Understanding The Role Of A Dietitian: Work And Perks

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A dietitian is a healthcare career option worth digesting.

In Canada, opportunities for aspiring dietitians are more abundant than one might think. Check out this introduction to a dietitian’s role and learn some of the perks of the job.

Don’t get a dietitian confused with a nutritionist!

What exactly does a nutritionist do?

A nutritionist may have studied nutrition at a graduate level at an accredited institution.

In school nutritionists study food and the body. Nutritionists identify and help eliminate any health issues that may be stemming from certain foods. They can help food sensitivities or allergies and can also determine where any deficiencies in food intake may lie.

Drawing on their expert knowledge, nutritionists can make sure that you don’t miss out on any important food groups or nutrients.

How is that different from a dietitian?

Generally, dietitians are linked into the medical field and a visit to them will often be recommended by a doctor.

Dietitians will have obtained a degree from an accredited institution and must be licensed in order to practice. A dietitian might help plan food or nutrition programs to promote healthy eating or prevent or treat illness. To call themselves a dietitian, they must pass a nationally accredited exam that will register them as a dietitian. In Canada, the Canadian Dietetic Registration Exam is required by every project except Quebec.

Where could I get to work?

Job locations for dietitians aren’t limited to a hospital.

As a dietitian, you could be working in extended care facilities, public health centres, pharmaceuticals, education, the government, as a consultant or in the food and drink industry. The possibilities are endless!

What kinds of work can I do?

Being a dietitian doesn’t just include helping patients with gaining or losing or managing allergies. It can involve meal planning for busy families, athletes or those on a budget.

The chances of you being employed as a dietitian in North America are generally pretty good thanks to aging populations meaning the need for dietitians rising. There’s also a growing consciousness about healthy eating, meaning people might be coming to you for advice more often.

You could end up writing food columns for different media outlets, developing recipes or even cookbooks!

Where can I go to school to become a nutritionist or a dietitian?

If you want to work as a nutritionist or dietitian in Canada then you’ll need either a master’s or bachelor’s degree in dietetics, nutrition, food and nutritional science or biochemistry.

Working as a dietitian or nutritionist in Canada is an extremely rewarding career for anyone looking to hatch their career in healthcare. It’s well worth investigating if you’re passionate about food and want to use that passion to help others!

Learn more about careers in healthcare in TalentEgg’s Healthcare Career Guide!

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About the author

Rosie Hales was an Editorial and Marketing intern at TalentEgg in the summer of 2013. She recently hatched her career in Communications at her alma mater, Queen's University. Follow her on Twitter @rosieehales.