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Career information for graduates

Students who have successfully completed an advanced degree program with HNFE, including a master’s of science or doctorate, have many promising career opportunities. Described below are a range of professional positions in various sectors.  

Our alumni work in a variety of research and education positions related to nutrition, health, wellness, and instruction in higher education, government, medical schools, health care clinics, and public and private industries in the United States and abroad.

Students should consult with their academic mentor or advisor to discuss how to competitively prepare and apply for these positions. Marketability and versatility will be stronger if an academic degree is combined with a professional credential such as an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Registered Dietitian Nutrition (RDN) or an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Exercise Physiologist (ACSM).

  • An Academy RDN or licensed clinical nutritionist performs nutrition assessments and advises patients or clients on personalized medical nutrition therapy for various health conditions in a hospital, health management organization, long-term care facility, or other type of health care facility. More information.
  • An ACSM-certified exercise physiologist may pursue a career in a university, business/corporate, or community setting. This profession involves conducting physical assessments and interpreting results to tailor and advise a personalized exercise or physical activity program for various patient or client populations. More information.
  • A public health nutritionist is involved in education, direct service, and consulting to identify nutrition-related challenges within a community, state, or nationally for a targeted population; develops and implement programs such as Cooperative Extension; and develops, implements, and evaluates programs and policies to improve the nutritional health of communities and populations. A public health nutritionist could work for a community-based non-governmental organization or a government agency. More information:,, and Careers in Extension
  • Students with an RDN could work as a private-practice consultant or full-time paid employee for a food, beverage, or restaurant firm; food service management; pharmaceutical companies that market nutrition-related products; corporate wellness; an industry trade association that represents the interests of the food or beverage industry; or work for a media, communications, or public relations firm. More information:  LinkedIn or
  • An ACSM-certified exercise physiologist may work as a personal trainer, health or life coach, or could become a certified Pilates or yoga instructor. More information:
  • Students may work for corporate or private foundations as a program officer or manager for a foundation that funds communities and states to design and implement policies and programs to address nutrition, agriculture, or public health-related challenges. Examples include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Clinton Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Aetna Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies. More information: RWJ Foundation
  • Graduates can serves as faculty members or in other roles in both public and private colleges and universities. 
  • Graduate can purse research in a number of areas and fields related to food, nutrition, exercise, and human health.
  • Students can teach courses and design curriculum in areas related to food, nutrition, exercise, and human health.
  • Graduates may be eligible for jobs with Virginia Cooperative Extension or other Extension programs. Extension agents and specialists put “knowledge to work” by reaching out to communities and extending resources through educational programming that solves public needs. Graduates may work to develop, design, and deliver research- and evidence-based educational handouts, modules, and programs in foods, nutrition, and exercise for diverse audiences, and conduct research related to food, nutrition, and exercise education, behavior, and policy.

For more information, please visit Higher Ed Jobs.

  • Students can work for a national, state, or local government agency to staff a legislator on Capitol Hill; a nutrition information specialist at a federal agency such as the CDC or USDA; as a regulatory specialist at the FDA; or work in health care reform or health promotion. More information:
  • Students could join the Peace Corps; work for an international non-governmental organization such as CARE, Food for the Hungry, or World Relief; a United Nations organization such as World Health Organization, World Food Programme, or the Food and Agriculture Organization; or a bilateral organization such as the U.S. Agency for International Development.
    More information:, ZipRecruiter Jobs - International Nutrition and Nutrition Scientist