In Connecticut, there is no need for a nutritionist to hold any type of certification or similar. However, this can be misleading. Not requiring a certificate does not signify that becoming a nutritionist in this state is an easy task. On the contrary, in most cases, nutritionists have earned at the very minimum, a bachelor’s degree in food science, nutrition or other fields of this type. Food management, nutrition educator, fitness and research are all jobs that nutritionists may work in. With that being said, critical thinking and reasoning, compassion for client’s feelings and struggles and excellent listening skills are a must for professionals in this domain. The job also requires someone able to assist other people in making better food and wellness-related decisions. In this guide, we will show you how to become a nutritionist in Connecticut.
Degrees and Education for Nutritionists in Connecticut
Offering the best advice and information to patients is an important task that a well-educated nutritionist will be faced with frequently. With that being said, biochemistry, human nutrition, nutrition counselling, nutrient assessment, public health nutrition and nutrition and disease are all topics that may be covered in courses related to this profession. For individuals who focus on a particular area may be able to earn higher levels of education and additional degrees. In an effort to gain as much knowledge as possible about their field of interest, many nutritionists continue their learning to earn a master’s degree or in some instances, even a PhD.
Certain individuals who start as nurses in the medical field may also become nutritionists later in their careers. Diabetes education, pediatric nutrition, heart-healthy eating and nutrition for cancer patients are all specialties in medical nutrition. Knowledge of the physiology of the human body is required in these fields. Not only that, but you must also understand the way physiology affects the body, and why nutrition is important in becoming healthy.
As previously mentioned, the state does not oblige nutritionists to have any form of licensure or certification. Employers, on the other hand, may have separate requirements that require these kinds of proofs of skill and knowledge. It is possible to obtain certification through organizations such as the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You can find plenty of information covering a variety of nutrition-based topics in the Connecticut chapter of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. On top of this, a forum for promoting wellness and health through nutrition education is provided by the American Nutrition Association.
Salary and Job Prospect Outlook
Every year, there are on average 40 nutritionist job openings in Connecticut alone, according to the State of Connecticut Department of Labor Occupation Outlook. Through 2020, a growth rate of 14% is forecasted by the Connecticut Department of Labor. In New London/Norwich, the average nutritionist salary is $57,363, though the average for a nutritionist in Danbury is significantly higher with an average salary of $70,104. Across the entire state, the average nutritionist salary sits at $63,890. Education, experience, geographical location and position type are all factors in determining nutritionist salaries. While schools, hospitals and government offices are all common workplaces for nutritionists, some of these professionals are self-employed.
The ability to assist others and help them make healthier lifestyle choices makes nutritionist careers in Connecticut very fulfilling.
What do Nutritionists Do?
There are numerous duties that nutritionists may do on a regular basis including offering advice about food and meal choices to their clients, assessing nutritional needs for a client, educating individuals such as families and groups about health, developing the best possible health plan for clients through working alongside other health professionals or doing this on their own.
Nutritionists often work in a number of different healthcare settings such as with an acupuncturist, chiropractor, or massage therapist; retail health food or vitamin supplement stores, nursing homes, public schools, fitness centers, or in private practice.
Providing clients with important information regarding their food and nutrition choices and how they can take care of themselves and their families is the overall goal of all nutritionists.
The following positions are a few examples of nutritionist positions in the state of Connecticut:
- Nutritionist for the Connecticut Institute for Communities in Danbury
- Nutrition Coordinator for the Community Development Institute in Waterbury
- WIC Program Nutritionist in Norwich
- Nutritional Counseling at St. Francis Care Fitness Center in Hartford
- Food Services Managers for a variety of Connecticut Public School Districts
Careers as a Health Coach in Connecticut
Healthcare is an important and rapidly evolving industry in Connecticut, with the state government actively striving to improve the culture of health in the area. In fact, the Council of State Governments Knowledge Center called the area one of the top ten states for its work in implementing wellness programs with existing health insurance plans; this has been furthered by the state’s reward and penalty system that works to encourage employees to partake in the state’s Health Enhancement Program. If this is something that interests you, Connecticut could be the perfect place for you to develop your health coach career.
There are a few reasons as to why Connecticut feels so strongly about this, including:
- In Connecticut, 6 out of 10 deaths are the result of chronic disease.
- 57% of Connecticut residents suffer from chronic diseases.
- Obesity is directly tied to chronic disease, which explains how this is the leading death cause in the state.
- 1 in 4 Connecticut adults is obese, with an additional 1 in 3 overweight.
The CDPH also announced that:
- Only 34.4% of Connecticut residents met both aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening guidelines for a healthy life.
- 22.2% of adults eat less than one serving of vegetables a day.
- 33.7% of adults eat less than one serving of fruit a day.
- 2 out of 3 adults get less than 8 hours of sleep.
Of course, this sort of work and ambitions make Connecticut a potentially ideal place for health coaches to work. This is thanks to health coaches’ roles in ensuring that people are actively avoiding dangerous health risk factors and instead living their lives in a way that ensures vitality and longevity. State and private organizations alike have been increasingly implementing health coach services into their goals, both to improve the health of the community and save on medical costs. The highest profile business to make this change recently was pharmaceutical giant, Boehringer Ingelheim, who provide their employees with access to a health coach; they also began a health coaching program at the Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation.
What You Need to be a Health Coach in Connecticut
To start with, it’s important to note here that health coaching is a relatively new and unexplored field of work, and since there is no official representative body or licensing body, health coaching services can be quite widely varied in their definition. As such, there’s no particular degree requirements for health coaches in Connecticut; instead, you really need to consider your current experience and knowledge levels to decide if you’d be able to offer great health coaching services.
Some of the areas of specialty that health coaches have include:
- Health Education and Promotion for Healthy Lifestyles
- Nutrition & Health
- Illness and Disease
- Health and Wellness Promotion
- Alternative Healing Modalities
- Mind/Body Interventions for Health
- Human Growth & Development
- Traditional Healing Methods
- Principles of Fitness
- Food Hygiene
- Spirituality in Health Care
- Foods, Herbs, Supplements and Other Products
- Sports Nutrition
- Nutrition Therapy
- Psychology of Women’s Health
It is a good idea to have degrees in order to become a health coach, even if there are no specific requirements. Degrees and graduate level majors that are popular for health coaches include:
- Exercise Science and Wellness
- Health Psychology
- Public Health and Health Promotion
- Health Science
- Masters in Health Promotion
- Health and Exercise Science
- Human Nutrition
- Naturopathic Medicine
- Fitness Specialist
- Nutrition & Dietetics
- Personal Trainer Certification
- Doctor of Health Sciences
- Health Promotion – Holistic Health Studies
Certification Outside of Degrees
If you want to become a health coach, taking a degree can be a good option – however, it’s not the only option. Indeed, there are many health coach certification programs that could serve the same role and help you develop your health coach career. Health coaching programs can range between 6 weeks and 2 years and are a great way of bolstering your skills alongside a degree; in fact, a certified health coach can make as much as 40% more than non certified health coaches.
The National Commission for Certifying Agencies is one of America’s most highly respected accreditation agencies, and it offers three accreditation options:
- Health Coach for Fitness Professionals
- Health Coach for Workplace Wellness
- Health Coach for Health Care Providers
If you don’t think that these options are right for you, there area few other ways to get into health coaching in Connecticut including:
- Personal experience used to help others
- Self study
- Audited or other non-degree classes
Job Opportunities in Connecticut
Many bodies in Connecticut are beginning to see the benefits of preventative measures for ensuring good health, with a dollar of investment returning savings of between $3 and $6, as estimated by the Harvard Business Review. Indeed, a healthy workforce is beneficial for everyone, both individuals and businesses alike, and so health coach services are in increasingly high demand.
Job opportunities for health coaches in Connecticut are primarily offered by large businesses who are actively promoting good health for their workers, and workers in these settings will usually be part of a dedicated employee healthcare team. Some small businesses are also beginning to see the benefits and hiring freelance or part-time health coaches, offering opportunities for coaches for multiple part-time roles. Whatever the case might be, though, health coaches are typically on duty during normal working hours.
Some of the companies who hire health coaches at present include:
- Point 72 Asset Management, L.P.
- Eversource Energy
- Harmon International Industries
- The Hartford
- EJ Prescott
- Neopost USA
- Hartford Healthcare
- Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc
- Daymon Worldwide
- Nestle Waters North America
- Tauk Inc.
To begin working as a health coach in Connecticut, you’ll need to register your new business with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. Don’t forget to follow other new business protocols, too, including getting an Employer Identification Number if you plan to employ people and fill out a UC-1A Form.
Now that you have read this guide, you know how to become a nutritionist in Connecticut!