With the sporting industry exhibiting such growth and popularity, there is an excellent salary potential for a sports nutritionist. Athletes and the various sporting events contribute to sports being such a booming industry, but athletes could not perform as well as they do without the help of a sports nutritionist. Sports nutritionists play an important role in the career of athletes, and they have the potential to earn very good salaries.
What is a Sports Nutritionist?
A sports nutritionist is a professional who advises athletes on a nutritional diet that will promote the best performance based on their bodies and activities. Sports nutritionists research not just the amounts and types of foods and beverages an athlete should consume but also which organic substances will be the most beneficial to the athlete based on the sport. Sports nutritionists have a deep understanding of the effect different foods have on the human body.
They use this knowledge to ensure the athlete eats the right type and amount of food while ensuring they get the correct amounts of carbs, protein and fats. To work as a sports nutritionist requires having at least a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field. Depending on the employer and the sport, the sports nutritionist may need to obtain various certifications and be members of sports nutritionist associations.
Why Sports Nutritionists are Important
The saying, “we are what we eat” has never been as true as in the case of athletes. An athlete who eats right and takes care of his or her body is not just going to feel better but will perform better. In recent years, sports organizations have begun to acknowledge the importance of their athletes leading healthy lives, and it all begins with getting the proper nutrition. The Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition have recently collaborated on implementing ways to promote the most nutritious and healthy lifestyles possible for their athletes.
Salary for Sports Nutritionist
The salary potential for a sports nutritionist can be determined and affected by various factors. These include degree level, training, work experience, employer, sport, athlete and geographic location. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that dietitians and nutritionists earn wages that range from $36,910 to $83,070 with the average annual salary at $60,150 and the average hourly rate at $28.92 as of May 2017. Sports nutritionists working with professional athletes, such as the NFL, MLB or NHL, generally earn the highest wages.
How Geographic Location Affects Salary
Although the skill level of the athlete and the sport can affect the salary potential for a sports nutritionist a lot, geographic location also plays a big role in the wage potential. Here are the five top-paying states for dietitians and nutritionists followed by the five lowest-paying states. Comparing the two lists demonstrates how location can affect wages.
- California – $72,130
- Alaska – $68,310
- Oregon – $67,820
- New Jersey – $67,800
- Connecticut – $67,270
- Puerto Rico – $36,530
- Mississippi – $49,110
- Missouri – $50,050
- Iowa – $50,530
- South Carolina – $51,200
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Sports nutritionists work with athletes at the collegiate and professional levels, with some positions paying more than others. The bureau predicts that dietitians and nutritionists should see employment growth of 15 percent between 2016 and 2026. With training and experience, the salary potential for a sports nutritionist can be excellent.