Career Opportunities in Nutrition Emphasis Areas

Career Opportunities in Public Health Nutrition and Policy

Public health is a diverse field with opportunities to suit varied interests and skills. It encompasses several sub-disciplines: epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy and management, environmental health, and community health education. It is ideal for those who would like to work to improve the lives of others. Those who wish to go on to graduate school often choose public health, public policy, or nutrition as a discipline. Those who do not wish to pursue a higher degree can find employment with health organizations, government agencies, private health insurance companies and health research groups. Jobs available include food safety inspectors, health educators, policy analysts, epidemiologists, and researchers, to name a few. Employment opportunities exist in the following areas:

  • Health Services Administration
  • Biostatistics
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Education/Behavioral Science
  • Health Advocacy
  • Environmental health
  • International health
  • Nutrition
  • Public health practice
  • Biomedical laboratory
  • Pharmaceuticals

The Association of Schools of Public Health acknowledged that job opportunities in the field are plentiful when they released the following statement on Feb. 27, 2008: “More than 250,000 additional public health workers needed by 2020 to avert public health crisis. Shortage will leave nation vulnerable to disease, bioterror and health threats.”

Career Opportunities in Nutrition and Foods in Business

The Foods and Food Business Emphasis prepares nutrition majors to work in institutional food service, community kitchen education, supermarket chains and food product development. More specifically, a graduate with this emphasis and further training as specified could work as a school food service director, nursing home manager, as a recipe developer for grocery store chains, as a community foods and cooking educator, as well as a product development and tester for large and small food business ventures. As consumers express their growing interest in healthy food products and rebuilding kitchen skills, the demand for nutritionally trained graduates with a food emphasis is burgeoning. Graduates interested specifically in a culinary approach to foods could broaden their background by attending culinary schools; those with a business orientation should obtain further management skills through management courses or an MBA. Those interested in a community application would be advised to take adult education courses in other departments.

Career Opportunities in Community Nutrition and Food Security

Community Food Security is a rapidly growing field of study and practice, intersecting nutrition, agriculture, economics, community studies and food systems analysis, focusing on food production, processing, distribution and sustainability, and attending specifically to appropriate and sustainable food access at local, municipal, regional, national and global levels. A widening array of opportunities exists in the field of Community Food Security for undergraduates, M.S. and Ph.D. graduates. The food systems and food security areas have received large amounts of funding from the USDA. Those wishing to focus in Community Food Security can take various routes, as diverse as local nutrition education or international nutrition policy.

Undergraduate opportunities include numerous internships, such as through the Food Trust in Philadelphia http://www.thefoodtrust.org/ or the Fellowship Program at the Congressional Hunger Center http://www.hungercenter.org/ . These programs have excellent post-intern placement rates. The Food Trust hires many of its own interns. Volunteer options include the new Food Corps and Peace Corps (both with stipends); such volunteers are usually highly sought after for jobs and by graduate schools.

Tufts University offers an Agriculture, Food and the Environment masters in the Friedman School of Nutrition and Food Policy. Graduates have wide opportunities for placement at the local, national and international level. Other masters-programs exist at UC Davis, Cornell U., Michigan State, and Montana State. Options for masters level jobs are widely distributed, within government, at the Community Food Security Coalition, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and at least 20 centers for sustainable food systems around the country, usually but not always connected with universities, such as the John Hopkins Bloomsburg School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future or the University of Minnesota’s Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute.

Career Opportunities Nutrition Education and Communications

The Nutrition Education and Communications emphasis prepares students to work with individuals, groups and communities in many settings, such as health promotion programs, voluntary health agencies, government and international agencies, businesses, and private practice. This academic focus may also prepare students to serve as resource specialists and curriculum developers in schools, businesses, and universities.

Students enrolled in the Nutrition Education and Communications emphasis have the option of electing courses that will especially prepare them to conduct individual and group counseling or to provide food and nutrition education in community, school, work site, health care, or mass media settings.