Do you love children? Do you want to have a career in the field, but not necessarily become a pediatrician? In this case you might want to consider building yourself a career in child nutrition. An astounding amount of kids are overweight. The parents either don’t have time to educate them and teach them about proper nutrition, or in some cases, the parents are bad role models for their offsprings. This sort of career is a unique opportunity to help make a difference, and change the life of thousands to the better. Here are some guidelines you should adhere to.
Get a degree in nutrition:
If you want to look after kids and teach them everything there is to know about proper nutrition, first you need to get certified. It’s no secret that school nutrition professionals can impact the well being and general health of a child. The best are excellent influencers with the gift to instill awareness into the importance of healthy eating habits that have nothing to do with dieting. A career in child nutrition demands a lot of patience; you need to commit because it’s important to be aware that you might completely change the life of a little human being. It’s a huge responsibility!
Benefits of getting a degree in child’s nutrition
The benefits of getting a degree in child’s nutrition are numerous. The core advantage is that you have the chance to help nurture a healthier generation; a generation that understands why vegetables are fruits bring a lot more satisfactions than fries and burgers. Additional benefits include opportunities to advance in your career, competitive salary, and convenient working hours.
USDA professional standards in child’s nutrition abide by three core positions:
● Nutrition director (at a district level) – these are professionals in charge of handling all aspects that make up a school nutrition program. These nutrition experts are responsible for managing daily operations of food service in a school district. An advanced degree in the field is highly recommended, such as a diploma in culinary arts, hospitality, or business administration.
● School nutrition manager – commonly known as food service managers, these professionals work within the school and report directly to the school nutrition director. The job of the manager includes planning menus, being in charge of sanitation protocols, service, personnel management, and more.
Child nutritionists with a medical background
- At the other end of the spectrum, we have nutritionists with a medical background. These professionals are a bit more experienced, and most of them are qualified nutritionists. To have a career you will have to get a certification and pass the American Association of Nutritional Consultant exam in order to become a certified nutritionist. The conditions are rather simple:
Complete a 2-year associate degree program, or you could take the distance-learning program
- Pass the exam test
To become a certified clinical nutritionist, or CCN, aspiring candidates must complete the following steps:
- Complete a master’s or bachelor’s degree at an accredited university –
- Complete an internship (at least 900 hours)
- Opt for clinical nutrition studies (56 postgraduate hours)
- Take and pass the CNCB test
- Finish 40 education hours (continuously)
- Take a recertification test every 5 years
Internships & scholarships
Those interested in having a successful career in child nutrition can also attend internships, as these classes help them meet the needs and get used to their environment. Knowing the children is vital. It’s important to understand their lifestyles first before starting to preach to them why it’s important to eat healthy. Hands on experience can only be acquired after you’ve completed an internship. Not all are paid, but nevertheless it’s a unique opportunity to expand and perfect your knowledge in the child nutrition field.
Bottom line is, nutrition is broad domain that you should specialize yourself in. It brings along a lot of satisfactions especially when working with children. They need your help, and at the end of the day, the personal rewards are much more important than monetary compensation. You have the chance to help make a difference, and change completely the lives of children who truly need your assistance. Get certified, read as much as possible on nutrition, acquire practical experience and you’ll have a bright future in the domain.