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Medical

Dietitian

Dietitians diagnose and treat people with nutrition problems, and help people make healthy lifestyle and dietary decisions.

Annual Salary

£25,654 to £40,056

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 a week

You could work: weekends; occasionally

5.7%
Future employment

There will be 5.7% more Dietitian jobs in 2026.

Day to day tasks

In this role you could:

  • assess the nutritional needs of individuals, families or groups
  • create treatment plans to improve nutrition and overall health
  • give practical and sensitive dietary advice, tailored to people's needs
  • monitor people's progress towards healthy eating targets
  • create and update confidential, clinical records

In a hospital, you could:

  • specialise in an area like children's health, renal dietetics or cancer care
  • run clinics for people with diabetes or eating disorders, like anorexia or bulimia
  • work with catering services to create menus for patients with a range of dietary needs

In the community, you may:

  • raise awareness of the importance of healthy eating
  • run health promotion workshops
  • advise people who lack confidence, are experiencing mental ill health, or are on a low income

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital, in the community, at a research facility or at a health centre.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
University

You'll need a degree or postgraduate qualification in dietetics or human nutrition, accredited by the British Dietetic Association.

You may be able to take a postgraduate course if you already have a degree with an acceptable level of human physiology and biochemistry.

You may be able to get additional student financial support through the NHS Learning Support Fund.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology or chemistry
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information
Apprenticeship

You may be able to do a dietitian degree apprenticeship.

This typically takes 48 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and academic study at an approved university.

On successful completion you will be eligible for full membership of the British Dietetic Association.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, preferably including biology, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information
Work

You could work as a dietetic assistant and study part-time for a degree to qualify as a dietitian.

Volunteering and work experience

You'll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in the health or care sector before you apply for a course.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.

You can also find volunteering opportunities through The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Do IT.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

When applying for courses and apprenticeships, you'll be expected to have an understanding of how NHS values apply in your work.

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join organisations like the British Dietetic Association for training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You'll find more advice about becoming a dietitian from the British Dietetic Association and Health Careers.

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With experience you could become a team leader or department manager.

You could also become self-employed.

You might take further training to use your skills in education, manufacturing, research, journalism, marketing, advertising or public relations.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • active listening skills
  • knowledge of biology
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work on your own
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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