Dietitians and nutritionists are experts in proper nutrition for good health. They usually have a bachelor's degree, and many states require that they be licensed. Dietitians and nutritionists work in a variety of settings. Some plan proper meals for large organizations and institutions, such as schools and prisons. Those who work in a medical or clinical setting and see patients are sometimes referred to as nutrition therapists.
Average National Pay Range
As of 2012, all dietitians earned an average wage of $27 an hour and an average annual salary of $56,170. Half of dietitians and nutritionists employed in the United States reported annual salaries of between $44,190 and $67,540, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest-paid 10 percent made $34,500 or less per year, and the highest-paid 10 percent made $77,590 or more each year.
Pay by Location
Dietitians and nutritionists working in the West and Northeast earned the highest average wages in 2012. The highest average salary was reported by dietitians working in Maryland, who averaged $82,650 per year. Nevada ranked second with an average dietitian salary of $71,840 a year. California ranked third at $68,700, followed by Hawaii at $65,050 and Alaska at $63,560 a year. Utah reported the lowest average salary for dietitians and nutritionists, at $46,850 a year.
Pay by Employment Setting
About a third of dietitians worked in general hospitals as of 2012, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates. They reported an average annual salary of $55,970. Those employed by psychiatric and substance-abuse hospitals averaged $56,680 per year, while those working for other types of specialty hospitals averaged $59,960 a year. Dietitians who see patients at outpatient-care centers earned an average of $58,450 a year.
Employment prospects for dietitians and nutrition therapists are projected to be good from 2010 to 2020. More professionals will be needed to see patients suffering from conditions related to diet and nutrition, such as diabetes. Between 2010 and 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs in the United States to increase by 14 percent. By comparison, jobs for dietitians will increase by about 20 percent, resulting in an estimated 12,700 new jobs during that time period.