Since 2002, the number of jobs for nutritionists in the NHS has grown faster than in any other sector.
In November 2002, the British Dietetic Association and The Nutrition Society published jointly The Employment of Nutritionists in NHS Nutrition and Dietetic Departments - A Professional Development Guidance Document in order to encourage employment of more nutritionists to meet a demand that outstripped the supply of registered dietitians. This report sets out guidance for nutritionists on how to work safely within their Statement of Professional Conduct.
The reason for this expansion is the development of programmes, such as Sure Start, 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 Professions Council in order to work in the NHS) or registered nutritionists (registered with the Association for Nutrition) or public health nutritionists. For more information on working as a dietitian, please click here.
Nutritionists can be employed in a range of roles within the NHS, including within 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:
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 dietetics at postgraduate level.
2. At senior or strategic level
For individuals with experience and, usually, with postgraduate qualifications, the job titles include:
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.
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 full-time undergraduate courses accredited by the Association for Nutrition, please visit the Association's website.
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.
Vacancies for nutritionists, dietitians and support staff are advertised in a range of places including the NHS Jobs website and local press.
For further information about the work of nutritionists, contact:
The Nutrition Society
10 Cambridge Court
210 Shepherds Bush Road
You can also visit the Nutritionist Resource website, for more information about the work of nutritionists and the topic of nutrition.
For details of registration as a nutritionist and full-time course accreditation, contact:
The Association for Nutrition