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How Much Do Nutritionists Make? 

Your salary as a nutritionist depends on your education, certification, experience, employer, and more.

nutritionist meeting in office with older patient
Home » Nutritionist » Salary

Nutritionists provide valuable knowledge and skills in a wide variety of job settings. Those skills are increasingly in demand, and salaries are rising along with that demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that nutritionists earned $63,090 per year in 2020. That’s a 7% increase since 2016, when the median annual salary was $58,920.  

Dietitians and Nutritionists

National data

Median Salary: $63,090

Bottom 10%: $39,840

Top 10%: $90,000

Projected job growth: 10.7%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alabama $56,280 $40,830 $78,070
Alaska $72,900 $50,080 $108,540
Arizona $60,540 $38,060 $83,650
Arkansas $58,940 $42,700 $81,190
California $82,200 $51,710 $108,050
Colorado $60,180 $41,710 $84,890
Connecticut $69,240 $46,980 $92,880
Delaware $63,670 $44,290 $81,510
District of Columbia $72,020 $49,290 $102,590
Florida $60,710 $40,510 $83,130
Georgia $51,530 $22,420 $79,640
Hawaii $73,640 $52,260 $93,720
Idaho $46,540 $31,970 $76,920
Illinois $62,760 $42,940 $82,650
Indiana $57,500 $41,100 $79,010
Iowa $56,050 $31,330 $77,910
Kansas $59,950 $43,560 $81,590
Kentucky $58,940 $30,610 $79,200
Louisiana $58,090 $38,600 $83,210
Maine $61,590 $44,240 $92,630
Maryland $68,880 $47,890 $96,080
Massachusetts $66,530 $47,580 $104,170
Michigan $57,560 $33,250 $77,890
Minnesota $63,330 $48,110 $81,560
Mississippi $50,630 $31,380 $71,620
Missouri $59,250 $41,230 $81,640
Montana $56,060 $39,410 $78,950
Nebraska $56,380 $30,570 $78,950
Nevada $66,510 $38,580 $82,580
New Hampshire $64,500 $42,770 $83,000
New Jersey $71,810 $54,580 $95,930
New Mexico $59,840 $43,760 $84,060
New York $70,140 $49,030 $93,940
North Carolina $58,750 $41,630 $80,220
North Dakota $58,800 $42,560 $80,870
Ohio $60,310 $44,230 $82,830
Oklahoma $61,280 $39,510 $83,210
Oregon $72,000 $51,320 $98,190
Pennsylvania $60,670 $37,960 $82,330
Rhode Island $61,490 $24,280 $96,820
South Carolina $54,450 $26,350 $79,230
South Dakota $55,250 $42,190 $74,690
Tennessee $56,760 $36,700 $81,190
Texas $59,880 $34,360 $81,630
Utah $56,790 $30,740 $82,810
Vermont $61,900 $47,830 $81,850
Virginia $63,120 $36,330 $87,220
Washington $65,270 $40,360 $92,090
West Virginia $61,850 $33,600 $86,010
Wisconsin $59,170 $38,850 $80,130
Wyoming $64,030 $33,580 $118,890

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2020 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

The BLS also reports a wide range of salary potential for nutritionists. The lowest 10% of nutritionists earn a median salary of $39,840 while the top 10% earn $90,000.

Where you fall in that range will depend on your education, experience, workplace, specialty, and more.

“A person just starting may not expect to earn more than $60,000 per year,” says Divya L. Selvakumar PhD, RD, manager of the nutrition program at the Baltimore County Department of Aging. “However, the more experience, as well as the more the education, the higher the salary.”

The wide range of salaries can also be attributed to the fact that many nutritionists run their own practices. As self-employed business owners, they are able to charge whatever they choose for their services.

Highest-Paying Cities for Nutritionists

The city in which you live can make a big difference in the salary you earn. Most of the highest paying cities for nutritionists are in California. However, nutritionists also enjoy high salaries in Naples, Florida. If major cities aren’t for you, you can consider Alaska, where the median salary for nutritionists was $88,100 in 2020, or coastal Oregon, where it was $72,360. 

City or Metro Area2020 Median Salary
Santa Rosa, California$95,140
San Francisco, California$95,060
Vallejo-Fairfield, California$93,640
Salinas, California$90,500
San Jose, California$89,080
Sacramento, California$83,220
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California$82,610
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California$82,350
Naples, Florida$82,270
Modesto, California$82,020

Factors that Impact Salary

Your salary as a nutritionist will be influenced by how you build your career. Your education, specialty, certifications you hold, and experience can all have a big impact on your take-home pay. By advancing your education or becoming certified, you could boost your salary. A combination of these factors could help you earn even more.

“High-level nutritionist salaries can be well over $100,000 per year, depending on the position, educational qualifications, and work experience,” says Selvakumar.

Geography

Your state and city can impact your paycheck. For example, in several Southeastern states, nutritionists earn a median salary of less than $55,000. By contrast, nutritionists on the West Coast earn over $64,000. Your city can have just as much of an impact as your state. Although most of the highest-paying cities are in California, the overall highest-paying state, this pattern doesn’t always hold true.

In Beckley, West Virginia, nutritionists earn an annual salary of $71,390, but the median salary for the state is $60,630. That’s a pretty substantial difference. You can see a similar difference in North Carolina, where the median salary is $59,490, but nutritionists in Durham, North Carolina, earn $66,020.

Degree Level

Education makes a big difference in your career. Earning a master’s degree or even a doctoral degree can allow you to apply for advanced and leadership positions. Advanced positions will require a high level of skill, dedication, and knowledge. In return, they generally offer higher salaries to the nutritionists who fill these demanding roles.

Experience

As you gain experience working in different workplaces with different clients, you’ll expand your skills and your knowledge. This can allow you to apply for higher-paying roles. Nutritionists with several years of experience can also consider going into private practice. In private practice, you can build your client base and your business. You’ll be able to set your own hours and your own rates.

Certification

Certifications are a great way to boost your career and your earning potential. Keep in mind that some states require specific licensure or certification for nutritionists. You’ll need to meet the requirements in your state before you can consider any additional certifications.

You can then earn certifications that match your career goals. For instance, you might consider earning a Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) certification if you want to work in hospitals or skilled care facilities. If you want to practice holistically focused nutrition, you can earn the Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (BCHN) certification. These certifications can help you find work in specialized roles and might make a positive impact on your salary.

Workplace

Where you work affects how much you earn. For instance, the BLS reports that nutritionists employed by the federal government earned an annual salary of $77,580 in 2020. Nutritionists employed in outpatient care centers and home health care also earned more than $70,000 a year. Conversely, nutritionists who worked in the offices of physicians and other healthcare providers earned a median salary of $62,170.

Specialty

Your specialty can influence the direction your career takes. It might influence decisions like the certifications you earn or the places you work. It might be a large factor in opening your own practice or in pursuing leadership at a large facility. All these factors together will influence the salary you earn over the course of your career.

What’s the Demand for Nutritionists?

The importance of a well-balanced diet to support overall health and wellness is becoming more evident, and nutritionists are in high demand. Now is a great time to earn your education and get started in this growing field.

“Previously, the job as a nutritionist or dietitian paid quite low and was not very respected,” says Selvakumar, “but in the last 25 years, society has recognized the major contributions of nutritionists as counselors, clinicians, and educators.”

States with Highest Level of Employment

California7,780
Texas4,680
New York4,450
Pennsylvania3,600
Florida3,430

States with Lowest Level of Employment

Wyoming90
Alaska130
Delaware160
Vermont170
Montana180

How Do Nutritionist Salaries Compare?

Nutritionists earn salaries similar to many other allied health professionals. Keep in mind that these salaries are averages. Your actual salary will depend on your education, experience, location, and more.

CareerMedian Salary
Nutritionist$63,090
Disease Prevention Specialist$74,560
Dietitian$63,090
Health Educator$48,140

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020

stephanie behring

Written and reported by:
Stephanie Behring
Contributing Writer

divya selvakumar

With professional insight from:
Divya L. Selvakumar, PhD, RD
Nutrition Program Manager, Baltimore County Department of Aging