Nutrition Jobs in Food Service
Food service jobs can be found in a variety of work environments. There are food service departments in healthcare facilities such as nursing homes and hospitals, in schools and for employees within some corporations.
If you choose to work in food service your duties will involve ordering the foods, planning and preparing the meals, and serving the meals.
Dietitians and nutritionists are sometimes hired to manage and oversee the food service operations. This is especially the case in hospital environments when the foods going out to patients follow strict dietary regulation such as low sugar or low salt for the prevention and treatment of disease. To obtain a management position, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and nutrition jobs in food service departments of health-focused institutions often require a Registered Dietitian.
Food service opportunities also exist for Dietetic Technicians and Dietary Aids. The education requirement for a Dietetic Technician is a two year associate’s degree and for Dietary Aids work you often need a high school diploma. These individuals assist Registered Dietitians and food service managers with day to day duties such as food ordering, meal preparation, meal delivery to patients and cleaning.
According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dietitians and nutritionists working in special food services earn a median salary of $45,410 a year. Half of full-time Dietetic Technicians registered through the American Dietetic Association with four years or less of experience reported making $30,000 to $40,000 per year. Average salaries for Dietary Aids are around $14,000 per year.
Culinary jobs are a type of food service job, but are more likely to be found in the restaurant, hotel or catering industries. Those qualified to fulfill culinary jobs may or may not have a degree in nutrition. However, a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in hospitality or culinary arts is advisable to those seeking a career in the field.
These degrees are available from many major universities and community colleges throughout the U.S., or through specialty culinary schools such as the Culinary Institute of America.
At the very minimum, a certificate in culinary arts helps to demonstrate your abilities and skills in food preparation. For those with a nutrition degree who wish to expand their careers to healthy cooking, this type of certification in culinary arts can be beneficial and increase your competitive edge in the job search. Some jobs do exist in the culinary field for individuals without culinary or nutrition degrees, but in these cases experience in the food industry is required.
Knowledge of safe food handling, how to operate kitchen equipment, the science behind food preparation, food display, food photography and cultural food history are all beneficial for those seeking jobs in this area.
Culinary jobs involve the selection, purchase and preparation of foods for consumers. These jobs can include being a chef or assisting chefs at restaurant. You might also work in production at a bakery, provide personal chef services to individuals and families, or cater small and large events. Other duties include food photography, food styling and food writing. Those working as chefs and head cooks in the culinary industry earn a median salary of $38,770 according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.