If an athlete wants to stay at the top of his game he not only has to practice and workout, but he also has to eat a well-balanced healthy diet or he can lose his edge. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, many professional teams employ sports nutritionists to care for their players. If you love the idea of working in the field of sports, but aren’t sure which career would be right for you, try stepping outside the box for a job in sports and consider working as a sports nutritionist.
Although the United States does not require sport nutritionists to actually have a bachelor’s degree in sports nutrition, you may find it hard to find work for the professional leagues without one. To obtain a degree, students typically take prerequisites of anatomy, biology and chemistry, then work towards their bachelor’s degree by taking nutrition courses, such as food science, kinesiology, and sports nutrition.
While not every degree program requires an internship, the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) requires a dietetic internship of at least 1200 supervised hours of practice. These internships are typically offered through universities and non-profits. Even if the program you select does not require an internship, student must still generally do this as they cannot qualify to become a registered dietician without the supervised hours.
One thing to understand about becoming a sports nutritionist is that it is somewhat of a two-fold process. In most states sports nutritionists must be licensed and registered, as well as certified. This can be a bit confusing, however, as licenses are issued after you have received a certain amount of training and experience, yet these requirements vary from state to state. You will also find that you have to pass two different exams as there is one to become registered and anoth er to become licensed.
Once you have completed these requirements, you still have one final hurdle to clear if you wish to become certified by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. To do this, you must not only be a Registered Dietician, but you also need 1500 hours in actual sports nutrition. You must then pass an exam that consists of questions pertaining to nutrition assessment, micro-nutrients, eating disorders and energy metabolism.
After this, you may work as a sports nutritionist, however, some states do require that you receive continuing education credits to remain licensed. Fortunately, this can be done by attending seminars or taking continuing education classes online.
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