Nutritionist: job description
Nutritionists generally work in a preventative role on a one-to-one and a group basis with patients of all ages. Unlike dieticians who primarily work with people who are ill, nutritionists mostly work with people who are healthy.
Key responsibilities of the job include:
- researching how the body's functions are affected by nutrient supply
- investigating the relationship between genes and nutrients
- studying how diet affects metabolism
- examining the process of nourishment and the association between diet, disease and health
- providing health advice and promoting healthy eating
- advising about special diets
- educating health professionals and the public about nutrition
- working as part of a multi-disciplinary team/supporting the work of other health care professionals.
- national and local government (health and food departments)
- food and animal feed manufacturers and retailers
- media, PR and marketing.
A small number of vacancies arise for appropriately qualified/experienced nutritionists to work for emergency relief and development projects overseas - advertisements for such opportunities appear on the RedR UK website. Jobs are advertised online, by careers services and recruitment agencies, in newspapers and in specialist publications. The Nutrition Society advertises vacancies on their website.
To become a nutritionist it is necessary to gain a degree in nutritional science, dietetics, or food science; or alternatively a life sciences degree that incorporates human physiology and biochemistry.
A postgraduate qualification in nutrition can be helpful and is essential for candidates without a suitable first degree in nutrition or dietetics. Employers may also require specific science A levels. Relevant work experience can be advantageous and can provide a useful insight into the profession.
- team working skills
- good interpersonal skills
- communication skills
- an understanding of biochemistry/human physiology.