How Much Does a Nutritionist Make?

Become a nutritionist with a bachelor's degree, supervised experience, and a certification. Discover top-paying nutritionist industries and locations.

portrait of Meg Whitenton
by Meg Whitenton

Published September 21, 2022

Edited by Kristina Beek
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How Much Does a Nutritionist Make?
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Nutritionists advise patients on healthy eating habits for optimal health. They perform labs, assess dietary needs, and develop meal plans. They also educate patients about nutritional therapy for diseases or conditions like obesity.

Nutritionists need a bachelor's degree to enter the field. Most states also require nutritionists to hold certification or licensure. Many nutritionists go on to pursue a master's degree. Clinical nutritionists working in healthcare need supervised field experience. Other popular nutritionist jobs include community nutritionists and management dieticians.

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What Is the Average Nutritionist Salary?

The average nutritionist salary varies by a candidate's location, qualifications, and experience. Nutritionists earned a median annual salary of nearly $62,000 in May 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing was the top-paying industry for nutritionists in 2021, as per the BLS.

While beginner nutritionists may enter the field with a bachelor's degree to gain experience, they must earn a master's degree to qualify for higher-paying nutritionist jobs. A clinical nutritionist often earns more than other nutritionist jobs in management or education.

Job Growth for Nutritionists

The BLS projects faster-than-average growth of 11% for nutritionist jobs from 2020-2030, which exceeds the national average of 8% for all jobs. Like most occupations, some job openings will result from professionals switching careers or retiring. Most nutritionist jobs, however, will stem from an increasing demand for preventative healthcare, especially for diet-related illnesses including diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

How Much Do Nutritionists Make By State?

The average nutritionist salary in each state is commensurate with many factors. This includes the statewide cost of living, demand for healthcare services, and access to professional education in that state. Nutritionist jobs pay the most in states along the east and west coasts, and in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and Pacific regions. States tend to pay a higher certified nutritionist salary, since certification includes fulfilling additional requirements.

Nutritionist Median Salary by State, 2021
State Annual Mean Wage
Alabama $57,450
Alaska $72,010
Arizona $62,720
Arkansas $58,340
California $82,380
Colorado $65,540
Connecticut $67,060
Delaware $68,140
District of Columbia $80,600
Florida $62,320
Georgia $51,480
Hawaii $75,020
Idaho $57,150
Illinois $64,910
Indiana $59,340
Iowa $59,740
Kansas $67,090
Kentucky $57,950
Louisiana $61,500
Maine $67,620
Maryland $71,270
Massachusetts $68,940
Michigan $59,310
Minnesota $66,760
Mississippi $43,990
Missouri $55,860
Montana $57,610
Nebraska $59,720
Nevada $63,860
New Hampshire $66,420
New Jersey $74,850
New Mexico $63,790
New York $72,800
North Carolina $58,930
North Dakota $63,490
Ohio $61,750
Oklahoma $57,460
Oregon $73,120
Pennsylvania $63,180
Rhode Island $74,080
South Carolina $54,820
South Dakota $61,860
Tennessee $53,940
Texas $64,560
Utah $53,200
Vermont $70,450
Virginia $63,500
Washington $68,410
West Virginia $66,390
Wisconsin $61,870
Wyoming $66,550

Source: BLS

Where Can I Make the Most Money as a Nutritionist?

Highest-Paying States for Nutritionists

The states below pay the highest nutritionist salary. These states tend to require a higher cost of living, commensurate with a higher salary for nutritionist jobs. In addition, residents of the states below drive a higher demand for preventative health services, including nutrition and diet counseling, than in other states that pay lower wages.

State Annual Mean Salary
California $82,380
District of Columbia $80,600
Hawaii $75,020
New Jersey $74,850
Rhode Island $74,080

Source: BLS

Highest-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Nutritionists

The table below indicates the highest-paying metropolitan areas in the nation's top-paying state for nutritionists, California. According to Payscale, cities including San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara maintain costs of living as much as 135% above the national average. This means a higher-than-average nutritionist salary is required to live in these affluent areas.

Metropolitan Area Annual Mean Salary
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California $103,240
San Francisco, California $97,490
Vallejo-Fairfield, California $97,270
Santa Rosa, California $87,950
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California $86,110

Source: BLS

Highest-Paying Nonmetropolitan Areas for Nutritionists

The nonmetropolitan areas below tend to pay higher nutritionist salaries than the national average, potentially due to their lower costs of living and low competition for nutritionist jobs. A salary of more than $84,000 can go far in western Wyoming cities like Cheyenne, where the cost of living is 12% lower than the national average, according to Payscale data.

Nonmetropolitan Area Annual Mean Salary
Western Wyoming $84,370
North Coast, California $81,850
North Valley-Northern Mountains, California $77,330
Kauai, Hawaii $74,200
Alaska $72,480

Source: BLS

Highest-Paying Industries for Nutritionists

The data below outlines which industries pay the highest salaries to nutritionists and dieticians, according to the BLS. The highest salaries in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing could indicate a significant demand for pharmaceutical dieticians or nutritionists. These professionals are commonly involved in the development and production of supplements, vitamins, and medications.

Industry Annual Mean Salary
Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing $93,920
Merchant Wholesalers and Nondurable Goods $85,880
Home Healthcare Services $79,110
Federal Executive Branch $78,830
Scientific Research and Development Services $74,990

Source: BLS

How Can I Increase My Salary as a Nutritionist?

Choose a Specialty

Choosing a specialty may increase a nutritionist's salary by enhancing their unique and marketable skills. Most nutritionists focus on pursuing clinical or community nutritionist jobs while earning their degree. However, with experience they may eventually choose a subspecialty. Common subspecialties and their respective salaries include:

Editor's note: Some of the salary numbers above may be based on relatively small samples, and potential salaries could vary widely depending on the employer.

Consider Relocating

Relocating to a state that offers a high nutritionist salary and low cost of living can increase the income potential for this occupation. All of the highest-paying metropolitan areas for nutritionists listed above also rank among the most expensive places to live in California.

Alternately, professionals can benefit from moving to a state that pairs high-paying nutritionist jobs with affordable living costs. As illustrated above, western Wyoming areas like Cheyenne are the top-paying nonmetro areas for nutritionists and require lower-than-average living costs.

Change Industries

The pharmaceutical and nutrition industries are increasingly collaborative in their approach to developing and marketing products. This recent convergence means nutritionists are often paid a top salary by employers in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing for their expertise. Nutritionists may earn a higher salary if they switch industries. However, top-paying jobs, including wholesale and home healthcare, may require longer hours to see this benefit.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nutritionist Salary

Is becoming a nutritionist worth it?

Yes. Nutritionists enjoy high salaries, steady job growth, and meaningful work. Nutritionists can start working and pursue certification, if required by their state, upon graduation from a four-year bachelor's program. Online programs may offer accelerated degree options.

Nutritionist jobs enable professionals to customize their career. They can choose to become clinical or community nutritionists in a favored area of expertise. Examples include eating disorder nutritional counseling, oncological nutritional treatment, or nutrition education.

Where do nutritionists make the most money?

California pays the highest nutritionist salary in the United States. Within the state, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area pays the most for nutritionist jobs, followed by San Francisco, and Vallejo-Fairfield. All three regions pay nutritionist salaries commensurate with a much-higher-than-average cost of living.

Other states among the top-paying locations for nutritionists include the District of Columbia, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, respectively. Generally, nutritionist jobs in urban metro areas pay more, though nonmetro workers enjoy lower living costs.

Which nutritionist jobs pay the most?

While nutritionist salaries vary by experience, location, and education, pediatric nutritionists earn one of the highest average salaries. This subspecialty of clinical nutritionist practice requires a bachelor's degree, internship experience, and professional certification or licensure.

As in most healthcare settings, clinical nutritionists can earn higher-than-average salaries for working in private practice. Other high-paying nutritionist jobs include opportunities in outpatient care centers and government jobs, as per the BLS.

How can a nutritionist make more money?

Nutritionists may seek to improve their income potential in a competitive national field. Choosing a specialty can help, such as oncological, pediatric, or gerontological nutrition. Professionals should consider an area of expertise in especially high demand.

Nutritionists may also earn more by relocating or changing industries. Professionals should explore the idea of moving to a state that pays a high nutritionist salary and offers a low-to-moderate cost of living. In addition, making a move toward a high-paying industry like pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing might pay off.

What is the highest salary a nutritionist can make?

While factors affecting salary vary, the data collected here through the BLS shows location impacts nutritionist salaries most significantly. California ranks as the highest-paying state for nutritionists in the nation, paying a yearly wage of more than $82,000 in 2021.

Nutritionists in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area of California earned the highest average salary overall of metro locations listed, at $103,240 in 2021. In addition, nutritionists living and working in nonmetro western Wyoming actually earned more than the average nutritionist in California, at $84,370 per year as of May 2021.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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