The Highest-Paying Dietitian Jobs and How to Get One

“Dietitian” isn’t a one-size-fits-all job. Dietitians work in a variety of settings from hospitals to private practices depending on their interests and expertise. As you look to grow your dietitian career, it’s extremely important to periodically think about your personal and professional goals and how your current career path lines up with them. Do you have student loans? Are you working the hours you prefer? Are you able to enjoy the lifestyle you’re dreaming of? We know how passionate you are about people—but don’t forget that you matter, too!

The fact is, all dietitians are invested in helping others, and they also deserve to earn a good salary. With the right job, you can do both. Check some of the highest-paying dietitian jobs to see if they would be a good fit for you. 

Director of Nutrition

This professional works within an organization to ensure adequate meal planning, health education, and sanitation practices. Directors of nutrition can earn more than $150,000 per year depending on the companies they support. It can also be a highly rewarding profession; this is a management role where you will spend more time overseeing team members and guiding best practices instead of directly working with patients. You’ll see fewer people, but make a wider impact.

Organizations that need nutrition directors include schools, sports teams, correctional institutions, and companies that offer meals to employees. Not only does the nutrition director ensure the food is healthy and well-portioned, but they also make sure there is enough to accommodate everyone who needs to eat while mitigating waste.

Chief Clinical Dietitian   

The chief clinical dietitian is similar to the director of nutrition except they typically work in a medical setting. This is another of the highest-paying dietitian jobs because it’s so valuable. Chief clinical dietitians develop meals for patients with a variety of needs, including post-partum women, people recovering from strokes who cannot swallow easily, and those with eating disorders. They also have to keep allergies and complications with medications in mind. 

These specialists make around $105,000 on average but can earn more than $130,000 in some positions. This is another leadership opportunity where you will manage a team instead of developing meal plans yourself.  

Private Practice Dietitian

This is one of the most exciting—and lucrative—options! You can easily make the list of the highest-paying dietitian jobs without working for a large healthcare provider. A private practice dietitian can set their rates based on their experience level and the local market. If you choose to step into this arena, you can grow your client base to increase your monthly income until you reach your salary goals. 

Private practice dietitians often help individuals create meal plans and follow their health education journeys, but the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination. You might consult with individuals monthly or work closely with some clients daily. You can develop different plans that appeal to various clients. Also, as a business owner, you’ll be in a position to understand the needs of your clients more intimately, make your own hours, and decide which products and services you’d like to focus on. 

Starting your own private practice can be intimidating, but you can easily earn more than $100,000 each year as you grow your client base.  

Eating Disorder Dietitian

Some dietitians work with clients who need to learn about nutrition and balance while others help people overcome their traumatic relationships with food. If the latter option appeals to you, consider becoming an eating disorder dietitian

These professionals guide patients to view food in a healthy, sustainable way. Eating disorder dietitians work to identify how patients approach food and then develop meal plans for them. They might work with mental health professionals to better understand the needs of the clients they meet with. 

You can earn around $100,000 as an eating disorder dietitian, but this salary varies by clinic and location. This can be a challenging yet meaningful way to use your dietitian skills, and an extremely rewarding one as you help patients recover. 

Research Dietitian

Research dietitians have median salaries of $86,000 per year but can earn up to $104,000 within some organizations. This is a great career path for people who are curious about food and health and want to learn more about how nutrients work. 

Research dietitians explore the calorie counts of food and how different food groups affect people. For example, your research might guide you to better understand lactose intolerance and how various dairy products affect people who are sensitive to them. 

You will need to be a registered dietitian to pursue this career, and most positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field. This could be another opportunity to step into one of the highest-paying dietitian jobs without needing to take on a leadership role.  

Take the First Steps to Elevate Your Career

Thousands of dietitians and nutrition coaches scrape by in low-paying jobs. If this sounds familiar, know that you aren’t alone! You deserve to earn a healthy salary when you’re helping others lead a healthy lifestyle, not to speak of working in an environment that’s challenging and fulfilling. Our team can help you take the next steps to make that happen!  

With Dietitian Boss, you can become the master of your own business and take control of your career. Use the highest-paying dietitian jobs on this list to inspire you. The work you put in today can set you up for success tomorrow. Start building your future and become a Dietitian Boss! 

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. 


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