Community Nutrition Educators


Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you want to be a community nutrition educator, take health, family and consumer science, psychology, computer science, statistics, and mathematics classes. You’ll need to be skilled at conveying information orally and in writing, so take as many English, speech, and writing classes as possible to hone your skills. Web and graphic design classes will come in handy because some educators have to design and create educational brochures, posters, and Web sites. Many educators work with immigrants who do not speak English fluently. Taking a foreign language—such as Spanish or Mandarin—will help you to better communicate with these groups. Take marketing and advertising classes because it not enough to know about nutrition; you will need to be skilled at conveying this information to people via brochures, social media posts, YouTube videos, and other methods.

Postsecondary Education

Educational requirements for community nutrition educators vary by employer and job duties. Some employers require applicants to only have a high school diploma and complete on-the-job training, while others require applicants to have completed a minimum of 15 college credit hours in nutrition. Many others require candidates to have associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in nutrition, dietetics, public health nutrition, health education, family and consumer science (with an emphasis on foods and nutrition), and related fields. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides information about accredited programs at

Some colleges and universities offer degrees in health education and promotion (a category that includes nutrition education). Visit for a list of schools.

The jobs that offer the highest pay and provide the best advancement opportunities are those that require at least an associate’s degree. As a result, it’s a good idea to earn a college degree to improve your attractiveness as a job candidate, build your knowledge base and skills, and give yourself an educational base that will allow you to pursue an advanced degree or be eligible for other positions that require a degree.


Many colleges and universities offer certificate programs in nutrition, dietetics, health education, or related fields. Contact schools in your area to learn about available programs.

Other Education or Training

The Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior offers a variety of live and prerecorded webinars that educators can take to keep their skills up to date and learn about industry trends. Recent webinars included Promoting Diverse, Balanced, and Healthy Diets Through Fruit and Vegetable Consumption; How to Ensure That Teaching Kitchens Are Age-Friendly; Leveraging Local Food Systems for Healthy Food Access; and Statistics for Survey Design: Solutions for Success. Visit to learn more. The National Association of Community Health Workers, American Public Health Association, Society for Public Health Education, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Society for Nutrition, and other organizations also offer continuing education classes and webinars. Visit their Web sites for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Some employers require community nutrition educators to complete food handling safety certification programs. A common certification is the ServSafe Food Handler credential, which is administered by the National Restaurant Association. Visit to learn more. Some cities or states have their own certification classes or programs that community nutrition educators must complete before being eligible for employment.

Other Requirements

For some positions, educators must be able to lift up to 50 pounds as part of their work duties. Many employers require job applicants to pass a pre-employment drug screening and a security background check. Educators are often required to have access to reliable transportation.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

The ideal community nutrition educator candidate has experience as an intern, volunteer, or part-time worker at a public health agency or organization that provides nutrition education to underserved communities.

Community nutrition educators must have superior oral and written communication, presentation, and interpersonal skills because they spend the majority of their time talking one-on-one with clients, leading nutrition workshops and other educational events, teaching classes in test kitchens, writing copy for brochures and social media posts, communicating virtually with clients and colleagues via Zoom, and recording content for YouTube and other social media channels. They also need to be able to gear their presentations, videos, and publications for different audiences. For example, a casual, fun, and more streamlined approach is required when working with children and teens, as opposed to adults (who may just want the facts). If possible, educators who work with non-English speaking clients should learn the language (such as Spanish) of that group. If they are not fluent in a foreign language, they must be able to effectively work with translators when providing nutrition education.

Other important traits for educators include empathy; compassion; patience; kindness; friendliness; strong, problem-solving, organizational, time-management, and leadership skills; an excellent work ethic; punctuality; and the ability to work both collaboratively and without supervision, when necessary. Finally, educators must be willing to continuously learn about nutrition and health topics, as well as have knowledge of hunger, poverty, and food and nutrition insecurity issues.