How Much Do Nutritionists and Dieticians Make?

Nutritionists and dieticians assist people by empowering them to make healthy dietary choices. These two career paths somewhat diverge regarding the skills and qualifications each holds.

A dietician must be certified to practice in their field. This certification is awarded by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Training to become a nutritionist often varies by state; not all states require certification to practice as a nutritionist. Nutritionists may also seek out additional training to qualify to practice in specific subject areas such as sports nutrition as well as health issues such as digestive and autoimmune disorders.

Dieticians may pursue a variety of career paths within their industry and thereby work with a large variety of populations. Discerning what typical tasks or client populations one prefers prior to or during training can improve the prospects of a dietician ultimately choosing a suitable and enjoyable career path.

The pathway a dietician chooses informs what tasks they will typically perform. Such tasks may include nutritional needs assessments, meal planning, food services management, personnel hiring, and oversight of safety and sanitation. Dieticians may work in a diverse array of settings, including hospitals, nursing care facilities, correctional facilities, health clinics, fitness centers, schools, and corporate environments. The option to establish a private practice may prove alluring to still others considering this profession.

The need for dieticians and nutritionists is forecast to be robust through the end of the into the future. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022) predicts a 7 percent increase in openings nationally between 2021 and 2031, which is faster than the national average for all occupations (5 percent). Investing in a career in this profession thus offers a significant opportunity. The high demand for this job field is attributable to several factors including the aging of the American population, high rates of varied health issues within the populace, and the vital role that nutrition plays in the wellness of people regardless of their particular backgrounds.

Below appears an overview of average salaries earned by dieticians and nutritionists. The data is organized according to various categories including by state, metropolitan region, industry, and employment level.

Dietician and Nutritionist Salary Overall

Dieticians and nutritionists earning the mean national salary for this occupation earn more than the national average for all occupations, which the BLS (May 2021) lists at $58,260 per year or $28.01 per hour. The 73,000 dieticians and nutritionists nationally earned an average of $61,650.

Purdue Global
Arizona State University
Winthrop University
American University

Levels of education and years of experience are influential factors to consider over a career’s lifetime. The BLS (May 2021) breaks down dietician and nutritionist salary percentiles as follows:

  • 10th percentile: $42,530 or $20.45 per hour
  • 25th percentile: $49,490 or $23.80 per hour
  • 50th percentile (median): $61,650 or $29.64 per hour
  • 75th percentile: $77,430 or $37.22 per hour
  • 90th percentile: $93,640 or $45.02 per hour

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does report quality data, individuals interested in a career as a dietician or nutritionist may wish to seek out our salary data sources to ensure they undertake an informed job search.

As with any profession, it is critical to set reasonable expectations for a salary when seeking work as a dietician or nutritionist. This page is designed to be a guide for your job search. When reviewing job openings within a certain market, applicants should keep a number of criteria in mind to help them make an informed choice. These criteria include job duties, required experience and education, opportunities for advancement, employer culture, geographic location, salary, and the associated cost of living.

Dietician and Nutritionist Salary by Region

In many professions, the location in which one works is a prominent determinant of salary. When considering the relative value of a job offer the salary should be compared against the cost of living in that region of the country. Dollars earned in a state with a higher cost of living (such as the western and eastern coastal states) will effectively have less purchasing power than dollars earned in a state with a lower cost of living (such as the states located in the southern, central, and mid-western regions).

Below is a sample of states and the average salaries earned by the job series Dieticians and Nutritionists as noted in statistics provided by the BLS (May 2021). This sample is designed to demonstrate the regional differences often found in average salaries:

  • California – $82,380 annual average or $39.61 per hour
  • Oregon – $73,120 or $35.16 per hour
  • New York – $72,800 or $35.00 per hour
  • Washington – $68,410 or $32.89 per hour
  • Colorado – $65,540 or $31.51 per hour
  • Texas – $64,560 or $31.04 per hour
  • Florida – $62,320 or $29.96 per hour
  • Wisconsin – $61,870 or $29.75 per hour
  • North Carolina – $58,930 or $28.33 per hour

This salary data alone is insufficient to determine what quality of life a person can enjoy within that state. To better assess that the cost of living must be considered.

Currently, the five top-paying states for this occupational series as well as their annual mean salaries are:

  • California: $82,380 (annual average) or $39.61 per hour
  • District of Columbia: $80,600 or $38.75
  • Hawaii: $75,020 or $36.07
  • New Jersey: $74,850 or $35.98
  • Rhode Island: $74,080 or $35.61

States featuring the highest average salaries are not necessarily the same as those with the highest levels of employment. The five states with the highest employment level, ranked highest to lowest, are as follows:

  • California: 7,690 employed; earning $82,380 per year or $39.61 per hour
  • New York: 4,880 employed; $72,800 or $35.00
  • Texas: 4,460 employed; $64,560 or $31.04
  • Florida: 3,520 employed; $62,320 or $29.96
  • Pennsylvania: 3,360 employed; $63,180 or $30.38

Salary is not the only factor that varies across the nation. The volume of employment opportunities also varies. Below is a list of statistics provided by the BLS (May 2021) indicating the number of dieticians and nutritionists employed within the aforementioned list of nine states.

  • California – 7,690 dieticians and nutritionists employed
  • New York – 4,880
  • Texas – 4,460
  • Florida – 3,520
  • North Carolina – 2,110
  • Washington – 1,880
  • Wisconsin – 1,400
  • Colorado – 1,170
  • Oregon – 690

Salaries vary not just between states but also within the geography of each state. Metropolitan areas are well-known for offering high convenience and services to their residents. In general, bigger cities and their surrounding regions pay higher salaries to match higher living costs in places with higher population density.

Below are some average annual salaries for dieticians and nutritionists across large metropolitan areas in the U.S., ordered by employment level, highest to lowest:

  • New York-Neward-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA: $75,900 (annual average) or $36.49 per hour
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA: $76.210 or $36.64
  • Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH: $68,880 or $33.11
  • Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI: $66,600 or $32.02
  • Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD: $69,260 or $33.30
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA: $69,030 or $33.19
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX: $66,030 or $31.74
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: $75,780 or $36.43
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX: $66,630 or $32.04
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ: $63,930 or $30.73

Dietician and Nutritionist Salary by Type of Office

When seeking employment, the type of industry one works in also will impact the salary. Dieticians and nutritionists typically possess the skills to work in a large number of settings. These different employment possibilities each offer different salary ranges.

The following provides an overview of the average annual salaries earned by dieticians and nutritionists in the five industries with the highest number of such individuals employed:

  • General medical and surgical hospitals: 19,240 employed; $66,490 (annual average) or $31.96 per hour
  • Outpatient care centers: 7,270 employed: $72,470 or $34.84
  • Nursing care facilities: 4,550 employed; $62,630 or $30.11
  • Special food services: 4,280 employed; $64,430 or $30.98
  • Local government (excludes schools and hospitals): 3,730 employed; $59,290 or $28.50

However, high levels of employment do not necessarily correspond to the highest salaries. Below is a listing of the five industries with the highest salaries provided by BLS (May 2021):

  • Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing: $93,920 (annual average) or $45.15 per hour
  • Merchant wholesalers, nondurable goods: $85,880 or $41.29
  • Home health care services: $79,110 or $38.03
  • Federal executive branch (OEWS Designation): $78,830 or $37.90
  • Scientific research and development services: $74,990 or $36.05

The aforementioned industries pay the top salaries in this job series but because that does not necessarily mean they also feature a large number of job openings the competition for such positions may be especially strong.

Bernd Geels
Bernd Geels Writer

Bernd Geels is a Berlin, Germany-based freelance writer and artist. He holds an undergraduate degree in atmospheric science and two graduate degrees. He completed his most recent graduate degree in international environmental studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 2011. He is interested in healthcare, climate change, marine conservation, indigenous science, and refugee issues. You can reach him directly at [email protected].