While many people refer to dietitians and nutritionists as being the same thing, the differences between these two professions can be found in each of these career’s requirements. A nutritionist, in particular, is an individual who has studied nutrition and usually holds a degree from an accredited institution. In this guide, we cover how to become a nutritionist in Arizona.
Degree and Certification Requirements in Arizona
In Arizona, there are in fact no regulatory requirements requiring you to have a certification or licensure. For this reason, individuals hoping to pursue a career in this domain should start by earning the right degree and gaining experience.
Arizona does not place many requirements on individuals wanting to become a nutritionist. As such, nutritionists in the state may pursue an education level matching the service level they wish to offer to clients, but also to meet the minimum employer expectations. With that being said, nutritionists in Arizona have a wide range of education levels from undergraduate certificates to even a doctorate. The way nutrients are processed in the body is usually covered in coursework. On top of this, such coursework often covers the influence various nutrients have on health.
Arizona Nutritionist Job Opportunities and Job Description
Nearly every aspect of life is affected by food. Therefore, there is a large variety of job opportunities for nutritionists in the state. For example, many of these professionals are working in hospitals, public health organizations, schools, private practice and health and fitness facilities across the state.
Within the public sector, many nutritionists work for organizations such as the Arizona Public Health Department, an organization that employs many nutritionists full-time. Another path many nutritionists take in the state is working as a Nutrition Program Specialist for the Arizona Department of Education.
There are many possible ways to work within Arizona’s healthcare industry. Some nutritionists choose to join the dietetic tech staff at Banner Health facilities, while others fill diet tech jobs with Santé. Santé is a large post-acute healthcare and senior housing provider with many facilities across the state of Arizona.
Many clients in health clubs and fitness facilities rely on nutritionists to help them improve their overall health by making healthier food choices and doing regular exercise. As a matter of fact, nutritions are regularly being hired by Lifetime Fitness Clubs of Arizona where they will work directly with clients to provide consultations.
Another growing area of expertise in the nutrition sector lately is working with athletes via structured athletic programs. These include both professional and college sports teams.
The following healthcare providers employ nutritionists to serve the needs of their patients in Arizona:
- Catholic Healthcare West (Gilbert)
- Banner Health (Scottsdale, Mesa, Phoenix, Sun City, Page, Glendale)
- UA Healthcare (Tucson)
- Scottsdale Healthcare (Scottsdale)
Advanced physicians, osteopaths and practice nurses often complete additional courses of study in nutrition in order to advise patients on ways to eat healthier.
Nutritionist Job Growth in Arizona
The number of jobs for nutritionists and other healthcare practitioners is expected to grow by 6.6% in the next few years, according to an Arizona Office of Employment and Population Statistics report. This number significantly exceeds the 4.1% average increase for other jobs in the state.
How Much Do Nutritionists Make in Arizona?
In Arizona, nutritionists earn a mean salary of $48,120, according to the information provided by a US Bureau of Labor Statistics Report in May 2013. While nutritionists near the top of the salary scale earn $71,830, the median nutritionist salary in Arizona is $49,440.
With more attention being given to preventative healthcare in recent years, the number of jobs in this industry are also increasing. With the population aging, more and more Arizona residents will require professional consultation in order to help them better understand the best food choices they can make in order to improve their health and longevity.
Professional Associations for Nutritionists in Arizona
Arizona nutritionists are presented many networking opportunities with other industry professionals within organizations pushing for health and proper diet and nutrition. One of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ affiliates, the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is an organization in Arizona wanting to improve overall health in society by further developing the profession of dietetics by performing research, education and advocacy.
Together, school food service employees and supporters form the School Nutrition Association of Arizona. The association works hard to promote high quality child nutrition programs throughout public schools in Arizona.
A relatively new organization, the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA) supports individuals actively working in structured athletic programs with athletes. For example, Collegiate or professional sports teams, as well as in the US Army. CPSDA staff members often work with large universities to ensure healthy diets for their collegiate athletes.
Careers as a Health Coach in Arizona
During the summer, many people forget to continue healthy eating habits. During this season, many students lose the habit of eating healthy meals since their meals are no longer provided by the school system. During the summer in particular, cheap and easy food becomes what many low-income families develop a habit of eating.
There is a program for individuals under the age of 18 called Summer Lunch Buddies. This program is based out of Arizona and is federally funded and created to support the Summer Food Service Program. They have a mutual goal of offering free nutritious meals to teens and children in low-income families.
With several hundred Summer Buddies locations across the state, it is encouraged for students to find the closest one to them and take advantage of the opportunity to receive free nutritious meals throughout the summer (breakfast and lunch). The program is not only offered to children, but also to their parents who will need to pay only $1 or $2 to join their child for a meal as well.
The Arizona Nutrition Network is a large network that provides complete health solutions to families such as activities, programs, videos and recipes all encouraging healthy lifestyles. Summer Lunch Buddies is part of this network and helps it encourage people to get involved in improving health in the state of Arizona. You can find cool recipes including Peanut Butter Crunch Balls, Avocado Breakfast Bruschetta, and Warm Apple and Kale Salad all on the Arizona Nutrition Network website.
While visiting the website, you should also check out the various videos and commercials that offer exciting innovative examples of health remedies recommended by the site. The Arizona Nutrition Network has something to offer for everyone and is an inviting community for individuals and families looking for ways to improve health.
Relevant Degrees and Professional Certifications to Become a Health Coach
Many of the certification and academic programs surrounding this career option are still being developed as the Health Coaching field is still a new field. Due to the fact that there is no such thing as a health coaching degree, you are given a significant amount of liberty when it comes to choosing your internships, certification and of course, your degree. Below, you will find a list of suitable degrees and a standard certification for employment.
Associate’s degrees in the following areas are suitable for certain entry-level health coaching positions:
- Applied Science in Health and Wellness
- Healthcare Management
- Business Administration
The following areas offer bachelor’s degrees that meet the most common employer expectations. A bachelor’s degree in one of the following area is also, in most cases, the minimum education level required for the majority of health coach career opportunities:
- Healthcare Management
- Social Work
- Health Promotion
The following areas offer master’s degrees that would exceed the average qualification minimum requirements of most employers:
- Health Management
As a health coach, having a certification is a must. Having a certification contributes to your training and hands-on experience. Professional certifications serve as a field-specific credential denoting expertise and experience that supports the academic training needed to earn a degree. Despite different employers looking for different certifications, certification is often mandatory since such credentials show authority in the health coaching field.
The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits the American Council on Exercise (ACE) certification. ACE offers two different self-study bundles that will help candidates prepare themself for the examination that must be passed to receive the Health Coach Certification. You may choose the “Standard” self-study bundle, or the “Premium”. Certifications accredited by ACE expire after two years, which is also the period of time before you must renew said certification. In order to renew the certification, you must complete continuing education which must then be verified by ACE. You can find in-depth information regarding the certification examination and more details in maintaining your certification by consulting the ACE Certification Candidate Handbook.
Job Opportunities for Health Coaches
At this time, there is no shortage of opportunities in the health coaching field as the state of Arizona prioritizes health improvement.
With all of that being said, this is how to become a nutritionist in Arizona!