Dietician

Current Dietician Vacancies »

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What is a Dietitian and How do I become Qualified?

Dietetics is concerned with interpreting and communicating the science of nutrition, to help people make informed and practical decisions both about the food the consume and their lifestyle, in regards health and disease.

A Dietitian (also spelt Dietician) will be trained in hospital and community settings and will have a recognised degree, MSc or post graduate diploma in nutrition and dietetics. Most Dietitians are employed in the NHS, but work is also found in the food industry, education & research.

A Registered Dietitian will interpret the science of nutrition into language about food that the every-day person can appreciate and understand. A Dietitian applies the science of nutrition to individuals and to population groups, to promote the well being of persons and communities, and therefore aims to prevent nutrition related difficulties.

Dietitians are also involved in the diagnoses and dietary treatment of disease and work with people who have special dietary needs. The Dietitian will aim to give unbiased advice, to assess and improve treatments and to educate individuals, health professionals and community groups about nutrition.

HCPC State registered Dietitians work in a variety of settings; in the NHS within hospitals or in the community as Dietitians, health educators or as managers. Both hospital and community Dietitians educate people who need special diets as part of their medical treatment, for example patients with:

  • Diabetes
  • Eating disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • Food allergies
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Metabolic disorders

In these ways a Dietitian will play a vital role in health promotion.

A State Registered Dietitian will have an interest in science, people and food. As a result of their in-depth training, they will be able to communicate with people from all areas of the community, explain complex things simply, have a positive and motivating attitude.

Entry requirements:

The term Dietitian is a Protected Title in the UK and any person claiming to be a Dietition must be registered as such with the Health Professions Council (HCPC). This means first obtaining either a BSc in dietetics or a postgraduate qualification, if your first degree is in an appropriate subject.

Dietetic courses must be approved by the HCPC. For the degree course, you will need five GCSEs, or the equivalent, including maths and English, and at least two relevant A levels or equivalents. At least one science is usually required. Alternative qualifications, such as an approved access course may be acceptable as an alternative to A’ levels. It is essential to check the entry requirements of the university/universities to which you wish to apply.

Training programmes:

Dietitian training - both the four year university degree course and the two year postgraduate course - involve theory and practice.

Career prospects:

As a qualified, experience, Dietitian you could go on to specialise in a clinical area, such as oncology or gastroenterology, or to work with particular groups, such as elderly people or those with learning difficulties. Teaching Dietetics or health education are also options, or you could take on a management role, eventually being responsible for controlling a budget and planning and marketing a Dietetic service.

Funding:

Universities have a number of NHS-funded places for degree-level students. If you are offered one of these, then your share of the tuition fees will be paid for you. You would also be eligible for a reduced rate, non-means tested student loan and might be eligible for a means-tested NHS bursary.

Further information:

For more information on careers as a Dietitian, contact:

The British Dietetic Association
5th Floor, Charles House
148/149 Great Charles Street
Queensway
Birmingham
B3 3HT

Tel: 0121 200 8080
Fax: 0121 200 8081
Email: info@bda.uk.com
Website: www.bda.uk.com

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