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Jobs Outlook: Dietitians and Nutritionists




Employment of dietitians is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012 as a result of increasing emphasis on disease prevention through improved dietary habits. A growing and aging population will boost the demand for meals and nutritional counseling in hospitals, nursing care facilities, schools, prisons, community health programs, and home healthcare agencies. Public interest in nutrition and increased emphasis on health education and prudent lifestyles will also spur demand, especially in management. In addition to employment growth, job openings will result from the need to replace experienced workers who leave the occupation.

On the one hand, the number of dietitian positions in nursing care facilities and in State government is expected to decline slightly, as these establishments continue to contract out food service operations. On the other hand, employment is expected to grow rapidly in contract providers of food services, outpatient care centers, and offices of physicians and other health practitioners.

Employment growth for dietitians and nutritionists may be constrained if some employers substitute other workers, such as health educators, food service managers, and dietetic technicians. Growth also may be curbed by limitations on insurance reimbursement for dietetic services.