As far as careers with a future go, being a nutritionist is definitely up there. The need for professionals passionate about good food and nutrition are needed now more than ever, to spread the word about the benefits of eating right and to help encourage, motivate and educate people on how to get the most out of their lives through a good diet.
There are rising concerns over the health of the Australian population, with growing obesity levels and the health- related effects being seen from poor diet evident right across the country. If you’re a good food warrior and love spreading the message of the miracles of eating a nutritious and balanced diet; then a career in this rewarding profession is for you.
What is a Nutritionist?
A nutritionist is concerned with promoting, educating and encouraging members of the public to engage with healthy- eating and wellbeing practices to create a better lifestyle and get the most out of their lives. Working in the food and nutrition industry is very rewarding, as you’ll be able to direct impact the lives of the community and help shape their lives for the better. Nutritionist jobs are not only rewarding, as you’ll be responsible for improving the health of all those you come in contact with; but it’s also a very crucial and in-demand occupation.
The job outlook for nutritional professions is considerable stable, with likely growth continuing to be very high over the next few years. For instance, the likely employment growth for dietitians in Australia over the next five years is predicted to be very strong.
Dietitian vs Nutritionist
While nutritionists and dieticians operate in similar areas and perform very similar jobs; the main difference separating the two is the qualifications held. A nutritionist typically holds a tertiary qualification in food and nutrition, such as a Diploma in Public Health, Food Science or Nutrition. In Australia, all Dietitians can be considered nutritionists, however, nutritionists cannot be considered dietitians without having a dietetics qualification.
A dietitian course is often more focused on research, evidence-based practice and clinical and medical nutritional therapy as well as food and nutrition. On the other hand, nutritionist courses are more concerned with understanding the role of nutrition and food to health and wellbeing and applying this to help promote healthy eating practices to the community and clients in private practice.
About the Industry
Nutritionists are always in need, in fact, there are currently over 6,000 nutritionists working throughout Australia in a diverse range of sectors including research, fitness, public health and promotion, food production and education. Job prospects for this industry tend to be higher in more populated areas such as New South Wales and Victoria.
If you’re section entering the industry, you’re in luck. According to the Government’s Job Outlook data, employment in nutrition has grown by almost 6% over the past five years, with the average salary being just over $73,000.
The areas of work for a nutritionist or dietician are also very broad, with positions being available in community practices, clinics, research, sports nutrition as well as food production. There’s also a rise in the number who are self-employed and operate in a mobile practice through delivering their consultations in clients homes.
What Do You Do in the Role?
Nutritionists and related health professionals need to be committed, analytical and passionate about everything to do with health and wellbeing. Some of the roles and responsibilities needed in a nutritionist job include;
- Understand the effects of food on a person’s health
- Give recommendations and dietary requirements
- Analyse and develop nutrition plans
- Take a holistic view of health and wellbeing
- Educate and advise clients on areas of health and nutrition
- Monitor progress and evaluate effects
- Consult with health professionals in other related areas such as sports science
How to Become a Nutritionist
As there’s no real regulatory body governing nutrition professionals in Australia, the best thing to do is to get a nutrition qualification that’s recognised by either the nutrition Society of Australia (NSA) or alternatively; the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).
Most professionals in food and nutrition undergo a great breadth of qualifications to enter the industry. One of the most popular courses is a Bachelor in Food and Nutrition. A nutrition course such as this could lead to careers as a Nutritionist, Dietician, Allied Health Worker or even a Health Educator.
Nutritionists are also employed in many different areas, including private practices, research, science, food production, public health, education and consultancy and business.
Do you Have What It Takes to Work in the Food and Nutrition Industry in Australia?
A career in the health and wellness sector isn’t for anyone, but if you’ve got the motivation and the passion for promoting health and want to better the lives of your clients, this is the job for you. Some of the other needs that can go a long way to shaping a successful career include:
- Have a love for food and eating healthy
- Interested in wellbeing and exercise
- Analytical and observant
- Interest in research
If this has only reaffirmed your drive to pursuing a career as a nutritionist, then you’re on the right path. This rewarding and often challenging job has many opportunities to develop a successful career. To expand your knowledge, make sure to explore the range of training options available, such as a Bachelor of Food and Nutrition and start working towards your dream today!