Nutritional therapist: job description

Nutritional therapist: job description

Nutritional therapists advise about and treat a wide range of medical conditions by assessing patients' requirements for food, vitamins and minerals while taking general health, well-being and lifestyle into consideration to provide holistic treatments.
Creating personalised nutrition plans is a key task for nutritional therapists.

What does a nutritional therapist do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Nutritional therapists work with adults and children who are suffering from complaints such as depression, anxiety, learning difficulties, asthma, skin disease, fatigue, weight problems, arthritis, physical, psychiatric and neurological disorders, and migraines.

Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • booking and undertaking confidential one-to-one consultations with clients
  • gaining information from clients about previous dietary and lifestyle history
  • analysing and interpreting laboratory test results
  • assessing and planning treatment requirements
  • recommending appropriate nutritional supplements and diets
  • providing education, information and advice about lifestyle, exercise, diet and nutrition
  • creating and keeping accurate confidential records and reports
  • tracking progress of clients on treatment plans
  • undertaking general administrative and business management tasks
  • attending conferences and training events
  • keeping up to date with developments in the profession
  • marketing and promoting the business
  • undertaking financial administration

Typical employers of nutritional therapists

  • Private practices
  • Specialist clinics
  • Complementary healthcare clinics

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into a career in nutritional therapy for both graduates and school leavers.

A degree in a relevant subject (for example chemistry, biology, medicine, nursing, nutrition, dietetics, health studies, food science and technology) can be beneficial. It is also advantageous to possess a strong science background (A levels in chemistry, biology, physiology, anatomy or food science are often required).

Nutritional therapy courses are offered at diploma, degree and postgraduate level at a number of universities and colleges. Relevant experience is not normally needed, although course providers may expect knowledge of the profession.

For more information on how you can get into a career in this area via a school leaver route, see the science section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Professional regulation and accreditation is dealt with the Nutritional Therapy Education Commission. The Nutritional Therapy Council and the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy are professional bodies for registered nutritional therapists.

Key skills for nutritional therapists

  • Interactive skills
  • Innovation
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Planning skills
  • Communication skills
  • Analytical and information skills