What do Dietitians do?
Dietitians are healthcare professionals who are qualified in dietetics. They understand how bodies and nutrition work together to provide maximum nourishment and benefit to our bodies. Licensed to assess and diagnose nutritional problems, then treat patients by adjusting their diets and eating habits.
If you’re great with people, have a healthy lifestyle and outlook, combined with a desire to help others, a career in dietetics could be perfect for you.
- Compassionate, good listener and excellent communicator
- Good with numbers to accurately calculate calories, body fat percentages, BMI etc
- Problem solver with a flexible approach and persuasive manner
- Assess patient or client health and diet, diagnose nutritionally related problems
- Create customised diet plans and menus that cover all nutritional requirements, taking into account medical conditions and personal preferences
- Monitor food preparation, intake and their effects, charting patients progress
- Consult with other health professionals and related workers
- Educate and inform through policies, reports, face-to-face contact (e.g. meetings, workshops, public speaking)
- Keep up to date with current information, advice and practises
Dietitian’s salary (average) $81,000 per year
(Source: au.indeed.com) variable, depending on where you work and your level of experience.
Job growth in dietetics is very strong (source: Joboutlook.gov.au)
This is a highly competitive field to enter, so it’s recommended that you get lots of work experience and network within the industry to help secure some of the top spots.
How to become a Dietitian in Australia
It can take as little as 4.5 years from leaving Year 12 to becoming a fully qualified dietitian depending on the pathway you choose.
Step 1 – Study Mathematics, chemistry, biology, and health at school
Step 2 – Complete your university qualifications in a dietetics related program –research and consider taking an accredited qualification e.g. 4-year Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Griffith, this pathway could make you eligible for entry level roles in the industry.
Or, complete a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant area (3 or 4 years), then complete a Master’s degree e.g. 2-year Masters of Dietetics at Monash which could make you eligible for professional entry roles.
Step 3 – Complete required work experience / internships (20 weeks) and clinical placements
Step 4 – Apply for accreditation through the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA)
You may also be required to obtain a National Police Check, First aid certificate, up to date immunisations and a Working with Children Check.
Find out more here –
Similar Careers to Dietitian
Clinical Dietitian (work in hospital settings with acute patients)
Management Dietitian (work in schools, hospitals, prisons, aged care facilities etc working to feed large groups of people on a budget)
Public Health Educators
Health & Welfare Services Manager
Health & Wellness Coach
Find out more about alternative careers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
What is the role of a dietitian?
Typically they assess patient or clients nutritional and health needs. Inform them about nutrition issues and healthy eating habits. Develop meal and nutrition plans, taking preferences and budgets into account.
How long does it take to become a practising dietitian?
To qualify for entry level positions in Australia it takes around 4 years from leaving high school (Year 12).
Where do dietitians work?
Dietitians work in a variety of settings including hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, private practices, schools, prisons, community services and public health settings, sports, and within the food industry.
Do I need to go to university to become a dietitian?
Yes, you’ll need to complete a relevant degree, undertake work experience and apply for accreditation from the DAA.
What’s the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist?
Although dietitians and nutritionists work in similar areas, nutritionists are not a regulated profession in Australia. Both are able to offer some services such as educating people about healthy eating and advising on menu plans and dietary requirements.
Dietitians can offer more advanced services such as individual dietary counselling, medical nutrition therapy, group dietary therapy and food service management. Dietitians are qualified to help manage conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, food allergies and intolerances.