What’s it all about?
What does a Dietician do?
A dietician is an expert in nutrition and uses their expertise to help others who may be having problems with their diet or struggling with weight issues.
Your responsibilities will include
- Completing full and comprehensive nutritional assessments of clients
- Creating special nutritional care plans that allow you to offer consistent and effective support for clients and patients
- Working with people who have diet-related issues and disorders to ensure that they understand how to improve their health through diet
- Working in multidisciplinary teams to ensure adequate care is given to patients and clients after they have been discharged from a hospital or service
- Promoting good diet and good health through your work with the public and with clients
- Working with hospitals to ensure good diet is present in food served to patients
- Working with schools to advise on diet and health
- Providing detailed reports on patient and client health and diet to relevant stakeholders
- Create content, including detailed information packs, for hospitals and other interested stakeholders
So how do you get there?
The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is the registered body that you must register with if you want to become a dietician. You will need to complete an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in Dietetics. If you are taking a postgraduate degree, you will be expected to have an undergraduate degree in a related subject.
To earn a place on postgraduate courses you will be expected to have a degree in one of the following:
- Human nutrition
- Nutritional science
- Health sciences
Or any other undergraduate award with relevance to dietetics.
The NHS is the biggest employer of dieticians. This means that a dietician can expect to work in an NHS hospital or as part of a team in a community project or service.
There are some private healthcare providers who need dietitians also. Other areas you might find work in include:
- Public relations companies that rely upon the experience and expertise of a dietician as part of their campaigns
- The media has plenty of openings for dieticians who are able to offer advice and expertise
- Food and drink companies need dieticians as part of research and development and also in advisory roles
- Pharmaceutical companies need research and development and advisory roles filled
- Supermarkets and retail brands need to use dietician expertise to help customers and to advise
Show me the money
Since many dietitians are employed by the NHS, they can expect to be paid on the pay bands the NHS uses. A newly-qualified dietician can expect to earn somewhere between £23,000 and £29,000 per year.
A specialist level dietician (band 6) can see an increase in their salary to between £28,000 and £36,000. In the NHS, there is a higher level of advanced dietician, and this is band 7. Here you can earn between £33,000 and £43,000 a year.
It’s a competitive area, especially if you plan to venture out into private company employment. However, once the training is underway, and you’re suitably experienced, you can expect to gain a competitive salary, and the chance to directly affect the lives of patients and clients.