The Difference Between a Nutritionist and Dietician
Nutritionists and dieticians have a lot in common, but these roles aren’t interchangeable. Both professions are involved with helping people achieve their health goals through food education, but there are many factors that set them apart.
If you’re interested in advising people on dietary and nutritional issues, you may have what it takes to become a nutritionist or dietician. The field of food science is incredibly broad, offering a range of career opportunities to qualified professionals. To ensure you choose the right career path for your interests and ambitions, Foundation Education can help you understand the difference between a dietician and nutritionist.
What do nutritionists do?
Nutritionists specialise in providing evidence-based advice and services related to nutrition. Through regular appointments, nutritionists help clients understand the link between diet and health so they can make more informed decisions around food and live a healthier lifestyle.
Nutritionists generally work with clients on an individual basis, although they also work with groups with a specific aim (e.g. weight loss). From treating chronic disease and assisting with weight loss to informing public health policy, nutritionists can specialise in a range of areas related to health care.
Unlike dieticians, nutritionists in Australia aren’t required to hold a formal qualification before commencing work. The less regulated nature of the nutritionist profession sets it apart from the dietician field. Despite this, many nutritionists still have a qualification in Nutrition.
Even though you don’t have to study to become a nutritionist, doing so could improve your chances of advancing your career in this field. Courses that have a specialty in Nutrition, like the HLT43015 Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (Nutrition and Dietetics Specialisation), are designed to develop your understanding of the relationship between food and health, allowing you to provide expert advice on nutrition.
What do dieticians do?
Like nutritionists, dieticians are trained to offer advice broadly related to nutritional health. However, they have additional expertise that allows them to provide services like dietary counselling, medical nutritional therapy, and advice on food service management.
From clinics and hospitals to food service and government departments, dieticians work in many different settings. The day-to-day responsibilities of a dietician can vary between different specialisations, but their primary goal is to improve health outcomes in clients by providing them with evidence-based dietary advice.
To call yourself an accredited dietician in Australia, you must have undergone university-level studies. The HLT43015 Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (Nutrition and Dietetics Specialisation) caters for aspiring dieticians by teaching students how to:
- Conduct health care program activities related to nutrition
- Assess a patient’s physical health and recommend treatment options
- Interpret and apply medical terminology
- Follow the necessary safe work practices to deliver a high standard of direct client care.
This course includes a practical work placement within an allied health professional setting, so you can get hands-on experience.
If you’d like to take the first step towards building a career in helping people live healthier lifestyles, browse all our health courses today. For advice on how to enrol, contact the Foundation Education team on 1300 616 197. And to learn more about different health care professionals, check out this article.