The average mean salary for dietitians and food nutritionists was $54,340 as of May 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With 53,150 professionals employed as of that date, salaries ranged from approximately $33,330 annually for nutritionists in the 10th profile to $75,480 per year for those in the 90th percentile. The middle 50 percent earned from $42,790 to about $64,830 annually, with the median annual salary set at $53,250.
Food nutritionists organize and oversee nutritional programs to aid in the advancement of health while controlling disease. Sometimes known as dietitians, food service supervisors or dietary managers, these professionals may teach individuals, conduct research and consult with physician, food service operators and public policy makers to promote good nutritional practices. The salary for a food nutritionist depends on her industry, experience and job location.
Approximately one-third of nutritionists are employed by general medical and surgical hospitals, earning an average salary of $54,290 per year, just $50 below the national average. The second-largest employing industry was nursing care facilities, offering an average pay of $54,240 per year. Outpatient care centers were the third-largest employer, paying above the national mean at $56,180 per year. Top industry pay, with fewer than 100 positions available was the management, scientific and technical consulting industry, where nutritionists earned annual salaries approximating the 90th percentile wages, at $75,450. Nutritionists working for the federal government averaged $69,610 per year, and those working for health and personal car stores earned $65,560 per year, on average.
Maryland was the state offering top earnings for nutritionists, according to the BLS. At $77,010 per year, Maryland nutritionists earned salaries in the 90th percentile; Maryland placed well ahead of Hawaii, the second-highest state for salaries. Nutritionists earned $66,010 per year in Hawaii, followed by those in California, who earned $65,020 per year. Nevada at $64,000 per year and Rhode Island, at $62,840 per year, rounded out the top five states in terms of salaries paid to nutritionists. Among metropolitan areas, Bethesda-Frederick-Gaithersburg, Maryland, was the top place in the nation for wages, with nutritionists averaging $93,170 per year. The San Jose and Redding, California, metropolitan areas followed, with professionals working there averaging $77,850 and $72,260 per year, respectively.
The BLS forecasts that the number of dietitians and food nutritionists will increase by 9 percent from 2008 to 2018, which coincides with the rate for all workers. Professionals who retire or leave the field for other pursuits is expected to fuel demand in this occupation. The BLS notes that opportunities for professionals who have training beyond minimum state requirements will be good, especially for those who work in geriatric nutrition, reflecting America’s growing aging population.
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