How much do dietitians make a year?

Written by cheryl teal
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How much do dietitians make a year?
Dietitians provide advice on cooking healthy. (nutrition image by razorconcept from

Like any occupation, salaries for dietitians depend on the dietitian's education, experience and geographic location. Dietitian salaries also are lower than salaries for other occupations, which is bemoaned in an article “Salary Survey: Are Dietitians Bringing Home the Bacon?” by Sharon Palmer on the American Dietetic Association website.

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Median salaries

The median salary for dietitians in May 2009 was £33,897, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Dietitians at the low end of the scale earned only £21,599, while those at the top end made £48,548 annually, the BLS says. PayScale, which maintains a global database on salary information, says first-year dietitians earned an average of £24,933, which is low in comparison to what other beginning health care professionals make. Both a registered nurse and physician's assistant made more in their first year, £29,485 and £46,101 respectively.

Salary by experience

Because of low salaries, dietitians generally leave the occupation after 10 to 15 years, the ADA website article notes. A leading website notes that 9 per cent of dietitians have worked in the occupation for 20 or more years, while 47 per cent have worked as dietitians for one to four years. The number drops significantly, to 17 per cent, for dietitians with five to nine years on the job. A leading website says the salary range for more than 20 years is £31,830 to £44,640, and £25,160 to £31,650 for those with one to four years' work experience.

Salary by education

Dietitians with a Master of Science degree earn the most, with a salary range of £28,380 to £44,500, says a leading website. Those who have a Bachelor of Science degree in foods and nutrition can earn between £24,480 and £34,170 annually.

Salary by Location

Dietitians who work in Maryland have the highest wages, averaging £41,990 in 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. The agency ranks California third, at £41,350. A leading website says Los Angeles dietitians made the most of any major city in the country, with a salary range of £31,800 to £44,710. San Diego also is on the list of the website’s top paying cities nationally with the salaries ranging from £30,880 to £43,230. A leading website says Chicago holds the bottom spot among the top cities, paying salaries ranging from £25,100 to £26,900.

Salary by Employer

Dietitians work for a variety of employers, which range from hospitals and other medical facilities, institutions such as school cafeterias, food manufacturing companies and publications, to name a few. Dietitians working at outpatient care centres earned £33,940 annually compared to those working in special food services where earnings were £29,520, according to the 2010-2011 edition of the BLS’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. Dietitians working at hospitals had earnings of £33,400.

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