so they perform at their best.
  • Maternity centers: You can help pre- and postpartum women get enough nutrients to support themselves and their babies.
  • Hospitals: Healthcare facilities need skilled dietitians who can create safe and healthy meals for a variety of patients. 
  • Enterprise organizations: Companies are increasingly hiring dietitians to develop healthy meals to serve to their employees. Nutrient-packed, high-protein lunches can keep staff members alert throughout the day, boosting productivity. 

You can also work with individuals through your own dietitian consultancy. Clients might turn to you for help getting balanced nutrition, overcoming eating disorders, or learning how to make smart choices. By niching down your services and creating materials and content to support your chosen client base, you can create a lot of value with your skills. 

Decide Between Virtual and In-Person Consulting

One significant benefit of entering the dietitian career field is that you can develop a business that travels with you anywhere across the country, if not the world. Virtual dietitians can offer consultations through video calls and email communication, and it’s a great way to reach a wide and diverse client base. 

This potentially allows you to scale your business because you can recruit clients nationally instead of trying to advertise only within your area. You could also increase the number of clients you meet with daily because you won't have to factor in travel time to and from your appointments. 

Consider Your Plans for Growth

While you should certainly follow your passions in the short term to establish your dietitian career, think about where you want to be in the next 5-10 years. Dietitians can step into executive roles within the organizations they work for, leading teams of nutrition experts and developing company policies. One of the highest-paid dietitian jobs is a Director of Nutrition, and these skilled professionals can earn more than $150,000 per year. 

Taking on a management role can be an exciting way to grow your career and build new skills; however, leading people is not for everyone. Consider whether you are interested in honing your leadership skills and investing in career development—along with your dietitian know-how—so you can eventually become an executive. 

Explore Different Dietitian Career Paths for a Bright Future

People become dietitians for a variety of reasons. Some are passionate about nutrition and want to share their knowledge, while others are eager to help people who need assistance making food choices. Whatever drives you to become a dietitian, know that there is a way to develop a successful practice that suits your needs. There are countless dietitian career paths that can be rewarding, including establishing a private practice and becoming a business owner.

If you are ready to start your own dietitian business, join the Library at Dietitian Boss or contact us to find out about our career counseling services. We love to hear from motivated dietitians who are looking to take control of their careers, and you can ask us anything! We can give you the skills to launch your company as an entrepreneur and independent contractor. Take the first steps toward a vibrant career by signing up today.

Start Your Private Practice Checklist

(A 9-step checklist to help start and grow your Dietitian Private Practice!)

Starting a private practice can seem scary when you don't know what to do. We are here to clear up the confusion.

We created a method that breaks down exactly what you can do to start a dietitian business, and we are sharing our secrets for free!

Work with our checklist as you make progress and increase your confidence. 


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.