How to Become a Nutritionist
Nutrition is becoming a popular choice for students when considering a career: not only does the variety and number of jobs in nutrition make it the faster growing sector since 2002 (Nhscareers.nhs.uk), but in the UK it is set to increase up to 20% by 2020.
There are several career paths available to those wanting a career in nutrition (aside from just becoming a nutritionist), so there is some flexibility once you have studied nutrition. Some of the other jobs available include: dietician, food science researcher and dietetic consultant. If you’re interested in medicine, health and fitness and have an academic strength in sciences then studying nutrition could be a good option for you.
Here are a few of our top tips on how to become a nutritionist…
Take a Course in Nutrition
An undergraduate degree isn’t a must but it’s a good idea. To get onto a relevant science degree you will need an A Level in Chemistry or/and Biology. The UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN) (Associationfornutrition.org) is a body that ensures the standard of nutritionists and to join this you need an undergraduate degree in nutrition or a similar biosciences degree or at least 7 years’ experience. In this day and age a degree is the best way forward for a route into this profession. Depending on what you specialise in, it could be necessary to study a postgraduate course, too; however this isn’t always necessary.
Research What Employers Want
Being a qualified and certified nutritionist means you will be employed by the NHS or privately. Within the NHS look at local authorities, primary care organisations and NHS trusts. The best place to begin is with job adverts for the role you want: start with the NHS as they have a lot of information on jobs available. Looking at vacancies will give you an idea of what prospective employers are looking for when seeking applicants and how competitive the positions are. It is also a good idea to call the person responsible for recruiting to see how many positions were available and how many applicants there were.
Focus on Communication Skills
As a nutritionist you will be working with people, so developing a personable bedside manner is important. Being professional and open enough for people to trust you is a skill in itself. There will also be a lot of professional on-the-job training once you have qualified. Alongside this training there will be literature you’ll need to read to keep up-to-date with developments in the industry, making good comprehension skills absolutely imperative.
Although the route into being a nutritionist is a very conventional one, there are courses that give you an idea of what a degree in nutrition will hold, bolster the CV and give you an isea of whether it’s the right direction for you to take as a career. To find out more, have a look at our online diploma course in diet and nutrition.
Or for more careers-related advice from our blog, check out our tips on how to become a social worker.