Do you want to learn about the increasing interest in food we eat and how it affects our health, increases well being and how improvement on the food chain can reduce the environmental impact? Nutritionists and Dieticians are playing a major role in keeping people and the planet healthy. Graduates will often find a career in the food industry as dieticians, nutritionists both in the NHS and private health sectors, nutrition-researchers or nutrition experts that advise agricultural farmers that produce food for local shops and global markets. They also go on to start their own business in a health-related capacity or even as a personal trainer.
Nutrition and Dietetics are related and overlapping fields of study. Human nutrition explores food choice and consumption, the digestion and metabolism of food into nutrients and the effect that nutrients have on our physical, social and mental wellbeing. It prepares students to use advanced knowledge about food and nutrition to help prevent and treat disease and maintain and promote health. Graduates of Nutrition and Dietetics BSc. (Hons) degrees will need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HPC) to work in the UK.
What are the university entry requirements for Nutrition and Dietetics degrees?
To apply to universities for Nutrition and Dietetics degrees, you should have, or be working towards achieving, a relevant Access to HE Diploma in Health Science. Or, alternatively, 3 A Levels with at least one in a pure science area (Biology, Human Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths). Universities can advise on their particular entry requirements and they also publish these on the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) website.
With the A Level route, you may also be expected to have a minimum of 5 GCSEs. With the Access to HE Diploma route, you are normally only required to have GCSEs in English and Maths at Grade C or above.
Access to HE Diplomas are normally aimed towards adults 18+ returning to education or wishing to change to a new career. There are no upper age limits. The Diploma qualification is viewed as being equivalent to 3 A Levels. Access to HE can be studied from home via online learning or at a local college.
There are many websites that track university performance in all subject areas. Students are encouraged to research carefully which university has a good track record in the particular degree course they are interested in. It is also worth looking into the department that you are applying to and see what facilities are available, what sort of placements are on offer and the student satisfaction rate for each degree course.
What do Nutritionists and Dietitians do?
Dietitians and nutritionists plan food and nutrition programs, supervise meal preparation, and oversee the serving of meals. They prevent and treat illnesses by promoting healthy eating habits and recommending dietary modifications. For example, dietitians might teach a patient with high blood pressure how to use less salt when preparing meals, or create a diet reduced in fat and sugar for an overweight patient. They work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media, public relations, publishing, government and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). They advise and influence food and health policy across the spectrum from the government, to local communities and individuals.
What personal attributes are needed to become a Dietician?
- Organised and able to work under your own steam
- Dependable and a good communicator
- Compassionate and an interest in helping others
- Attention to detail and the ability to maintain relationships with care users
- A passion for health and healthy lifestyles
What are the pay and working conditions like?
- Starting salaries for qualified Dieticians in the NHS are from around £22,000 to £28,500
- With experience, they can expect to earn between £26,250 and £35,250
- Highly experienced employees in this field can earn up to £41,250
- The Government has recently announced a 6.5% increase in salaries across health sector employees over the next 3 years.
Dieticians in the NHS typically work 37.5 hours a week, which may include evenings and weekends. Cost of living payments are added for employees in some parts of the country. On-call allowances and overtime payments are paid in addition to the basic salary. Apart from working in the NHS, Dieticians are widely employed in other areas including the food industry, the media and in sports nutrition.
Did you know?
- The word dietetics originates from the Greek word diaita, meaning ‘way of life'. Nutrition has been part of the cause, cure and prevention of diseases from the earliest recorded history.
- Asparagus is a good source of vitamins A, C and E, B-complex vitamins, potassium and zinc.
- Eggs contain the highest quality food protein known. All parts of an egg are edible, including the shell, which has high calcium content.
- Mushrooms are the only non-animal natural source of vitamin D.
How is your degree funded?
Studying to become a Dietetic or Nutritionist allows you to apply for the standard student support package in the form of a student loan. Scholarships, bursaries or grants may also be available for example, through the university or your place of work.
If you would like to complete an online Access to Dietetics course to obtain the qualifications for entry onto a nursing degree course at university, please choose your payment options below or contact us for more information. Studying and achieving this qualification provides a flexible way of achieving as it is fully online and recognised and accepted by UK universities.