Dietetics career information

Dietetics is a health-related career that emphasizes food and nutrition. Registered Dietitians have met national educational requirements and are nutrition experts who have as their goal the optimal health and nutrition of individuals and the population. Dietitians have an aptitude for science, concern for people, and the ability to plan and direct programs.

Career opportunities

Dietitians have career opportunities everywhere, from small communities to large cities - in hospitals, wellness centers, health agencies, pharmaceutical companies, food companies, schools, the armed forces, long-term care facilities, and public health programs. There is a growing market for dietitians who want to operate their own businesses, and the demand for dietetics professionals continues to be strong.

Exploring a career in dietetics - VIDEO

Typical position titles in the following practice areas include:

Clinical nutrition

  • Clinical dietitian, acute care/inpatient
  • Clinical dietitian, long term care
  • Clinical dietitian, specialist (cardiac, diabetes care, eating disorders, oncology, renal, or other area)
  • Nutrition support dietitian
  • Outpatient dietitian, general
  • Outpatient dietitian, specialist (cardiac rehab, diabetes, pediatrics, weight management, or other area)
  • Pediatric/neonatal dietitian

Education and research

  • Administrator, higher education
  • Assistant professor
  • Associate professor
  • Didactic program director
  • Dietetic internship director
  • Instructor/lecturer
  • Professor
  • Research dietitian


  • Cooperative extension educator/specialist
  • Corrections dietitian
  • Nutrition coordinator for health start program
  • Nutritionist for food bank or assistance program
  • Public health nutritionist
  • School/child care nutritionist
  • WIC nutritionist

Food and nutrition management

  • Assistant food service manager
  • Clinical nutrition manager
  • Director of food and nutrition services
  • Executive-level professional
  • School food service director

Consultation and business

  • Consultant - food/nutrition communications
  • Consultant - community and/or corporate programs
  • Corporate dietitian
  • Director of nutrition
  • Manager of nutrition communications
  • Private practice dietitian - patient/client nutrition care
  • Public relations and/or marketing professional
  • Research and development nutritionist
  • Sales Representative - food/medical/nutritional

Salary information

Median annual earnings of dietitians and nutritionists were $55,240 in May 2012. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,500, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $77,590.

Salary information taken from US Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, in 2013, the median annual wage for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) was $60,000.

Career services

Students and alumni of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University are eligible to use the career services in both the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Human Sciences.