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Dietitian

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Summary of occupation

Dietitians help people improve their health by improving their diet. They can help people manage health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer and food allergies, as well as improve their general health. Dietitians educate people about healthy eating habits and help them to develop appropriate eating plans and menus. They may also work with the food industry, providing advice on developing new healthier products or improving the nutritional value of existing ones.

ANZSCO description: Applies the science of human nutrition to help people understand the relationship between food and health and make appropriate dietary choices to attain and maintain health, and to prevent and treat illness and disease. Registration or licensing is required in New Zealand.
Alternative names: Dietician, Nutritionist
Specialisations: Sports Dietitian
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A dietitian needs:

  • an interest in health and wellbeing
  • to be able to work as part of a team
  • to enjoy food and food preparation
  • good communication skills
  • good organisational skills
  • an interest in science.
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Working conditions

Dietitians may work in a number of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, private clinics, government departments and food production facilities. Some dietitians may travel to clients' homes to carry out consultations. In Western Australia most dietitians working in private practice are based in the Perth metropolitan area and surrounding suburbs, though there are some opportunities for work in larger regional centres. Most dietitians work regular office hours, though some may work weekends.

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Salary details

On average, dietitians, classified under nutrition professionals, can expect to earn between $1 250 and $1 499 per week ($65 000 and $77 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a dietitian develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Dietitians may use scales, tape measures and skin-fold calipers to measure a client's weight, body size and the fat content of their body. They may use books, charts and other aids to demonstrate healthy foods and preparation techniques. Some dietitians may use computers to create easy to read menus and eating plans for clients, as well as for general record keeping and administration.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a dietitian you need to complete an accredited dietetics course at university.

Curtin University offers a two year Master of Dietetics. Edith Cowan University offers a two year Master of Nutrition and Dietetics. Entry to a postgraduate course usually requires successful completion of an appropriate bachelor degree. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

The Dietitians Association of Australia accredits dietetics programs in Australia. Visit www.daa.asn.au for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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