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
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
There are also opportunities for Dietitians to work outside of the NHS in a variety of different areas such as:
- food industry
- 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
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
- freelance work
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
Once qualified, there are a number of specialist areas in which you could work:
- community dietetics
- nutrition of the elderly person
- mental health
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
NHS Wales Careers
Publisher: National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare
Step into the NHS
Tel: 0345 6060655
Skills for Health
Skills for the health sector
Address: Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP
Tel: 0117 9221155
Medical Research Council (MRC)
Address: 14th Floor, One Kemble Street, London WC2B 4AN
Tel: 01793 416200
Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
Address: Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4BU
Tel: 0845 3006184
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
NHS Business Services Authority
British Dietetic Association (BDA)
Address: 5th Floor, Charles House, 148-9 Great Charles Street Queensway, Birmingham B3 3HT
Tel: 0121 2008080
Food Standards Agency (FSA)
Tel: 020 7276 8829
A Guide to Careers in Sport and Exercise Sciences
Publisher: British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences
People Exchange Cymru (PEC)
Public sector recruitment portal for Wales