Dietitian

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Dietitians diagnose and treat people with nutrition problems, and help people make healthy lifestyle and dietary decisions.

Salary range: £24,214 to £37,267

How to become a dietitian

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You’ll need a degree or postgraduate qualification in dietetics or human nutrition, accredited by the British Dietetic Association.

You may be able to take a postgraduate course if you already have a degree with an acceptable level of human physiology and biochemistry.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology or chemistry
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to do a dietitian degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, preferably including biology, for a degree apprenticeship

More information

Work

You could work as a dietetic assistant and study part time for a degree to qualify as a dietitian.

Volunteering and experience

You’ll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in the health or care sector before you apply for a course.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.

More information

Registration

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join organisations like the British Dietetic Association for training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You’ll find more advice about becoming a dietitian from the British Dietetic Association and Health Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • customer service skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to read English
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

In a hospital, your job would involve:

  • specialising in an area like children’s health, renal dietetics or cancer care
  • running clinics for people with diabetes or eating disorders, like anorexia or bulimia
  • working with catering services to create menus for patients with a range of dietary needs

In the community, you could be:

  • raising awareness of the importance of healthy eating
  • running health promotion workshops
  • advising people who lack confidence, have depression, or are on a low income

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital, in the community, at a research facility or at a health centre.

Career path and progression

With experience you could become a team leader or department manager. 

You could also become self-employed.

You might take further training to use your skills in education, manufacturing, research, journalism, marketing, advertising or public relations.

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