Nutritional therapists help people by giving advice on diet and nutrition.
Salary Range: Variable
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
You’ll need to get a qualification that is recognised by one of the professional organisations for nutritional therapy.
The Nutritional Therapy Education Commission (NTEC) accredit courses in nutritional therapy. Graduates are eligible to apply for direct entry to the professional register held by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council.
You should check how the course is delivered and how much of the course involves clinical placements.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- you could join an accredited register managed by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) or the Federation of Holistic Therapists
Your prospects will be greatest as a self-employed therapist. To be successful you need to build up and maintain a sound reputation and client base which may mean working long hours at first.
Networking and training in other therapies may help to increase the number of clients that you see.
You can find more about careers in nutritional therapy from the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine and the Naturopathic Nutrition Association.
Skills and knowledge
- excellent verbal communication skills
- active listening skills
- customer service skills
- sensitivity and understanding
- knowledge of biology
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- thinking and reasoning skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
These will involve:
- taking a detailed medical history
- conducting tests using hair samples and allergy testing
- encouraging clients to understand the link between diet and their own future health
You’ll then give advice on:
- which foods to remove or increase from their diet
- whether to take vitamin or mineral supplements
- lifestyle changes they should make
You could work at a client’s home, at a GP practice or in a therapy clinic.
With experience you could move into teaching or research.