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Nutrition Advisor Job Description & Job Search Tips

Working as a nutritionist or dietician is a great way to help people reach their health goals through dedicated nutritional guidance. Understanding the benefits of a healthy diet, as well as a knowledge of requirements for those with specific needs (such as diabetes, post-natal, or exercise specific) is a fundamental skill of any health and fitness professional.

With diet and nutrition being the centre of many a political debate this year, it has never been a better time to start your career in the health industry.

With many years of experience working in the health and nutrition industry, as well as running dedicated courses ourselves, we have compiled a helpful list of the different types of career available, the typical responsibilities, as well as potential pay scales.

Want to learn about a particular role in the nutrition and dietician industry? Take a look at what we’ve covered in this article:


Nutrition Advisor


Job Overview:

A Nutritional Advisor is someone who uses the science of food to help clients make better choices with their food intake. Their aim is always to promote good health and prevent diseases.


Responsibilities and Daily Duties Typically Include:

  • Consultations with clients
  • Delivering 1:1 nutrition coaching sessions
  • Running small group classes or talks


Salary:

An average employed nutrition advisor earns in the region of £22,000 per year.

Whereas self-employed roles can vary considerably (£12,000 to £45,000) depending on number of clients, experience, and location.


Qualifications & Experience:

‘Nutritional Advisor’ is not a legally protected term. That means that you don’t need any formal qualification or license to use the term.

However, what you will need is to be able to evidence an appropriate level of nutrition knowledge. The best way to do this is by taking a Level 4 Diploma in Advanced Nutrition.

If the course is accredited, you’ll become a member of the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) and be able to use MRSPH after your name.


Skills & Traits:

As you would expect, nutrition advisors are expected to have skills centred around helping people achieve food, health, and weight related goals. This includes:

  • knowing how to offer appropriate advice to groups such as athletes, older adults and pregnant women.
  • Advisors should also have ‘soft’ skills such as rapport building, communication and empathy.
  • Since nutrition advisors will be interacting with clients all day, the best advisors tend to be outgoing, talkative, caring and hard-working.
  • Moreover, you’re significantly more likely to be taken seriously by potential clients if you’re in good shape yourself.


Do You Need Insurance?:

If you’re employed by the gym or fitness centre directly, they will have their own insurance, so having your own is not essential. On the other hand, if you’re self-employed, having insurance is essential. It should include:

  • Public liability
  • Professional indemnity
  • Personal accident cover
  • Loss of earnings cover


What to Expect in the Role:

Most employed nutrition advisors tend to work on shift patterns based around the busy hours of the gym (6am-9pm, and 5pm-8pm). This provides flexibility, but can also mean early mornings and late nights. Similar hours also apply to freelance/self-employed roles.

At its best, the work of a nutrition advisor can make a huge difference in clients’ lives.

On the other hand, it can also involve a lot of frustration when trying to get difficult clients to change longstanding bad eating habits.


Career Path:

Nutrition advisors can progress into nutritionist roles through further education. Alternatively they can start their own business.



Nutritionist Job Profile


Job Overview:

A Nutritionist is someone who works in non-clinical settings and uses the science of food to help clients make better choices with their food intake. Their aim is always to promote good health and prevent diseases


Responsibilities and Daily Duties Typically Include:

  • Consultations with clients
  • Delivering 1:1 Nutrition Coaching Sessions
  • Running small group classes, talks and workshops
  • Conducting nutritional analysis through surveys, menu-checks and literature reviews


Salary:

An average employed nutritionist earns in the region of £25,000 per year, but salaries can increase up to £35,000 with enough years’ experience.

Self-employed roles can vary considerably (£12,000 to £45,000) depending on number of clients, experience and location.


Qualifications & Experience:

Nutritionist is not a legally protected term, meaning that theoretically there are no qualifications or licences required to use the term


However, in modern practice, a nutritionist is usually someone who has studied at degree level (BSc) or higher, and is a Registered Nutritionist (RNutr) through the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN).


Do You Need Insurance?:

If you’re employed by a health centre, charity, or education centre directly, they will have their own insurance so having your own is not essential.On the other hand, if you’re self-employed, having insurance is essential. It should include:

  • Public liability
  • Professional indemnity
  • Personal accident cover
  • Loss of earnings cover


What to Expect in the Role:

Employed nutritionists work a variety of hours. Some work a typical 9am to 5pm, whereas others work earlier mornings and/or later nights. Occasional weekend work is not unusual, especially for delivering workshops or seminars. This is similar for freelance/self-employed nutritionists.

At its best, the work of a nutritionist can make a huge difference in clients’ lives.

On the other hand, it can also involve a lot of frustration when trying to get difficult clients to change longstanding bad eating habits.

Career Path:

Nutritionists can progress into Dietician roles through further education. Alternatively, they can start their own business.



Dietician Job Profile


Job Overview:

Dietitians work in clinical settings to assess, diagnose and treat diet-related and nutritional problems. They also raise awareness of the link between food and health at both an individual and wider public-health level.


Responsibilities and Daily Duties Typically Include:

  • Consultations and assessments of patients with medical conditions
  • Assisting other medical staff to decide appropriate treatment options
  • Working with charity, education and government sectors to improve national health
  • Creating, reviewing and updating patient care plans


Salary:

Dietician salaries in the UK are governed by NHS pay brackets, which range from £24,907 to £44,503 depending on experience.

Private dietician salaries (non-NHS) may be significantly higher, but there isn’t enough information publicly available to put an exact figure on paper.


Qualifications and Experience:

‘Dietician’ is a legally protected term. You must have a relevant approved degree in dietetics and be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) to use the title of Registered Dietician (RD). You cannot use this title without the appropriate degree and registration.


Skills and Traits:

As you would expect, dieticians are expected to have skills centred around solving complex nutrition related health problems.This includes:

  • understanding diseases such as diabetes
  • issues such as chronic fatigue
  • eating disorders
  • food intolerance
  • malnutrition
  • ‘soft’ skills related to communication, rapport and empathy

Since dieticians will often be balancing a demanding caseload. They need to be extremely well-organised, meticulous record keepers, as well as deeply caring, empathetic people.

Moreover, even as a registered dietician you’re significantly more likely to be taken seriously by the people you advise if you’re in good health yourself.


Do I Need Insurance?:

If you’re employed by a health centre, charity, or education centre directly, they will have their own insurance so having your own is not essential.On the other hand, if you’re self-employed, having insurance is essential. It should include:

  • Public liability
  • Professional indemnity
  • Personal accident cover
  • Loss of earnings cover


What to Expect in the Role:

Most NHS roles are a typical 37.5-hour week, usually built around the 9am to 5pm working hours.However, overtime is common, and caseloads often demand more work than initially expected.

At its best, the work of a dietician can make a huge difference in patients’ lives and in the health of the entire country. On the other hand, it can also be emotionally difficult dealing with patients with complex problems.


Career Path:

Dieticians can progress up the NHS pay scale into more senior management roles. Alternatively, they can move into private practice, perhaps even starting their own consultancy.



Job Hints and Tips


Initial Considerations:

  • For Nutritionist and Nutrition Advisor roles, it can be useful to build secondary skills around specific areas such as fitness or pre/post-natal, to give you a niche to work in.
  • Make sure your CV is up to date, and that any social media profiles you have look professional (These get checked more often than you think)
  • Work experience can be very helpful in this competitive field


What to Look Out For

  • Online job listings – for example indeed.com, leisurejobs.com, totaljobs.com
  • Specific charity, education and health service hiring pages
  • Relevant network building opportunities. For example, if you want to work as a nutrition advisor to athletes, aim to get to know a good selection of local sports coaches.

Ready to become a Nutrition advisor?

Download our dedicated guide on becoming a nutritionist and take the first step on the road to your new career.