How to Become a Nutritionist: Degree & No Degree

When researching how to become a nutritionist, it can be difficult to decide on the best option for you. To help put you on the right path to your new career, we’ll cover:

Are you ready to begin your new career? Enquire today about our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course or download our course prospectus to find out what else we have to offer. 

About the Role of a Nutritionist

How to become a nutritionist - role

Before we break down the steps to become a nutritionist, let’s discuss the role!

The main responsibility of a nutritionist is to educate the public on diet and nutrition, helping them live healthier lives. In addition to offering 1-on-1 support, nutritionists can also be responsible for shaping policies and guidelines.

According to Prospects, starting salaries for nutritionists are between £22,000 to £28,000 in the public sector and £23,000 to £30,000 in the private sector. Salaries will also vary depending on experience and location.

However, it’s important to mention nutritionists and dietitians aren’t the same. The main difference is dietitians can work with clients with medical illnesses while nutritionists can only provide general diet and lifestyle advice.

Check out our guide on the differences between a nutritionist and a dietician to find out more.

Step 1 - Decide How You Want to Qualify as a Nutritionist

How to become a nutritionist - qualifications

To become a nutritionist in the UK, there are 2 routes you can take:

While you don’t need a degree in nutrition to become a nutritionist, some choose to pursue this route to study the subject at a deeper academic level. However, the cost and duration of studying this way is something to carefully consider.

For example, if you study a Nutrition BSc at the University of Leeds, this will take three years to complete on average. As you can see below, it will also cost £9,250 a year, this means you’ll be paying back £27,750 when you complete your studies:

How to become a nutritionist without a degree - leeds

However, by studying a vocational course in Level 4 Advanced Sports Nutrition, the fees and time it takes to qualify will be significantly reduced. For instance, studying with OriGym means you can be qualified on average in 12 weeks and our course costs just £999!

There are also no prerequisites to enrol on our nutrition course, compared to university degrees which most commonly require A-Levels or equivalent academic qualifications. 

Most university degrees are studied in person, requiring students to either move or commute during their studies. As we have the option of studying entirely online, you can study at your own pace in the comfort of your own home.


Become a Qualified Sports Nutritionist!

Kickstart an exciting new career with OriGym's Advanced Sports Nutrition Qualification!

If taking the vocational route to become a nutritionist, you must ensure your course is regulated by an Ofqual-approved awarding body such as Focus Awards.

  • Ofqual: Regulate qualifications, examinations, and assessments in England. Having this regulation ensures the same standard of training regardless of the course provider you decide on.
  • Focus Awards: Provides the certification to the student, should you see this advertised it means that the educational provider meets the educational standards to receive their endorsement. 

The bottom line is to decide on the type of qualification you want and the length of time you want to study for.

Step 2 - Decide on Your Type of Employment as a Nutritionist

how to become a nutritionist - employment type

After qualifying, it’s important to decide on an employment route that works for you.

For example, once you become a nutritionist you can pursue full-time contracted roles in:

  • Public Health
  • Private Health
  • Clinical Nutrition 
  • The Sports & Exercise Industry
  • The Food Industry

From planning meals in schools and hospitals to conducting research for the government, nutritionists can take on a variety of enriching responsibilities.  

Whilst working in the public sector can be highly emotionally rewarding, it has been noted that nutritionists who work privately earn a significantly higher wage. This is just another factor to consider when deciding how you wish to work.

how to become a qualified nutritionist - employment

Alternatively, you may decide to become self-employed, the benefits of which include:

  • Flexible working hours
  • Setting your own prices
  • Take on clients from around the world
  • Have control over your own brand

Being self employed will involve working with clients on a 1-on-1 basis. Depending on the type of nutritionist you are, the responsibilities of this role will include:

  • Selling meal plans
  • Conducting online consultations
  • Providing nutritional advice and guidance

Setting up an online business has proven to be one of the most lucrative methods of self-employment. If you’d like to pursue this role yourself, please refer to the list of curated articles below: 

Step 3 - Secure Your First Clients as a Nutritionist

How to become a qualified nutritionist - secure clients

As a self-employed nutritionist it’s crucial to advertise your business in order to secure your clients. There are many ways in which you can do this, such as creating social media accounts, designing a website, and paying for Ads across platforms like Facebook and Google.

Our guide about how to get nutrition clients provides 11 tips to market yourself successfully.

As a nutritionist, it’s also vital to cover yourself with insurance when dealing with the public.

The two most important types of insurance for nutritionists include:

How to become a qualified nutritionist - insurance

When becoming a nutritionist it’s important to insure yourself as these policies can protect you in the event a client makes a claim against you. Failure to legally protect yourself could result in severe fines and even jail time in serious instances. 

Step 4 - Expand Your Client List as a Nutritionist

How to become a qualified nutritionist uk - expand client list

After you become a nutritionist, it’s important to continue expanding your client list. You can do this by completing Advanced Level 4 Courses or personal training qualifications.

Advanced certifications that can be combined with your nutrition qualification is a great way to attract new clients and separate yourself from the competition by offering services they don’t.

Let’s explore how these qualifications can benefit you as a nutritionist!

Personal Trainer Diploma

While it’s not a requirement to be qualified as a Level 2 Fitness Instructor or Level 3 Personal Trainer to become a nutritionist, this is a great way to expand your client list and deepen your health & fitness knowledge. 

By being both a personal trainer and nutritionist, you can help clients reach their goals faster and also offer your service as packages to include both training programmes and meal plans.


Become a Qualified Sports Nutritionist!

Kickstart an exciting new career with OriGym's Advanced Sports Nutrition Qualification!

Level 4 Obesity & Weight Management

This qualification allows you to deliver tailored exercise programmes for overweight clients, helping them maintain long-term weight loss and improve their quality of life. This is a great way to expand your client pool by extending your services beyond fitness.

Level 4 Diabetes Control & Weight Management

As reactive and preventive measures are becoming increasingly important with the rise of diabetes in the general public, this is another way to offer your services. By creating training programmes for this demographic, you can offer help to those who really need it.

Ready to Begin Your Career as a Nutritionist?

As one of the UK’s leading and most trusted vocational training providers, we help health & fitness enthusiasts reach their full potential to secure their dream careers.

You can take your first steps towards this role through the completion of our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course! Alternatively, to learn more about how this qualification can set you up for future success, be sure to download our FREE prospectus!

Written by James Brady

Fitness Writer & Enthusiast

James graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. His desire to find a place where he could combine his passion for writing and love of fitness is what brought him to OriGym. He believes his passion for daily exercise, especially running, is imperative in keeping him motivated and productive. As a result, he has a particular interest in the psychology of health and fitness and the relationship between physical and mental health. Outside of work, James enjoys reading, swimming, writing short stories, watching classic movies and has a keen interest in journalism and filmmaking.

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