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How to become a dietitian in Australia: careers in nutrition

Dietitians work with individuals, groups and communities to assist the to understand the links between groups and health. They generally work in research, public outreach or in healthcare settings. Unlike nutritionists, dietitians can enter private practice to provide medical nutrition therapy. Dietitians need to be accredited, and need a postgraduate qualification in dietetics as well as qualifications in food and nutrition in order to practise in Australia.
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Pathways

Being a dietitian: daily duties

Dietitians roles vary depending on the environment they are working in. Generally they evaluate the needs of patients and provide advice and diet plans to address their health issues. They work with individual clients, families, groups and can also be involved in teaching and public education. Some dietitians carry out research on food and illness and contribute to public policy development. Other dietitians work alongside food service industry professionals to ensure they meet particular nutritional targets for food.

Tasks:

  • Assess client needs and prepare diet plans
  • Educate people on relationship between food and health
  • Undertake research on links between food, health and disease
  • Contribute to policy development
  • Work with food industry providers on food preparation
Skills

Being a dietitian: skills for success

Because of the contact they have with other people, including patients, the general public and other health professionals and academics, dietitians need to have great interpersonal and communication skills. They need a comprehensive understanding of the science relating to food, nutrition and illness. An understanding and insight into public health policy and solid research skills are also desirable. Good organisational skills is also an advantage.
Skills/attributes
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Research and evaluation skills
  • Organisational abilities
  • Understanding of dietetics, nutrition and food science
Specs

Specialised roles within nutrition

Dietitians are already highly specialised professionals so there is only limited opportunity for further specialisation after qualification. However there is scope for movement into management positions, health promotion roles and public policy positions.
  • Management
    Some dietitians op t to move into management roles, either leading a team within an organisation or setting up their own private practice. These roles involve a range of tasks in addition to the day-to-day work of a dietitian, including staff management and training, recruitment, budgeting and financial oversight, building maintenance and leases as well as advertising and marketing.
  • Health promotion
    Dietitians who enjoy the education aspects of their jobs may decide to move into the health promotion field. These roles involve public education, preparing and delivering presentations, designing and marketing public health campaigns.
  • Public policy
    Government and non-government organisations require firm policies on food, nutrition and health. Dietitians who have an interest in policy development can be a fantastic asset to these organisations.
Pathways

Educational pathways for dietitians

A postgraduate dietetics qualification is required to become a professional dietitian in Australia, in addition to a qualification in health or nutrition science.
  • Start your career
    Build your knowledge base and gain a basic understanding of nutritional fundamentals.
  • Strengthen your skills
    Accredited training in human nutrition and health science will improve your professional prospects.
  • Build your resume
    Kick your carer goals with a range of specialised study options designed to expand your horizons.
  • Industry requirements
    To work as an accredited practicing dietitian in Australia, you need to register with the Dietitians Association of Australia.
  • Finding Work
    Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your nutrition career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
  • Employment Prospects
    There has been a growth in demand for dietitians in Australia in recent years, which is predicted to grow strongly in the future.

Resources for dietitians

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