The job description of a nutritionist usually includes providing diet counseling to clients of various medical conditions, including patients who have undergone surgery, are pregnant or lactating, have had breast enlargement surgery, had gastric surgery and have had surgery to remove part of their stomach. They also may be asked to provide nutrition information to clients of children, adolescents, elderly people and those who have diabetes. Nutritionists also help their clients manage their diet, nutrition plans and physical activity.
Those who are looking for a Nutritionist should take the University Exam for Nutrition to obtain their license. It is a three-credit course. The courses will include knowledge about nutrition from general biology to nutrition by body weight, and knowledge of nutrition from nutrition by blood glucose and nutrition by food groups. In addition, the course will include nutrition in the workplace and other areas of health care including family medicine.
Students in this program should enroll in a university that offers a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition at an accredited university. If they are already in the university but are not registered in a nutrition class, they should call the department of Health Promotion and Disease Control and ask if they offer any training programs.
Upon enrollment, students should take the university exam for nutrition and then apply to a nutrition school. Many schools accept only those who have taken the exam for nutrition. This will ensure that the student has all the necessary training to do the job successfully.
The curriculum for the program will be determined by the institution. Some will use what is taught in the bachelor’s degree and others will have their students study other topics in conjunction with the basic science of nutrition. A nutrition program will include the introduction to nutrition, the study of nutrition, research methods and research methodology, nutritional management and clinical practice. A nutrition education student will learn nutrition principles in relation to research and practice.
Most of the time students will also take a course in community living or career planning during their university studies. After graduation, the student will likely go to a clinic or school that offers specialized nutrition to help develop a plan for their own personal nutrition. The students will then get certified and teach the subject in a hospital or health center. They may be involved in teaching nutrition classes, community outreach programs, volunteer in the area of nutrition and even conduct consulting for businesses.
Those who wish to become a nutritionist should first find out if they qualify for a certification program. There are requirements and a minimum score. If the student passes their state exam for nutrition, he or she will earn a university certification and have to take an examination again before the State Board of Health takes over their license.
Once a student has graduated from a school with a nutrition program, they will need to become licensed by the state of Texas to work in the medical field. There are two ways to become licensed as a nutritionist. One is through continuing education, which can be taken through the state board and paid for by the state to get refresher courses, or the other is through being certified by a national body, such as the National Association of Medical Technicians, or NAMT.
Students will also need to do a number of internship hours to get their license and gain experience working in the field. Internships are available in clinics and hospitals that specialize in nutritional medicine. These internships may even include working part time or as a nutritionist at the clinic or hospital or working as a research assistant to the doctor of their choice. For a nutritionist to be licensed, they must complete one year of internship.
Another job option that is available for people who want to become a nutritionist is becoming a consultant to companies in the medical field that offer programs for individuals with special diets. The consultant works with health professionals, health organizations, families, schools and community groups and other institutions.