Nutritionists and personal trainers focus on different aspects of helping clients achieve optimum health. Personal trainers work with clients on assessing and improving their levels of physical fitness, while nutritionists help clients design and implement a healthy diet, in some cases to prevent or treat illnesses. Wages for both vary depending on the type of facility in which they work.
The average salary of a nutritionist in the United States was $53,230 as of May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those in the bottom ten percent earned less than $33,230 a year, while those in the top ten percent earned over $74,690. Personal trainers earned an average of $35,340 a year, with those in the 10th percentile earning less than $16,430 and those in the 90th percentile earning over $62,120.
According to the bureau, amusement and recreation industries was the largest employer of personal trainers, offering a salary average of $36,700. Trainers working for civic and social organizations earned an average of $30,540, and those in other schools and instruction earned an average of $29,610. The largest employer for nutritionists was general medical and surgical hospitals, which offered a salary average of $53,560. Nursing care facilities offered an average of $53,130 a year, and nutritionists working for the local government earned an average of $49,150.
Maryland offered the highest salary average for nutritionists as of 2009 at $64,600, according to the bureau. Nevada ranked second at $63,860, and California ranked third at $63,610. Personal trainers earned the highest wages in New York at an average salary of $48,830; the District of Columbia and Massachusetts followed with respective salary averages of $45,570 and $45,430.
Personal trainers and nutritionists in athletic and health clubs, government facilities, schools and medical facilities experience different opportunities for advancement, which may include becoming a manager, program director or administrator. They may also look for higher salaries in other industries. For example, nutritionists who go into consulting services earned an average salary of $75,100 as of 2009, while the bureau reports personal trainers working either for religious organizations or in educational support services earned the highest salary averages in their field at $53,140 and $54,840 respectively.