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Nutritionist Salary Guide

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Median Annual 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 a median salary of $61,650 per year in 2021, with the highest 10% in the field earning over $93,640.

Take a look at salaries by state.

Dietitians and Nutritionists

National data

Median Salary: $61,650

Projected job growth: 10.7%

10th Percentile: $42,530

25th Percentile: $49,490

75th Percentile: $77,430

90th Percentile: $93,640

Projected job growth: 10.7%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $75,730 $47,410 $97,680
Alabama $59,280 $42,280 $76,430
Arkansas $57,800 $42,920 $77,210
Arizona $60,530 $43,500 $79,340
California $79,340 $47,590 $116,690
Colorado $61,350 $47,150 $91,110
Connecticut $62,170 $47,150 $94,870
District of Columbia $77,810 $47,150 $101,220
Delaware $69,550 $46,980 $87,750
Florida $60,290 $42,290 $79,100
Georgia $48,000 $22,830 $78,380
Hawaii $76,920 $58,000 $97,310
Iowa $60,570 $47,020 $76,920
Idaho $59,540 $35,880 $79,460
Illinois $62,920 $47,150 $79,500
Indiana $59,720 $46,450 $78,230
Kansas $60,450 $47,040 $89,410
Kentucky $59,720 $37,150 $77,740
Louisiana $60,130 $46,980 $77,960
Massachusetts $62,410 $47,210 $99,770
Maryland $69,210 $50,340 $98,820
Maine $60,850 $47,040 $99,770
Michigan $60,180 $45,070 $77,600
Minnesota $62,060 $48,450 $78,690
Missouri $48,980 $43,370 $77,060
Mississippi $46,730 $18,070 $71,120
Montana $60,110 $37,620 $77,210
North Carolina $60,040 $37,310 $78,230
North Dakota $60,490 $47,020 $77,670
Nebraska $60,570 $47,100 $78,220
New Hampshire $63,650 $46,710 $89,150
New Jersey $76,270 $59,280 $94,880
New Mexico $61,090 $45,200 $80,200
Nevada $61,310 $36,900 $78,940
New York $75,000 $48,000 $98,540
Ohio $60,850 $47,230 $78,760
Oklahoma $60,560 $30,180 $77,560
Oregon $74,660 $57,440 $99,220
Pennsylvania $61,650 $45,800 $79,730
Rhode Island $74,970 $38,160 $100,650
South Carolina $59,280 $27,050 $77,560
South Dakota $59,320 $47,020 $97,720
Tennessee $58,550 $23,450 $78,940
Texas $61,350 $37,880 $85,820
Utah $49,860 $29,530 $78,610
Virginia $60,590 $37,560 $85,630
Vermont $61,940 $47,740 $100,660
Washington $70,260 $47,380 $89,710
Wisconsin $60,400 $46,090 $78,940
West Virginia $61,940 $42,090 $87,820
Wyoming $61,220 $33,280 $127,470

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 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.

In this Article

Where your salary falls 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 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. 

Metro Area Median Annual Salary
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $97,640
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $96,900
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $95,750
Santa Rosa, CA $83,720
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA $82,940
Napa, CA $82,090
Salinas, CA $80,460
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA $80,230
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $79,020
Modesto, CA $78,990

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.

Career Median Annual Salary
Dietitians and Nutritionists $61,650
Occupational Health and Safety Specialists $77,560
Health Education Specialists $60,600
Registered Nurses $77,600

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

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