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Guide to Nutritionist Salary in the UK (2020) 

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Looking for the average nutritionist salary here in the UK?

If so, you’ll be glad to know that OriGym have put together a full guide explaining the ins and outs of the topic, rather than just leaving one statistic to cover each of the different nutritionist career paths (which is what most websites do!).

Let’s face it; salary is one of the most important things to consider when you’re facing a new career, so it’s important that you know as much as possible before taking the first steps. 

Interested in becoming a nutrition advisor? If so, check out our REPs recognised award in Advanced Sports Nutrition or download our latest prospectus before you carry on reading...

Average Nutritionist Salary in the UK 

Since this is something that is reported differently across the web depending on the type of role that it is referring to, we’ll start with what the top job websites are saying and take it from there! 

We want to give you a resource that is as accurate as it can be despite the vagueness surrounding nutritionist salaries, so stick with us for a better look after you’ve read over this section. 

As you can see here, the average salary for a nutritionist according to leading job websites is around £22-25k per annum

These statistics are apparently taken from the reported salaries of practising nutritionists that are members of the websites, as well those that are listed on currently advertised vacancies. If you're asking 'what is the starting salary for a nutritionist?', this should be one of the most accurate estimates that you will find online. 

 

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The problem with the information displayed on these sites is that you’re left with one statistic without any explanation as to how this salary can vary, how it can be improved, etc. 

One website that we did come across during our research that elaborates a little on the average salary of a nutritionist, including an explanation of what freelance nutritionists can expect to earn is the popular graduate careers website Prospects.ac.uk

This is an important thing for those looking at setting up their own business or working for multiple businesses at once to know, and unfortunately many sources on the web ignore this completely. 

In their article, Prospects do list more information than most sources do, and it’s certainly valuable when it comes to gaining a better idea of what both a full-time and part-time salary would look like:

what is a nutritionist salary

The good news is that this information does actually add up with that of the leading job websites, so you can rest-assured that the average salary is in fact around the £20-25k mark depending on experience and location (here in the UK, you’ll naturally earn more if you’re working in London). 

Freelance Nutritionist Salary 

According to Prospects, the average freelance nutritionist salary in the UK is:

£45 to £75 for an initial consultation, then £30 to £50 for each follow-up session.

From our experience, this sounds about right for those who are freelance or working part-time rather than working in a salaried role under another business or health system/organisation.

This of course depends on their experience, as someone just starting out in nutrition would charge towards the lower end of these figures, and likewise someone who had been in the field for years and had plenty of demonstrative experience would be able to charge a higher rate. 

It also depends on location, and what your competitors are charging. 

You don’t want your services to be the highest priced in your area, but you also don’t want to go ridiculously cheap as this could reflect badly on the quality of your services, and also make you significantly less income. 

If you’re a freelancer in London, you will also be able to charge more than someone operating outside of London. You can reach figures like £50 per hour with a mixture of experience and being based in a popular location (a city centre is your best bet). 

That being said, Prospects (along with the other websites out there) still fail to expand on how you can earn a top salary, even more so than those that hold a degree in Dietetics, but more on that later… 

Average Nutritionist Salary based on Work Environment

This is another statistic that is difficult to locate due to the fact that the terms ‘nutritionist’ and ‘dietician’ are used interchangeably across the web, as well as on job websites (which is incredibly unhelpful).

However, we’ve pieced together all of the information that we can find to give you an insight into the average salary of a nutritionist based on different work environments within the sector, or at least an indication of where you can expect to find yourself on the average salary scale depending on the career path that you take. 

Public Health/Hospital Nutritionist Salary 

If you’re working as a Public Health nutritionist, or a hospital nutritionist, then the salary that you earn could be different to that of a nutritionist who works in a sports and exercise environment (which would be closer to the freelance nutritionist salary). 

Here in the UK, you would usually be working for either the government or NHS England/an NHS trust to combat the rise in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc. 

According to Glassdoor who have salvaged this estimation from 134 salary declarations, the following figure is the closest that they can create: 

public health nutritionist salary image

It does come with a ‘low confidence’ tag, due to the fact that only a small proportion of people have submitted a declaration to their site for this particular role.

The best thing to do here is to jump straight onto a different job website (another leading one), in the hopes that they have managed to collect more data than Glassdoor. This is how we usually put together our average salaries, but as you can see it’s even more difficult with niche career paths! 

So, how does Glassdoor’s estimation match up with that of Indeed? 

Due to the website interface differing a little, it was harder to locate a more visual representation of the average Public Health nutritionist salary. However, here’s what we could see from one of the 12 roles listed as having the highest salary: 

Clearly this is significantly different from Glassdoor’s estimation, as is the average salary for those working in Public Health. However, there is a list that sections off the salaries of the roles that are currently being advertised, which shows the following statistics:

what is the average salary of a nutritionist image

There are 12 roles listed here above the £50,300 mark, yet the average salary listed on the currently advertised roles on Indeed is looking to be between £15,800 and £20,000. 

We hate to admit it, but this is probably the most accurate Public Health salary based on the number of roles that are listed in the lower-end bracket compared to those that are highly paid. 

However, this is probably due to the fact that most nutritionists working in Public Health will start out on a lower salary and slowly work their way up (as in most fields). Around the £20,000 mark would be a good starting point if you ask us, and it’s good to know that there are roles out there that start on a decent base salary!

Clinical Nutritionist Salary (Dietetics) 

According to the AfN (the most reliable source when it comes to learning what nutritionists are both able and not able to do), those who work in a clinical environment will work with those suffering with medical conditions ‘under the close supervision of a Dietician or other regulated health professional’. 

When working in public health, however, they will usually work behind the scenes helping with things such as constructing meal plans, etc. to assist with the prevention of these diseases, rather than working directly with those who already suffer from them. 

Anyhow, when it comes to a clinical nutritionist salary, PayScale.com report the following:

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While it’s not a solid statistic, it’s good to see that the ‘meal planning’ section (which is pretty applicable to this job role) is a little higher than the average salary on this platform. This indicates to us that a base clinical or hospital nutritionist salary is often a little higher than that of those who work in other environments, which makes sense if they’re working alongside Dieticians with patients suffering from medical conditions. 

School Nutritionist Salary 

We don’t want to get too repetitive here, but we’re aware that many people will be considering working with schools to improve the nutrition of children with the global battle on obesity intensifying. 

According to the House of Commons Library:

9.5% of reception age children (age 4-5) are obese, with a further 12.8% overweight. At age 10-11 (year 6), 20.1% are obese and 14.2% overweight.

With staggering figures such as these, it's clear to see why many of those interested in a nutrition career would be passionate about starting a role in this sector. 

While we can’t offer a solid statistic for a school nutritionist salary, especially since a role such as this could usually be classed as a government, public health, or freelance role, we can certainly say that a career and decent salary in this field is possible with the right experience. 

If you refer back to our research on the figures that public health and freelance nutritionists expect to earn, you will get a good idea of what you can expect to earn after you’ve worked in the field for a few years. 

How a nutritionist salary can change over time… 

When looking at the average salary for this job role, it’s easy to become a little disillusioned by what the job websites report, especially when you have big aspirations. 

But don’t write off this career path yet! 

One thing that these statistics don’t tell you is that the ‘average’ salary can be boosted in no time with relevant experience, and also thanks to a couple of other factors that we haven’t mentioned yet. 

For starters, these stats don’t take promotions into account. If you put a good amount of effort into your role and you’re incredibly passionate about it, then there’s no chance that you will be stuck on an ‘average’ salary for long, especially if you choose an environment where nutritionists are in high demand. 

People are also prone to leaving the sector when they fail to do a good job at marketing or retaining their clients, which is good news for those that spend time reading articles like this to grow their knowledge before jumping in at the deep end!

If you put all of your effort into research before entering the sector, then it’s clear that you’ll thrive in your new career. 

You clearly have the passion to see it through, even if you face some knockbacks along the way, and weaker people leaving the sector will only mean that your own client base will grow, resulting in a higher salary! 

So, what conclusion can we draw from this information?

While the information that we pieced together for the overall average salary for a nutritionist is pretty solid, and does seem to be similar across multiple platforms, it’s clear that when we try to dig deeper into these statistics that things become a little murky. 

Hopefully our research does shed some light on how the working environment that you choose can affect how much you can expect to earn, however!

It would seem that when it comes to earning a high salary, it depends more on the experience level of the nutritionist. 

Another great thing to add is that there seems to be quite a bit of flexibility in the types of roles that nutritionists can apply to, meaning that they don’t have to stick to one particular path. 

This means that you could end up earning towards the higher end of the wage bracket if you gain a few years of experience, and you’re selective with the roles that you apply to when it comes to moving up in your career!

We talk more about how you can boost your income as a nutritionist below, so stick with us for more info on how you can earn more than any of your competitors… 

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The Salary of a Nutritionist VS that of a Dietician  

Due to the fact that their job role centres around working with clients who suffer from specific medical conditions, a dietician will naturally earn a higher salary than that of a nutritionist when working in a full-time salaried role, or a clinical environment. 

We’ll talk about how those who don’t have a degree in nutrition can trump this shortly, but let’s stay focused on roles in this area for now. 

So, what are the differences between the two roles when it comes to a salaried position within a business or health system? We took a closer look at leading job websites to find out:

nutritionist salary in the uk graphic

While the average for this role is clearly higher than the average salary of a nutritionist, don’t let this put you off yet (you’ll soon see why). 

However, it is considerably higher than the figures that we saw earlier, so if you’re currently completing an accredited degree in Dietetics then you can hopefully see the benefit of doing so if a role in this remit is what you‘re looking for! 

The average salary here is still something of a mystery when it comes to locating an accurate average, and like that of a nutritionist there is some variation due to location, experience, and work environment, but we can safely assume that it is above £25k per annum, and often above £30k per annum. 

So, what should you do with this information? Most sources out there suggest that you should spend 3 years studying towards a BSc (Hons) degree, and possibly even an Msc after this before you can earn a top salary. 

While this isn’t untrue, there are certainly ways around this, especially if becoming a Level 3 qualified fitness professional is something that you’re open to! Which leads us into… 

How to Earn a Top Nutritionist Salary (Without a Degree!)

Here at OriGym, we like to give our students inside information on the health and fitness industry that isn’t commonly known or pointed out. 

A lot of the information surrounding salaries and career progression in the industry is either wrong or outdated, meaning that those just starting out could miss out on opportunities or progressions that they didn’t realise existed! 

That’s why we’re uncovering the common misconception that you require a degree in Dietetics to pursue a top nutritionist salary. 

Step #1 - Gain a Relevant Qualification

The first step to earning a top salary is making sure that you have the relevant knowledge and expertise to coach your clients in the first place. 

If you fail to do so, they will discover this pretty quickly during the sign-up process when they’re quizzing you on how you will actually make a difference in their life (believe us, they will ask!), which is expected as they’re making an investment in your services. 

Not only this, but they’ll also run straight to your competitors who hold relevant qualifications in this field. 

To be clear, we’re not saying that you need a degree, just an accredited vocational qualification that gives you sufficient knowledge and expertise to be able to provide a reputable service to clients. 

It’s important to know that the title ‘nutritionist’ is not actually a protected term here in the UK, meaning that you don’t require a degree or specific qualification to practise under it. 

What this does mean though is that you can gain the relevant knowledge and experience for a fraction of the money and time that completing a degree would cost you, and STILL earn a killing (skip to step #3 for more info). 

REMEMBER: you’re not only completing qualifications so that you can run your business respectably (although this is the most important reason), but you’re also using them as a selling point, so that prospective clients know that your business is genuine and reputable. 

You should take a look at our guide on how to become a nutritionist for more information on the different paths that you can take to begin a career in the nutrition sector, but for now all you really need to know is that you don’t require a degree to make a top nutritionist salary, as long as you choose your course provider wisely. 

So, how do you choose a course provider?

This is the most important step to get right when choosing a qualification outside of a BSc (Hons) degree. 

It’s a good idea to build a shortlist of courses, and then perform an in-depth comparison like we did in our list of the best sports universities

When comparing them, ask yourself questions such as:

  • Are they accredited by relevant governing bodies? 
  • Are they Ofqual regulated?
  • What are the delivery methods, and do they suit me? 
  • Where is the course based? Is it accessible for me? 
  • How long does it take to complete the course? 
  • Does the course provider have good reviews on TrustPilot? 

To give you an example, the course that we run here at OriGym is regulated by Ofqual, REPs accredited, and takes an average of 12 weeks to complete (due to the amount of knowledge that you gain through completing the course). 

It can also be completed online, which makes it accessible to anyone here in the UK. 

Things to avoid when searching for a course provider… 

If you want to deliver a quality service to your clients, you should definitely avoid courses that:

  • Are advertised as free
  • Take a matter of days to complete
  • Aren’t regulated by Ofqual and relevant governing bodies 
  • Have poor reviews across platforms, including TrustPilot 

#2 - Invest in Continuing Professional Development 

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Professional development is something that you’ll be expected to complete in any reputable workplace, so why should working for yourself be any different? 

It’s not only a great way to demonstrate your ability to adapt and align your services with the latest research on nutrition, but it also serves as a way of proving your expertise and dedication to your clients. 

Let’s face it; if you were teaching nutrition in the exact same way for the entirety of your career then not only would you get bored, but your clients would too! 

We have a full guide on the types of professional development for personal trainers, which can be translated to most career paths within the health and fitness sector, especially with our section on development outside of qualifications. 

However, if you are considering a career in nutrition alongside working as a fitness professional, then it’s useful to know that you can earn a fantastic salary alongside the one that you earn as a PT, or by providing sports massage therapy to your clients, etc. 

This is how professional development can see your salary soar. 

It will boost your client retention rate due to the fact that you’re providing fresh and up-to-date services to your clients that outshine those of your competitors.

Not only this, but it also allows you to provide services on top of nutrition, which is heavily linked to exercise and fitness, and therefore earn a killing! 

When clients are willing to pay you to get them into shape, they’re definitely going to pay a little extra for you to coach them with their nutrition and provide them with meal plans (especially since nutrition makes up 70-80% of weight loss). 

You can simply add this service as part of your higher-end personal trainer packages, which are explained in-depth in our selling as a personal trainer article, and your clients can opt to pay extra per month for them. 

So, what are the most profitable types of professional development qualifications for those looking to earn a top nutritionist salary in the fitness sector?

The list is endless! 

Although these qualifications come with a skillset that carries a higher salary increase through the extra services that you can provide for clients, as well as the level of ‘’expertise’ that you can advertise through your marketing strategy, e.g. ‘nutrition advisor specialising in obesity’, there are other courses and methods of professional development that link directly to boosting your income through retention. 

To name a few, these could include any fitness or nutrition related course that proves to your clients that you’re constantly trying to develop your methods, e.g. a CPD in Hydration Training could work nicely when training with athletic clients. 

If you want to complete professional development outside of vocational courses, then you can always partake in things such as:

  • Online lectures & seminars (webinars)
  • Nutrition & fitness conferences 
  • Booking in with other nutritionists (to see how they do things differently to you!) 
  • Reading 
  • Researching others who are successful in your field 

Most of these activities are either almost free or cost-effective, and can be incredibly valuable to your business and overall knowledge when completed alongside qualifications. 

The third kind of professional development, which is our personal favourite when it comes to learning not only how to boost your salary, but how to run an incredibly successful nutrition business is by developing your sales & marketing knowledge

#3 - Learning the Target Market

freelance nutritionist salary in the uk

Making it your mission to find out more about the demographic that you wish to target before you begin your career and any marketing efforts can truly impact your salary down the line. 

The best place to start is with the question of who hires them?

We talked a little about this earlier (when we listed the estimated salaries for each of the different roles), but it’s definitely something that you should pay attention to. 

To save you some time and to give you a starting point, here’s a quick-fire list of the areas best-known for provided career opportunities to nutrition professionals:

  • Public health
  • Private health 
  • Clinical settings 
  • The sports and exercise industry 
  • The food industry 

Since we spoke about most of these earlier, we’re going to talk about a demographic that attracts a high salary, especially once the individual has picked up a good amount of experience. 

Here’s the question: ever dreamt of working with professional athletes, or aspiring ameteur athletes that are looking to take their training to the next level? 

If so, you’ll be glad to know that this is entirely possible. We even have a full article on how to become a sports nutritionist which discusses the career opportunities available in greater detail, but for now we’ll stick to the basics. 

Learning the target market of any of these careers is a great idea to really weigh up your options, but in sports nutrition it would involve the likes of ameuteur athletes, professional athletes, recreational gym goers, powerlifters, etc. 

They’re usually made up of those from the ages of 18-45, but of course there will be clients outside of this demographic. However, if you have a good idea of those that you wish to target before you begin your marketing efforts, then you’ll be much more likely to hit the ground running early on in your career. 

How much can you charge based on your target demographic? 

This is a difficult question to answer with specific statistics as there are many factors that come into this, but we can definitely give some indication of how much you can earn through working with certain client groups. 

When it comes to sports nutrition, it really depends on the area that you work in, and how affluent it is. We hate to say this, but it’s just a fact; those working inside London will be able to charge more than those working outside of London, for example. 

If you start by working in an area that is relatively affluent and target clients that are from this area that are willing to pay for your services, then you’ve definitely got a good starting point. 

It’s definitely a good idea to get qualified in personal training, and complete a Strength and Conditioning CPD if you want to work with athletes. You can target ameuter athletes at first, make a great reputation for yourself, and start to gain recognition as your experience (and marketing efforts) increase. 

Once you’ve gained some experience and you’re earning a great salary as a PT and nutritionist, the next step to earning a great salary would be to take your services online.

Which leads us into… 

#4 - Earning an Online Nutritionist Salary  

what is the average salary of a nutritionist

One of the most profitable ways of practising as a nutritionist is to sell meal plans to online clients, either alongside coaching them in-person or as a full-time career once you’re earning enough to transition into this! 

We know that it sounds rather far-fetched, especially if you’re not currently too clued up on online marketing strategies, but not to worry. 

We’re going to go through everything that you need to know about earning an online nutritionist salary, as well using examples of those that have cracked the code (and are now incredibly successful!). 

Using Marketing & Sales Knowledge to Earn an Online Nutritionist Salary

This links into our section on professional development, as it does require a good amount of time and research to get it right. But trust us - it’s absolutely worth it in the long-term!

The first thing that you could do if you really are a beginner is enrol on a relevant course. In this sector, a fitness or personal training business course would be the perfect option. 

After you’ve followed the steps that we mentioned earlier and found a course provider that has great reviews, is conveniently located, etc. you should ensure that the following topics are covered (as well as any others that are important to your role):

  • How to register & set-up your business
  • Advertisement
  • Marketing strategies (online & offline) 
  • Sales strategies

If you gain this knowledge from the right people who truly know their stuff, you’ll never look back. 

Your eyes will be opened to things that you didn’t think were possible before, like ranking on the first page of Google for terms like ‘online nutritionist UK’, and gaining an insane amount of traffic.

Outside of courses, the Backlinko website is a fantastic resource for those looking to set up a successful website using unbeatable SEO strategies, as is neilpatel.com

In our opinion, anyone interested in learning more about SEO should start with these websites before they look anywhere else! 

Another great way to learn is to create a health and fitness Instagram account and research what others in the sector are doing to gain traction for their business online.

In their essay on health and fitness online communities, Laurence Dessart with a PhD from the University of Glasgow and currently a professor at HEC Liege, along with social media specialist Maureen Duclou state:

Instagram is, however, recognised as the best platform to promote fitness products, because of the amount of fitness related communities and influencers.

We can stand by this information by saying that Instagram is a fantastic platform to use for promoting your business online, especially since it's our most frequently used social media site. 

So, once you’re clued up on all things sales and marketing, what do you do next to ensure that you earn a top nutritionist salary online? That’s where our case study comes in, as a good example always works best when it comes to proving that these things are worth the effort. 

Putting your Knowledge into Practice (a Case Study)

We won’t digress too much here, as OriGym's guide on how to become an online fitness coach covers this in great detail. However, we will explain the key points to how this could help you to earn a high salary as opposed to those who work in a clinical setting. 

The first thing to note is that it is a long road to success, and something that requires a lot of hard work. You will have to accept that it won’t happen overnight, and may take some time before you can transition into relying on the salary that you earn from your online business. 

For our case study, we thought that we may as well talk about someone who is widely known for being an online PT and incredibly successful nutrition coach, despite having no degree in nutrition. 

Whether you like him or not, you have to admit that Joe Wicks has become incredibly successful by selling exercise and nutrition plans online. If you didn’t already know, he has 1.9million followers on Instagram, and an estimated net worth of 14.5 million

If that doesn’t show the evidence of a high PT & nutritionist salary, then we don’t know what does! 

Want to see the evidence? Check out this screenshot regarding Joe’s qualifications:

top nutritionist salary

Just because he doesn’t possess any ‘formal’ qualifications in nutrition, does it mean that his career helping others with their diet and exercise routine has been affected negatively? Not at all.

Joe doesn’t advertise himself as a registered nutritionist or dietician, and he still earns far more per annum than anyone who is able to advertise themselves this way. 

He is still able to operate under the title ‘nutritionist’ or ‘nutrition coach’ if he wishes, as it is not a protected term, and is able to provide online clients with meal plans and sell his ‘lean in 15’ cook books as much as he pleases. 

While we would strongly recommend having relevant qualifications in nutrition (as not everyone is as insanely lucky as Joe Wicks), it’s nice to see evidence that you don’t need a degree in Dietetics to create a seven-figure business, and therefore earn a fantastic salary. 

Conclusion

We hope that you’ve gained a better insight into what the average nutritionist salary is in the UK after reading our article, as well as how to boost this salary into being far from average… 

If you’re interested in turning your passion for nutrition and health into a full-time career without the hassle and price tag associated with three years of studying, then check out our REPs accredited Personal Trainer Diploma, or download our latest prospectus here for more information on what you could be learning! 

References:

  1. Carl Baker. (2019). Obesity Statistics. Available: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn03336/. Last accessed 20th April 2020.
  2. Dessart, L. and Duclou, M., 2019. Health and fitness online communities and product behaviour. Journal of Product & Brand Management.

 

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Written by Chloe Twist

Fitness Content Manager, OriGym

Join Chloe on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Chloe graduated with a BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University and prior to OriGym worked at J&R Digital Marketing Agency on the Liverpool 'Female Founders' series. Since joining the company, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer and advanced Sports Nutrition Specialist. Chloe’s professional interests intersect content-development and the world of online fitness, especially across social media and YouTube, and Chloe has herself contributed pieces on fitness and weight loss to sites including the Daily Star and The Express. Outside her day-to-day role, Chloe enjoys playing the guitar, gaming and kettlebell training. 

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