How to become a Nutritionist

Nutritionists study and provide advice about dietary habits to encourage the achievement of a healthy lifestyle.

Personal requirements of a Nutritionist

  • Enjoy food and food preparation
  • Interested in health and wellbeing
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Aptitude for science and research.

Education & Training for a Nutritionist

To become a nutritionist you usually have to study nutrition, science, health science or applied science at university with a major in nutrition. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics are normally required. Most universities in Australia offer relevant degrees. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.

Duties & Tasks of a Nutritionist

Nutritionists may perform the following tasks:

  • consult with individuals and groups, including sportspeople, about their dietary habits and assess potential nutritional deficiencies
  • prescribe diet plans based on the assessment of nutritional needs
  • liaise with other health professionals about nutrition, including controlled diets for people with special needs
  • monitor clients’ progress and quality of food to provide ongoing nutritional care
  • collect, organise and analyse data relating to the health and nutrition behaviours of specific groups and the population as a whole
  • plan, conduct and evaluate nutrition intervention programs and compile educational material.

Working conditions for a Nutritionist

Nutritionists may have a high level of contact with the public.

Employment Opportunities for a Nutritionist

Nutritionists work in a diverse range of food and health areas, including public nutrition and health education, private practice and consultancy, food industries, health promotion and marketing, teaching and research. There may be opportunities for some nutritionists to specialise in working with animals and the provision of dietary and nutrition advice. Some nutritionists work on a part-time basis. Opportunities for nutritionists depend on the recognition of nutrition by the community as a health strategy in preventing and treating diet-related disorders and medical conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The level of public and professional awareness and acceptance of nutrition services have an effect on the demand for nutritionists.

Additional Information
Before undertaking clinical or professional placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a National Police Certificate, a Provide First Aid Certificate and immunisations, and undergo a Working with Children Check. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. Student membership is available with Nutrition Australia or the Nutrition Society of Australia. Contact the relevant association for details on the types of membership available.
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