What Does A Nutritionist Do?

What does a nutritionist do

When faced with the question of ‘what does a nutritionist do in their job role?’, it’s somewhat hard to give a direct answer. This is due to the fact that the role can vary from person to person, depending on a variety of factors such as their specialty and clientele. 

However, this article aims to provide readers with some general insight into what you can expect when working as a nutritionist. One way you can personally break into the industry is through studying one of our specialist nutrition courses in the UK.


What Does A Nutritionist Do In Their Job Role?

What do nutritionist do

When attempting to answer the question ‘what does a nutritionist do in the UK specifically?’ we can look to the NHS, who defines working life in this role in the following manner:

You'll teach and inform the public and health professionals about diet and nutrition. You'll aim to promote good health and prevent disease in individuals and communities

However, this statement is merely a general summary of what you can expect. 

To offer a more specific and detailed look into ‘what does a nutritionist do’, we can say that when operating in this role, nutritionists ensure the following responsibilities are met:

  • Meeting with first-time clients to determine their current health 
  • Establish the client’s short-term and long-term health goals 
  • Create a meal plan that is realistic and sustainable
  • Counsel clients through this meal planning process, explaining each choice diligently 
  • Educating clients on food and nutrition 

This will all take place on a one-to-one basis, as nutritionists will very rarely offer blanket advice to more than one client. 

These kinds of responsibilities can be seen in the screenshot provided below, which details an official job description for the health and nutrition company WeAreFeel.

What do nutritionist do job ad

Instead of recommending ineffective fad diets, or harmful ‘quick fixes’ to their clients, nutritionists will create a bespoke meal plan for each client. 

Whilst some of these templates may be similar, no two diet plans will be identical in order to reflect each individual client. For more information on how to create meal plans for clients, click here.

what a nutritionist does

It is crucially important for nutritionists to consider who they’re creating their eating plan for, and how that can affect the roles they’ll undertake. 

Please note, that these kinds of descriptions can be applicable to the majority of nutritionists on a general scale. 

Regardless of what your speciality is, when working in this role you’ll be expected to perform each of these tasks regularly throughout your working day.

Let’s explore the different types of nutritionists, and how their day-to-day responsibilities can differ dramatically.


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What Do Different Types of Nutritionists Do?

Meal plan what do nutritionist do

Many incorrectly assume that this role is identical regardless of where you’re located, and who your clients are. However, a nutritionist's job description is heavily influenced by both of these factors. 

For example, at OriGym our Level 4 Sports Nutritionist qualification focuses on qualifying students who wish to work within the fitness industry. 

However, that does not mean that this is the only speciality sector of the business that you can enter. 

In this section, we’re going to explore a variety of specialisms, and discuss how each role results in a differing answer to the question ‘what does a nutritionist do on a daily basis?’.

#1 - Holistic Nutrition

Holistic Nutritionist

Arguably, the existence of a holistic role is what makes questions like ‘what does a nutritionist do for you?’, hard to answer. Realistically, those who work on a holistic level can do a multitude of things for their clients. 

These individuals will focus on how nutrition impacts their client’s overall health and wellbeing, through providing education on the consequences of poor consumption choices.

Furthermore, they will look to see if any physical illnesses or issues within a client’s body can be linked to dietary choices.

Following this, holistic nutritionists will help to develop meal plans with the assistance of the clients, in order to improve their health on a general level.

What does a nutritionist do for you

Due to the somewhat blanket nature of this role, certain clients may not have an ultimate end goal, and may pursue the practice for simple advice. 

This can provide a somewhat unstructured work environment that allows you to interact with a variety of customers on a daily basis. 

For example, when working as a holistic nutritionist you may find yourself working in private practices, natural health food stores and distributors, or Resort and Travel Destinations.

  • Private Practices: Individuals who opt for this role will need to set up their own business that is accessible to the general public. Learning how to create a nutritionist business plan will be of significant importance, in order to attract the clients you desire.

Holland and Barret Nutritionist do in the UK

  • Health Food Stores and Distributors: From this point alone you may be left questioning ‘what does a nutritionist do at these production centres?’. The main aim here is to ensure that all dispatched products are meeting the desired nutritional value of the distributors, as seen above in the advertisement for health shop chain Holland & Barrett
  • Resorts & Other Travel Destinations: When working in this role you’ll be operating in a multifaceted role creating innovative menus, working with regional cuisines and delicacies, as well as managing dietary restrictions for clients in attendance.

Therefore, we can say that the role of a holistic nutritionist is somewhat multifaceted, largely due to the fact that it is a blanket term. 

For this very reason, this role could be ideal for individuals who like a varied experience in their day-to-day work life.

#2 - Sports Nutrition

What does a sports nutritionist do?

For all the readers who clicked on this article for an answer to the question ‘what does a sports nutritionist do?’, this section is for you.

At OriGym our specialist Level 4 Nutritionist course certifies students as ‘sports nutritionists’. But what does this speciality mean exactly?

When working in this role you will work alongside athletes and teams to help create meal plans which: 

  • Maintain energy 
  • Build muscle 
  • Sustain focus 
  • Improve overall health and performance 

The aim of a sports nutritionist is to ultimately help their clients reach their fitness-related goals, whatever they may be. 

Additionally, when working in this role, sports nutritionists can also work in the following locations:

Athletic Departments: Similar to what is stated above, you can help to create a set meal plan for athletes and teams, in order to meet very specific fitness goals. 

What does a sports nutritionist do in a gym

Gyms: Fitness facilities are always looking to incorporate nutrition advice into their practice, in order to ensure their clients receive the best possible service.  

However, please be aware that when questioning ‘what does a sports nutritionist do at a gym?’, you may be surprised by the answer. 

Whilst you will still be giving advice on how a client's diet can help them towards a fitness goal, you will also be personally required to sell this as an additional service that your employers offer.

This is evident from the ad above for the DVCC Personal Trainer Centre, which clearly states that a large part of this role is learning how to sell your service to clients. Therefore, a passion for the integral relationship fitness has with nutrition is absolutely vital when working at a gym. 

What does a sports nutritionist do as a coach

As a Personal Trainer: If you’ve read this subheading and been left wondering whether personal trainers can impart nutritional advice, the answer is a resounding YES! 

When you become a personal trainer, you become an expert in crafting tailored workout programs for clients, which perfectly pairs with specialised meal plans that work in tandem towards an ultimate end goal.

From the job advertisement above, we can see how desirable this particular role is among the fitness community. But whilst this is for a specific gym, you don’t have to just limit yourself to one singular location.

What does a sports nutritionist do as a PT

There are a vast array of personal trainer career options available to you once you’re officially qualified, meaning you could work on a freelance or contracted basis, depending on what best suits your needs and circumstances.

Please note, that when working as a personal trainer you’ll be working with clients who have different goals. 

This will require you to take an individualistic approach to your practice, ensuring that every plan you create is bespoke to the individual client.

If you’re interested in exploring this particular speciality in a more in-depth way, we’d advise checking out our article on how to become a sports nutritionist.

#3 - Weight-Related Nutrition

Weight loss specialist nutritionist

This point can somewhat tie into the one mentioned above, as certain clients may have the fitness aspiration to lose weight. 

In this instance, you’ll work with clients to meet their weight loss goals by developing a diet plan that is low in calories, and sustainable, whilst simultaneously providing a workout program that will help to further facilitate this goal.

But with this role comes somewhat higher risks, as clients who are overweight may have other conditions relating to their cholesterol and blood sugars. 

Weight loss specialist nutritionist job role

This kind of specialist treatment can be seen on sites such as Nutritionist Resource where hopeful clients can find a treatment plan that is tailored to their needs. 

In the screenshot provided above, we can see that the nutritionist Layla Gordon specialises in obesity and weight management. 

Alternatively, you can also easily still work as a personal trainer who specialises in weight loss. 

In fact, at OriGym, we even run a specialist Level 4 weight loss and obesity management courses for existing trainers to improve their knowledge and skills.

In this instance, we can state that weight loss specialists can also work for athletic departments, gyms, and their own personal training services. 

However, their focus will be primarily on ensuring that their clients lose weight.

But this doesn’t mean that all nutrition based advice for overweight individuals should be identical. This should still be individually tailored to suit the specific needs of each client.

It’s also worth noting that weight loss specialists can also work in the mental health sector:

  • Mental Health Specialist Hospital: Within this role you may be working alongside patients who have been recovering from conditions such as eating disorders. It will require nutritionists to help clients rebuild a healthy relationship with food. 

This connects to our next point on medically specialised nutritionists.

#4 - Medical/Clinical Nutrition

What does a nutritionist do in the NHS

When questioning ‘what does a nutritionist do in the UK?’, the answer from many existing specialists would be that they work for medical organisations such as the NHS.

However, for full transparency in order to work within any NHS role, you will need to hold a bachelor's or master's degree in nutrition. 

You will also need to ensure that you’re registered with the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN), which is only available to those who’ve completed a nutrition course at degree level, or that have 10+ years experience.

Once both the qualification and registration process has been completed nutritionists can work in the medical field. We have already discussed mental health care facilities, but other roles include:

Hospitals: Here, your day-to-day responsibilities will require you to work alongside healthcare professionals, in order to ensure that meals meet medical specific needs. 

What does a nutritionist do as a medical professional

Nursing Facilities:  Many of the patients will be over a certain age, or may suffer from chronic health conditions, which require diligent monitoring. In this role you’ll work alongside nursing staff to ensure every patient gets the best meals for their specific needs.

This kind of role can be seen in the NHS job advertisement above.

What does a nutritionist do as a medical professional  2

Outpatient Care Facility: You will need to adjust meal plans on a varying schedule, depending on a client’s recovery from:

  • Medical procedures
  • Illnesses 
  • Injuries 

As evident from the screenshot provided above, this could require you to liaise with external agencies such as carers or family members. 

You will essentially be promoting positive aftercare for patients who are being prepared for their eventual discharge.

Therefore, answering ‘what does a nutritionist do in the UK medical field’, can also produce varied answers depending on which section of medical care you’re employed by.


#5 - Paediatric Nutrition

What does a kids nutritionist do

Attempting to answer ‘what does a child nutritionist do?’, is somewhat different from the other example to feature within our list. 

This is largely due to the fact that you aren’t directly working with comprehending adults who can implement changes to their own diet and lifestyle.

Instead, pediatric nutritionists help babies, children, and teenagers to eat and drink well. Working alongside their families, they help to impart advice and special diet plans all of which can help with treating children who:

  • Suffer from allergies 
  • Are fussy eaters 
  • Are undergoing treatment for conditions such as cancer 

Please be aware that due to the delicate nature of working with children, the vast majority of these job roles are within medical organisations, such as the NHS or BUPA. 

You’re unlikely to find organisations outside the health industry that are willing to provide this information to children. 

Therefore, all of the qualification necessities we discussed in the section above are still applicable.

What does a kids nutritionist do

Many will look like the Indeed ad for Wrightington, Wigan, and Leigh Teaching Hospital above, and will state strict requirements applicants must follow in order to be eligible for the role.

For clearer insight into what this role entails, the advertisement states that the responsibilities of this role include:

  • To develop, monitor, and review appropriate care plans, to meet the needs of individuals using complex numerical calculations, interpretation of clinical, biochemical, and psychosocial information.
  • To take part in clinical supervision and seek advice around any complex situations or residents from Senior Dietitians within the Nutrition Service.
  • Assesses and interprets the medical diagnoses and changes in the medical condition of individual patients and understands how this affects nutritional management.

When it comes to learning ‘what does a child nutritionist do?, we must state that this isn’t an easy specialty to master. If you’re truly interested in this specific area of nutrition you will need to put in the dedication.

We hope you’re enjoying our exploration of the question ‘what does a nutritionist do?’, we’d also like to recommend the following OriGym articles:

What Skills Does a Nutritionist Need?

Skills what a nutritionist does

Learning ‘what does a nutritionist do?’, may be appealing to some, but you also need to have the right skills in order to work within this job role. 

Within this section we’re going to break down these vital skills, discussing why they are necessary for the practice and the consequences that may ensue should you not take the time to develop them.

#1 - Knowledge About Food and Science 

Knowledge About Food and Science

When referencing the title of this article ‘what does a nutritionist do?’, we can say that their knowledge of food and science essentially influences every aspect of their role. 

Both of these areas of study are naturally integral parts of a nutritionist’s daily life, regardless of speciality, the job role is quite literally always rooted in food consumption and its effects on the human body.

Simply put, without a passion for either of these subjects you won’t last long as a nutritionist. After all, what client is going to want to take advice given to them by someone who simply doesn’t care?

One way you can develop this knowledge is through dedicated study. Of course, by completing a degree level qualification, you’ll gain a huge amount of expertise in this area.

However, as stated within the qualification section of this article, once enrolled on OriGym’s Advanced Sports Nutrition course, you can expect to learn about:

Macros and Micros

  • Understand the sources, functions and uses of macro and micronutrients and to explain their physiological functions on the human body.
  • Components of energy consumption and expenditure
  • Energy, hydration and nutrient requirements at different life stages - 
  • The relationship between diet and disease

What to eat as a nutritionist

Understand the Relationship Between Nutrition and Physical Activity

  • Identify energy expenditure and nutrient use for different physical activities
  • Explain how to estimate energy requirements based on physical activity levels and other relevant factors
  • Develop a nutritional strategy for participants to improve performance
  • Evaluate the use of performance-enhancing products and sports drinks in nutritional planning for participants in sports and physical activity
  • How to advise participants in physical activities on nutritional strategies (and menus) to improve performance

Understand Nutrition Legislation

  • Assess how food labels conform to legislative requirements
  • Outline the legal requirements in relation to health claims and nutrition claims

By covering an extensive range of topics, we hope to enrich our students’ knowledge and understanding of nutrition. 

Completing a qualification will essentially set you up for future success, providing you with the knowledge and experience required to craft bespoke meal plans and guidance for a variety of clients. 

#2 - Awareness of Marketing 

what does a nutritionist do for marketing

When discussing ‘what does a nutritionist do?’, you may not have expected to see anything marketed related. 

However, if you intend on owning your own practice, or working on a freelance basis, you not only need to know how to market yourself, but you need to become aware of other local competitors.

Without taking the time to learn and understand marketing your business won’t survive for very long.

A simple Google search for ‘Nutritionists near me’ can bring up a list of your local competitors. By conducting this market research, you can take inspiration from what these businesses are doing right, whilst making note of any potential gaps in the market.

what does a nutritionist do for me

For example, if you can see that someone in your local area offers holistic sports nutrition advice, why not carve a niche for yourself and market your business as being specifically for those looking to lose weight?

Your marketing is essentially a reflection of your own business. As a qualified professional you know the answer to questions like ‘what does a sports nutritionist do?’, but potential clients may not. 

However, they should be able to see your marketing ads and learn exactly what your business stands for.

You can then market this niche through the likes of:

  • Printed materials - e.g. posters & business cards
  • Social media promotion
  • E-commerce 

Marketing isn’t an easy skill to master, and without direct experience, you won’t become an expert overnight.

We’d advise heading over to our guide for marketing strategies and tips, whilst this blog is specifically dedicated to personal trainers, you can still get some good ideas for how to brand your own nutrition business.

#3 - Communication Skills 

What does a nutritionist do for their clients

When working as a nutritionist, communication skills are absolutely essential for creating and delivering an effective meal plan.

You need to be able to effectively communicate with your clients in order to explain the choices you’ve made within the meal plan, and why these decisions will be beneficial to them in the long run.

When creating a meal plan for clients you will also need to use your communication skills to:

  • Teach clients how to read recipes and serve recommendations 
  • Give advice on what times are best for the client to eat
  • Make modifications to suit their preferences 

But communication is far more than just talking, you also need to listen to your clients too.

What does a nutritionist do to communicate

This is particularly important in relation to the final point made above, as you should listen to these individuals in order to understand what they like and dislike.

There is absolutely no point in recommending a client a food they don’t personally like, as regardless of how beneficial it is for them, they won’t eat it. 

Furthermore, you will need to continually listen to clients in regard to their progress. If they feel they aren’t doing well with your proposed meal plan, you need to listen to their critical feedback and make adjustments accordingly.

Communication is a skill that develops over time, the longer you operate within this particular job role the better you’ll become at. However, if you’re a relative newcomer it may be worth having a script or notes to hand when initially delivering a proposed plan.

This preplanned piece of writing will give you something to refer back to, should you become lost when interacting with clients.


#4 - Ability to Motivate Others 

Stock detailing what does a nutritionist do

This point somewhat links to the one above, as a nutritionist it’s your responsibility to ensure that your clients stay on the right track, providing them with the necessary motivation they require in order to stick to their meal plan.

Due to the fact that you’re likely to work with clients with different goals, and varying levels of motivation you need to be adaptable.

Someone may require constant motivation provided through regular checkups. Whereas others may prefer to be left to their own devices, only communicating at regularly scheduled appointments.

What does a nutritionist do to motivate

Learning how each of your clients operates will be key to ensuring their success, as you can adapt your practice around this.

For example, someone who requires a lot of motivation may respond best to SMART goals. These are simple steps that can be implemented and changed regularly, in order to reflect their current goals, whilst providing a manageable outlook for their future.

For example, if someone is looking to lose weight you could implement the SMART goal of: Losing 5lbs in a total of 4 weeks. 

Failure to develop this skill will simply result in your clients lacking drive, not reaching their goals and opting to go to your competitors instead.


#5- Well-Organised 

What does a nutritionist do for their clients program

Being organised is helpful in just about any practice, but when working as a nutritionist you’re going to have to keep track of the likes of:

  • Appointments
  • Clients personal information
  • Contact details 
  • Data relating to clients’ progress

In order to ensure that your working life runs cohesively, you need to ensure you remain organised at all times. 

If you have struggled with organisation in the past, you don’t have to do this completely on your own as there are platforms to help ensure your business runs smoothly.

what does a nutritionist do to remain organised

We’d suggest implementing and using nutrition-based software in your practice. This will allow you to keep track of all your clients' information and will be accessible to you with the simple push of a button. 

For advice and suggestions, check out our complete overview of nutrition software for professionals.

Alternatively, if you’re not a fan of technology, you can also use simple tactics like a diary or filing system. 

If for whatever reason you remain unorganised your business will be negatively affected, and you will be unable to perform your regular operations without your clients correct information.

What Hours Does a Nutritionist Have to Work?

What does a nutritionist do on the clock

When discussing ‘what does a nutritionist do in the UK’, many often question what type of hours they’ll be working. 

Unlike many other roles within the health and fitness sector, nutritionists will typically only work 9-5 roles, throughout the weekday. But don’t just take our word for it, this statement has also been backed up by the employment experts at Prospects.

This can also be seen in job advertisements for full-time roles, such as the one displayed below for Towerview Care, where the successful applicant will be working 40 hours a week, with shifts ranging between Monday to Friday.

What does a nutritionist do hours

However, if you are considering becoming a nutritionist within the medical or clinical field, you may have to work weekends or nights, depending on the schedule you’re assigned to. 

But rest assured, if you’re in a full-time position, you will typically never work more than 40 hours a week. 

However, all of this changes if you’re working in a freelance capacity. In this instance, you’re essentially in charge of when and where you work.

This ultimately shapes your individual answer to the question ‘what does a nutritionist do?’, as when working as a freelancer you could take on significantly more hours than 40 per-week, or you could instead take on the role as a side hustle and work significantly less.

But how much will you be paid for your time?

The Average Salary of a Nutritionist 

What does a nutritionist do salary

Throughout this article we have sought to provide clearer insight into the question ‘what does a nutritionist do on a daily basis?’. We have provided examples of a variety of differing specialties within the sector and discussed the responsibilities of each in great detail.

Now that you’re aware of this information you’ll naturally have questions regarding the salary of the role. As evident from the screenshot above from PayScale, the average salary of a nutritionist is estimated to be anywhere between £20,000 - £39,000 a year.

Therefore, from a holistic perspective, nutritionists are paid fairly well for what they do.

However, whilst the figures presented within this section may look appealing, they should be taken with a pinch of salt. 

This is largely due to the fact that these statistics aren’t concrete. Instead, they’re an average that’s generated through statistics provided by the website’s users.

Additionally, sites such as these often fail to take external factors into account which could heavily influence the overall salary of any nutritionist.

What does a nutritionist do for your money

For example, whilst offering a scale-based system the site doesn't detail who typically earns a higher wage, and who earns the lower. 

The amount of experience a nutritionist has could be an influence, in the sense that those who’ve been in the industry longer, and thus have more experience.

Senior role what does a nutritionist do UK

This can be seen in the salary above, taken from a job description for a senior role as a medical nutritionist. 

The amount of experience a nutritionist has will directly influence whether they are eligible for the senior role, and consequently the increased salary. 

In contrast, the screenshot below depicts an entry-level position, with a much lower salary of £23,500 - £27,500. The Mac-Nutrition Collective even clearly states that the agreed upon salary will be influenced by the amount of experience an applicant holds.

Assistant role what does a nutritionist do UK

Therefore we can say that influence certainly plays a role in whether a holistic receives a higher or lower salary.

In the interest of exploring different specialties we will also be looking at the salary of a sports nutritionist, as this is the venture many OriGym readers are likely to explore following the completion of their Advanced Sports Nutrition course.

The Average Salary of a Sports Nutritionist:

Sports role what does a nutritionist do UK

The screenshot above has been provided by the vocational site Glassdoor, which estimates the average sports nutritionist earns anywhere between £28,000 - £49,000 every year

This is significantly higher than that of a holistic nutritionist, and for this reason, we can say that it will be of great financial benefit to gain a specialist qualification, such as the one available through OriGym.

What does a nutritionist do for cricket team

This salary is very clearly reflected in the job role presented above for the Women’s England Cricket team. 

Here, we can see that you can expect to earn anywhere between £30,070 - £39.647, which alone is the equivalent of a senior role in other specialties. 

However, keep in mind that this is the salary of someone who is working with a prestigious team. 

If you intend on working for a local, or lesser-known athlete or sports team respectively, you may not be guaranteed such a lucrative salary.

This is all assuming that you wish to enter contracted employment, as we’re aware that when discussing ‘What does a nutritionist do?’, as many wish to work in a freelance capacity instead.

How Much Can I Earn as a Freelance Nutritionist?

What does a nutritionist do holistically

The idea of working as a freelancer is an appealing prospect to many aspiring and qualified nutritionists within the industry. But just how much can you expect to earn when operating in this particular role?

Well, the question isn’t as easy to answer as the overall salary varies from person to person, and is dependent upon factors such as how many clients you have.

According to research we conducted into the employment market on Prospects, self-employed nutritionists typically charge the following rates:

  • Initial consultation: £45 - £75
  • Follow up sessions (each): £30 - £50 
  • Recipe / diet analysis report (each): £15 - £20

What does a nutritionist do for you freelance

However, once again keep in mind that these factors can also be influenced by external factors. For example, if you have more experience or are the only provider in your immediate area providing sports nutrition advice, you may charge increased prices to satisfy the need and demand. 

Ultimately, when discussing your overall pay as a freelancer the amount of work you’re willing to take on will dictate your overall salary.


Become a certified Sports Nutritionist!

Expand your fitness skills by enrolling on OriGym's Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course today!

The Qualifications A Nutritionist Needs

What does a nutritionist do with their qualification

Now that you have some better insight into the question ‘what does a nutritionist do for your clients?’, we can shift our attention to how you become qualified for this role. 

Technically, you don’t need to hold a qualification in order to offer nutrition-based advice, as all of the advice you impart within this role is merely suggested

This can be somewhat dangerous at times, as without a qualification, the information that is being relayed to clients may not be of high quality. If done incorrectly, the advice you impart when acting in the role of a nutritionist can have severe negative consequences on a client’s health, and their fitness-related goals. 

#1 - Vocational Qualification

Qualified nutritionist

Vocational training and apprenticeships have become increasingly popular over the years. These are qualifications that focus on teaching you practical skills that can be transferred into your desired career path.

For example, when enrolled on OriGym’s Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course students will learn valuable skills that can be transferred onto their clients through meal plans and nutritional-based teachings.

Our online qualification has been regulated by Ofqual which guarantees the quality of the course to be of industry-leading standard. 

Once this has been completed, you’ll be regarded as a specialist in sports-related nutrition and will be able to immediately begin working within the health and fitness industry.

Qualified nutritionist  certifcate

This qualification typically takes 12 weeks to complete, allowing anyone to gain experience in nutrition from the comfort of their home. Here you can expect to learn more about:

  • Macros and Micros 
  • Nutrition Legislation  
  • The Relationship Between Nutrition and Physical Fitness 
  • Sports and Exercise Nutrition for Athletes
  • Nutrition Advice for The Elderly 
  • Meal Prep and Planning
  • Obesity Prevention in Children 
  • Vegetarian and Vegan Diet
  • Nutritional Advice for Pregnant Clients

Whilst this particular qualification strives to cover a variety of holistic and specialist topics, please keep in mind that it has been primarily designed for individuals who wish to pursue sports-based nutrition. 

#2 - University Qualifications 

university graduates

In contrast, University qualifications are considered to provide a more traditional approach to learning a craft. 

Remember, as we discussed at length throughout the course of this article a university qualification of any level is absolutely necessary if you’re looking to enter the medical nutritional field.

Simply put, organisations such as the NHS usually won’t consider your application unless you hold a BSc or a Masters degree. 

But what kind of qualification should you hold in this instance?

The uni guide to what a nutritionist does

According to The UniGuide, anyone who is looking to pursue a University education should enroll in courses that centres around Nutrition and Human Health.

The site also provides a helpful list of Universities that currently offer similar courses. Please note, some institutions may offer specialist degrees, such as The University Of Huddersfield’s Sports Nutrition degree.

The uni guide to what a nutritionist does

However, you should also keep in mind that, just because these educational courses may be similar in name, they will all have different entry requirements.

Be sure to read the information provided on the University’s website, in order to discover what you need to do in order to secure a placement.

For further insight on the debate covered within this section, head on over to this OriGym article discussing becoming a nutritionist with or without a degree.

What Does a Nutritionist Do vs What Does a Dietitian Do?

what does a nutritionist do vs what does a dietitian do

When discussing ‘what does a child nutritionist do?’, we posted an Indeed job advertisement which was clearly labeled as a ‘dietitian’. 

This may have prompted you to question what the differences between the two roles are.

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding the practice of nutrition is that it is identical to that of a dietitian. 

Even governing bodies within the health industry use the two names interchangeably, so it's understandable why someone with no experience in either field could become confused. 

The phrase dietitian, is commonly used to describe jobs within the medical and clinical industries - hence their inclusion within a section discussing the NHS roles. 

One of the largest differences between the two roles is the type of people they treat. 

Dietitians will typically treat patients who have been referred to their practice by another medical professional, whereas nutritionists’ clients will usually meet with them of their own accord. 

what does a nutritionist do vs what does a dietitian do image

Whilst working in these roles, dietitians will commonly help patients who are receiving medical treatment. 

For example, this could be individuals who are receiving dialysis due to kidney issues and therefore need a specialised renal diet. 

On the other hand, nutritionists will typically work with clients who are aiming to change an area of their life in a more sustainable way. 

For example, they may be advised to cut down their calorie intake in order to lose weight, or perform specific exercises to build muscle.

The practices also differ in the sense that the recommended advice that dietitians provide will be similar to that of a medical prescription, whereas nutritionists can only offer general advice. 

Therefore, whilst you can still work in the NHS with a Nutritionist Bachelors or Masters degree, you’ll likely be working under the job title of a dietitian. 

Before You Go!

When we began this article we started with the question ‘what does a nutritionist do?’, and throughout its course, we hope we have provided you with insight into just that.

Remember, there are a variety of different nutritionist jobs available, and just because they may fall under an umbrella term, does not mean they’re identical roles.

Remember if you wish to start your own career as a nutritionist you need to first qualify with your level 4 nutrition certificate

Upon graduation, you will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills required to work in whatever speciality area interests you the most.

Written by James Bickerstaff

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

James holds a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and Film Studies and has recently gained a MA degree in Film, both of which he attained from Liverpool John Moores University. After taking up the couch to 5K challenge on a whim, James found a new passion for running, which he combines with his love for healthy cooking and writing. All of this led him to becoming a copywriter for OriGym.  

When he is not writing content for the site, James can be found researching new recipes, writing music reviews, reading and watching latest film releases.   

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