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Nutritionist

Since 2002, the number of jobs for nutritionists in the NHS has grown faster than in any other sector.

The reason for this expansion is the development of programmes such as Sure Start, establishment of Health and Wellbeing Boards, new funding streams and the impact of the National Service Frameworks (NSFs). Several NSF's require nutrition expertise either from Registered Dietitians (who must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council in order to work in the NHS) or Registered Nutritionists (registered with the Association for Nutrition).

For more information on working as a dietitian, please click here.

Roles for nutritionists 

Nutritionists can be employed in a range of roles within the NHS, including within Local Authorities, primary care organisations and NHS trusts, such as Public Health Directorates.

Such posts can be at:

1. Operational or public health practice level

For individuals with recent degree qualifications with or without experience, the job titles include:

  • community nutritionist
  • public health nutritionist
  • nutritionist
  • Sure Start or Early Start community nutritionist
  • Food for Health Adviser

Some new graduates in nutrition get a taste for work in the NHS as dietetic assistants or health care assistants. This is a very useful way to develop competency in the application of nutrition to professional practice. Such graduates may go on to study nutrition and/or dietetics at postgraduate level.

2. At senior or strategic level

For individuals with experience and, usually, with postgraduate qualifications, the job titles include:

  • public health information and policy manager
  • nutrition & dietetics coordinator
  • area or regional Five a Day coordinator
  • senior health promotion specialist
  • project lead - Stay Healthy Live Longer Project

Entry requirements and training

A range of courses in nutrition are available at undergraduate and postgraduate level. As well as full and part-time courses, it is possible to study via distance learning or to do a short course.

However, in order to become a registered nutritionist, you will normally need to obtain at least a BSc (Hons) in nutritional science.

To enter an undergraduate degree, you will need science subjects such as chemistry and /or biology at A level/Scottish Higher/Irish Leaving Certificate or equivalent. If you did not study science at school, you may be able to enter university after successfully completing a science access course instead. Course leaders or admissions tutors will advise you about entry requirements.

Details of undergraduate degree programmes can be obtained from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website.

For details of undergraduate and postgraduate courses accredited by the Association for Nutrition, please visit the Association for Nutrition website.

Support worker roles

There are opportunities to work in a range of support roles, alongside nutritionists and dietitians. At more senior support roles, staff may work as assistant practitioners.

Job vacancies

Vacancies for nutritionists, dietitians and support staff are advertised in a range of places including the NHS Jobs website and local press.

Further information

For further information about the work of nutritionists or for details of registration on the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists, university course accreditation and AfN Endorsed CPD contact:

The Association for Nutrition
28 Portland Place
London
W1B 1LR

Tel: 020 7921 8388
Website: http://www.associationfornutrition.org/
Email: enquiries@associationfornutrition.org