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  • Two men are sitting in chairs next to each other.  One of the men is pinching the other man's arm with a measuring device.

    This dietitian is using skin-fold callipers to measure the client's lean body mass.

  • A man is sitting in a wheelchair.  Four people are gathered around him, talking.

    Dietitians often work as a team with other health professionals.

  • A woman is lying on a bed with a tube leading from her arm into a machine at the side of the bed.  A woman in a nurse's uniform is standing by the machine.  Another woman, wearing a white lab coat, is sitting on the bed, talking to the patient and writing on a clipboard.

    A patient with kidney disease on dialysis receives individually tailored advice from a kidney specialist dietitian.

  • Two women are sitting at a table in a small office.  They are talking and looking at a leaflet.

    Showing a patient a health promotion leaflet.

  • A woman is sitting at a desk in an office.  She is speaking on a telephone and looking at a computer screen.

    Arranging to visit a local school to give advice about healthy eating.

  • Two women are sitting on chairs, talking.  One of the women is holding a baby.  The other is holding a sheet of paper and a pen.

    A children's (paediatric) dietitian discusses growth and development with a mother.

  • A man and a woman are kneeling on the floor of a small room.  They are kneeling next to a chart, which is spread out on the ground.  The chart features a large circle, divided in to coloured segments.  Various different food types have been placed within each segment.

    Using the chart to advise a patient about healthy eating.

  • A woman is kneeling on the floor of a small room.  She is next to a chart, which is spread out on the ground.  The chart features a large circle, divided in to coloured segments.

    Preparing a chart that shows food groups.

  • Dietitian

Dietitian

Introduction

As a Dietitian, you will be an expert on diet and nutrition. You will be skilled in taking scientific information about food and health and putting it in ways that everyone can understand. You will support hospital patients, train other medical staff, and promote healthy eating in the community. You might also be involved in many other areas, including sport, the food industry, research and education.

Video: - Laura: Dietitian

Video: - Julia: Dietitian

Work Activities

As a Dietitian you'll translate the science of nutrition into everyday information about food.

You'll help individuals with their personal nutrition, and promote the well-being of individuals and communities to prevent nutrition related problems. You will also be involved in the diagnosis and dietary treatment of disease.

Dietitians have a wide range of responsibilities including:

  • informing the general public about nutrition
  • offering unbiased advice
  • evaluating and improving treatments
  • educating patients/clients, other healthcare professionals and community groups

As a Dietitian, you could work in a number of areas, many of which are in hospitals or in the community. Hospital and Community Dietitians educate people who need special diets as part of their medical treatment including patients with:

  • kidney disease
  • food allergies
  • eating disorders
  • diabetes
  • HIV/AIDS

There are also opportunities for Dietitians to work outside of the NHS in a variety of different areas such as:

  • food industry
  • education
  • research
  • business
  • charities
  • media
  • freelance work

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Dietitian you'll need to have:

  • an interest in science, people and food
  • the ability to communicate with people from all areas of the community
  • the ability to explain complex things simply
  • a positive and motivating attitude
  • an understanding and caring personality

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

NHS employees are paid on a rising scale within defined pay bands, according to their skills and responsibilities. The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Band 5: £24,214 - £30,112

Hours of work

Dietitians usually work 35-36.5 hours a week, Monday to Friday, and might be required to be on-call or work in the evening or at weekends. There are opportunities for part-time work and job-sharing.

Where could I work?

The NHS is the main employer, but you will also find opportunities in the following areas:

  • food industry
  • education
  • research
  • business
  • charities
  • media
  • freelance work

Self-employment

There are opportunities for Dietitians to become self-employed in independent practice.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on the NHS Jobs website, in local/national newspapers and on job boards.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes and training

To become a Dietitian, you will need to study for a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree in dietetics. The degree course must be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

For entry to an accredited degree course, you will need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, including chemistry or biology
  • GCSEs at grade C or 4 and above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2 or 3 GCSEs, including English and maths

The Welsh Government funds the education and training for a range of health professional education courses, (details of the specific courses can be found at: http://www.nwssp.wales.nhs.uk/undergraduate-education). To be eligible for a bursary you must commit to working in Wales following completion of your programme.

More information about the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme can be accessed on the Student awards Services website: http://www.nwssp.wales.nhs.uk/course-starts-on-or-after-1-september-20

Progression

Once qualified, there are a number of specialist areas in which you could work:

  • paediatrics
  • community dietetics
  • nutrition of the elderly person
  • oncology
  • mental health

Work Experience

Previous experience working in a caring role such as in a care home or in a hospital would be really useful for this career.

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act

Working as a registered Dietitian is an exception to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must supply information to an employer about any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, if they ask you to.

This is different from other careers, where you only have to reveal information on unspent convictions if you are asked to.

Qualifications

For entry to a degree course in dietetics and/or nutrition, the usual minimum requirement is:

  • 2/3 A levels, including chemistry or biology
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 and above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs (A*- C or 9 - 4), including English and maths

Equivalent qualifications, such as a BTEC level 3 qualification and the International Baccalaureate Diploma, might be acceptable for entry.

Please check college/university websites very carefully.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications you need to enter a degree in dietetics and/or nutrition, you might be able to start one after completing a college or university Access course, such as Access to Science. You don't usually need any qualifications to start an Access course, although you should check this with the course provider.

Accelerated two-year postgraduate degree courses are available for graduates with a relevant first (undergraduate) degree (having an acceptable level of human physiology and biochemistry).

Funding

To get financial support from the NHS, you need to meet certain criteria. If you meet the criteria and are on an approved course (leading to registration with the Health and Care Professions Council), you'll get a grant of £1,000 for each year of the course. You can also apply for a means-tested bursary of up to £4,395 each year (or more in London). For more information, see the NHS Business Services Authority website.

Candidates can also apply for funding from relevant charities.

Further Information

NHS Wales Careers

Publisher: National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare

Email: abm.wedsteam@wales.nhs.uk

Website: www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/829/page/36090

NHS Jobs

Website: www.jobs.nhs.uk

Step into the NHS

NHS careers

Tel: 0345 6060655

Website: www.stepintothenhs.nhs.uk

Skills for Health

Skills for the health sector

Address: Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP

Tel: 0117 9221155

Email: office@skillsforhealth.org.uk

Website: www.skillsforhealth.org.uk

Medical Research Council (MRC)

Address: 14th Floor, One Kemble Street, London WC2B 4AN

Tel: 01793 416200

Email: corporate@headoffice.mrc.ac.uk

Website: www.mrc.ac.uk

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Address: Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4BU

Tel: 0845 3006184

Email: education@hcpc-uk.org

Website: www.hcpc-uk.org

Allied Health Professions Support Service (AHPSS)

Address: AHPSS Resource Centre, University of East London, Stratford Campus, Water Lane, Stratford, London E15 4LZ

Tel: 020 8223 4950

Email: info@ahpss.com

Website: www.ahpss.co.uk

NHS Business Services Authority

Website: www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk

British Dietetic Association (BDA)

Address: 5th Floor, Charles House, 148-9 Great Charles Street Queensway, Birmingham B3 3HT

Tel: 0121 2008080

Email: info@bda.uk.com

Website: www.bda.uk.com

Food Standards Agency (FSA)

Tel: 020 7276 8829

Email: helpline@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Website: www.food.gov.uk

A Guide to Careers in Sport and Exercise Sciences

Publisher: British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Website: www.bases.org.uk/write/documents/BASES%20Career%20Guide%20revised%20edition%20Jan%202010.pdf

People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales

Email: peopleexchangecymru@gov.wales

Website: www.peopleexchangecymru.org.uk/home

Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith

Cymraeg

Welcome to Careers Wales

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