“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." This quote, from 17th-century French nobleman François de la Rochefoucauld, holds just as much currency today as society struggles with rising rates of diet-related disease and embraces a growing interest in nutrition and wellness. Were La Rochefoucauld still alive, he might have an interest in pursuing a Master of Science in Nutrition degree, which covers both the science of nutrition and the art of teaching people to apply this science to their lives. Curricula covers topics such as nutrition research and ethics, health promotion, healthy aging, nutrition counseling, and public health.
An MS in Nutrition can set you up for careers in business, government,healthcare and education. You might do nutrition education in a school system, consult in the pharmaceutical industry, engage in clinical research, assist nonprofit organizations with community outreach, practice nutrition counseling in hospitals, make policy in public health agencies, manage worksite wellness promotion programs, or work as a nutrition coach in a fitness facility. That’s only a small list of the many jobs you can pursue with an MS in Nutrition.
And that variety is only one of the many reasons to pursue this degree. Here are nine, to name a few.
1. Nutrition is a growing field. Nutritionists can expect their field to grow more than twice as fast as the average U.S. job market by 2026—up 15 percent instead of the average 7 percent. Related fields have similar growth rates; health educators’ prospects are growing by 16 percent, for example.
2. You'll choose your own (nutritious) adventure. You can apply an MS in Nutrition degree in many industries and areas, including business, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and private practice. You might work in a hospital advising on patient nutrition, run a sports nutrition program for athletes or teams, become a community health educator, or provide guidance to workplace wellness programs. Or maybe you'll create public health policy, run a weight loss center, build a career as a wellness and nutrition writer, or pursue a PhD degree in nutrition research.
3. Expect a solid salary. The average salary for dieticians and nutritionists is $59,410 per year, and median pay for health educators is $45,360. You can make more by completing certain certifications or pursuing specialized training, private practice, or leadership roles.
4. You'll be one step closer to becoming a credentialed dietitian-nutritionist. Coursework in MS in Nutrition programs may prepare students to obtain their Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN) credential from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Starting on January 1, 2024, a masters-level degree will be required for eligibility to take the RDN credentialing exam.
5. Cutting-edge research is included with your degree.
MS in Nutrition programs familiarize students with the latest research in the field of nutrition and health, which involves genetic influences on health and how diet affects the human microbiome. According to experts, personalized nutrition and healthcare strategies will be at the forefront of nutrition research by 2020. With an MS in nutrition, will be poised to pursue this exact kind of research, whether you pursue a PhD in the subject to enter academia or find other avenues to assist in this fascinating aspect of the field.
6. You can design a nutrition-related business career. Those with a graduate degree in nutrition can work in healthcare-related businesses, opening up a wide array of options for innovation and leadership. For example, Lili Mercer, a graduate of the MS in Human Nutrition program at Columbia University, works as an account executive at a healthcare technology company that makes remote patient monitoring software.
7. Or focus on teaching or communications An important element of a graduate degree in nutrition is learning how to educate and communicate with others about nutrition, diet, and health. You can begin a career in teaching as a community health educator, a high school teacher in health or home economics, or a nutrition education specialist. You can also design a career as a health journalist or go into marketing for health-related businesses.
8. You can let your foodie flag fly. Are you tired of feeling weird for wanting to learn more about the metabolic effects of carbohydrates or the pathophysiology of lipid metabolism and diabetes? Well, you’ll find your tribe in an MS in Nutrition program. You’ll be able to pursue your food-chemistry-related interests—and turn them into a career.
If you love thinking about food and health or have a scientific curiosity about physiology and wellness, an MS in Nutrition may be just what you’re looking for. This program will provide you with many career options that help others, advance understanding of nutrition science, or help businesses innovation around health and nutrition. Food for thought, huh?
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