A healthy career choice
People in India are becoming more and more health conscious and reaching out for information and help on their health and nutrition choices. Nutrition is associated with our general well-being and maintenance of healthy lifestyles that help in the long run. Though most often the two words dietician and nutritionists are used as one, there is actually a minor difference between the two.
Dieticians are the ones who are in charge of patients’ diet in hospitals, health care centres, clinics, wellness centres and the likes. Dieticians are at times also referred to as clinical nutritionists. Titles differ based on the area of work. However, nutritionists are mostly found in the field of research and industries like FMCG. They are responsible for things that have a much wider reach than just diet. Their focus is more on devising sustainable solutions to community problems of nutrition and help in the overall development.
With the focus in India being on the ill effects of malnutrition nowadays, this is the best time to take up a career as a nutritionist. People are realizing more than ever before, the importance of nutrition in a healthy lifestyle.
How to go about it?
People can opt for a career as a nutritionist after 10+2 and there are many universities and courses that can help a person prepare for a career as a nutritionist. Usually these topics are associated with a Home Science degree. Having a science background is not necessary for entry into this field, though in most cases it certainly helps. Check the course structure and syllabi properly and enquire about the options available before taking it up.
If you are looking to do Post Graduation in this area, then you can either opt for a Diploma or a Masters. Some of the specialization choices available to take up are Food Science, Public Health Nutrition and Therapeutic Nutrition. Higher studies options include research and a PhD in their specialization areas and offer highly rewarding careers to those who are inclined towards it.
Industries and roles
As mentioned above FMCG is one of the main industries that hire nutritionists. In a highly competitive market, it is very important for these companies and brands to come out with credible products. All the claims used in the marketing and advertising should be backed by the nutritionists who help design, plan and develop the products, through research. The same is the case with Pharmaceutical companies who come out with patient related foods and nutritional supplements.
You also find nutritionists in healthcare centres, schools etc. One may even opt for an international career, if inclined, in organizations like WHO.
Apart from the private jobs that are available in plenty, one can also opt for Government jobs. You can appear for the UPSC exam for posts on the Food & Nutrition Board (FNB). Starting as a class-I Gazetted officer there are options like Advisor, Deputy Advisor etc.
From Rs.15000 to Rs.20000 per month for a fresher, the salary can go up depending on the organization, the location etc. especially in private employment. Even in Government jobs, the starting salaries range from Rs.25000 and go higher with your experience, post and service.
For those with an inclination towards nutrition, this is indeed a healthy field of employment, to pursue.