Californians interested in improving their diets and overall health, as well as making better choices with their eating and consumption of vitamins may visit their state’s nutritionists, professionals who complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree – though usually a graduate degree as well – in the nutrition field. Ten percent of the country’s contingent of nutritionists work in California, and the majority earn salaries that are significantly higher than the rest of the country’s rates for the profession.
The country was home to approximately 53,510 nutritionists as of May 2010, according to the Occupational Employment and Wages report conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During that time period, the annual national 10th percentile wage for the profession was $33,330. The midrange 50th percentile wage was $53,250 and the 90th percentile rate was $75,480. For California’s 5,390 nutritionists, salary figures were much more favorable. The statewide 10th percentile wage was $45,010, with a 50th percentile rate of $66,030. Californian nutritionists earning at the 90th percentile took in $85,610 annually.
Highest Paying Areas
Nutritionists in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara areas of California earned the state’s highest 50th percentile wages, at $78,380 annually, which was higher than the country’s 90th percentile rate for the profession. Redding nutritionists had the second-highest 50th percentile wages, at $69,490, with those in the Sacramento-Arden Arcade-Roseville areas in third place, earning $68,000 annually. Nutritionists in Redding also had the state’s highest 90th percentile wages, at $98,680 per year. Employers made the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara the second highest-paying 90th percentile area, at $94,920, with the Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta areas in third place, with 90th percentile wages at $94,630.
Although all of California’s cities had 50th percentile salaries that were above the national rates, not every part of the state paid significantly higher than the rest of the country. Bakersfield had California’s lowest 50th percentile rate, just above the national average at $54,870. Chico, in second place for the lowest 50th percentile rate, had nutritionist salaries at $59,190. While this was significantly higher than the country’s wage at the 50th percentile level, it was below-average for the state. Bakersfield also came in at the lowest point for nutritionist salaries at the 10th percentile, with wages at $33,520. In second place for the lowest 10th percentile wages in the state was Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, where nutritionists earned $36,750 annually. The Visalia-Porterville areas had the third-lowest 10th percentile wages, at $36,880.
California is one of just four states in the country that does not require licensing or governance for the nutritionist profession. The California Department of Consumer Affairs, which regulates professions such as acupuncture and cosmetology, does not include nutritionists in its parlay. This doesn’t mean Californian nutritionists cannot pursue licensing or optional certifications from organizations such as the California Dietetic Association, just that they are not required. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which provides information on nutritionists, doesn’t account for licensing or certification in its salary figures. A nutritionist who pursues certification may be able to use the achievement as part of the salary negotiation process, securing a higher salary from becoming certified.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Dietitians and Nutritionists
- StateUniversity.com: Dietitian and Nutritionist Job Description
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010; Dietitians and Nutritionists
- California Department of Consumer Affairs: Find Web Sites by Profession