Careers in Nutrition and Dietetics

(Acknowledgments: portions of below adapted from Dietitian, Saskatoon Region Health; and Registered Dietitians: Your Professionals for Food, Diet and Nutrition Information, Dietitians of Canada.)

How To Become a Registered Dietitian

  • Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition (or related degree with specific credits) from an accredited university program
  • Professional experience (Internship) - ours is one of the few programs in Canada where Internship is included within the degree!
  • Successful completion of the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination

What do Dietitians and Nutritionists Do?

  • Advise and educate on food, diet and nutrition
  • Take on challenges of "over-nutrition" as well as under-nutrition
  • Focus on nutritional needs of special segments of the community, such as children, seniors, low income families
  • Work with national and international programs to achieve the goal of an adequate supply and distribution of food
  • Work under provincial regulatory bodies, which ensure clients receive safe and ethical advice

Where do Dietitians and Nutritionists Work?

  • In hospitals, hospital ambulatory care/outpatient clinics or patient education centres, community health centres, home care and other health care facilities: Clinical Dietitians identify nutrition problems, assess nutritional status of patients, develop nutrition care plans and monitor effectiveness of dietary changes, counsel patients and develop therapeutic diet plans. They may specialize in such areas as pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health/eating disorders, nutrition support in critical/intensive care, dysphagia assessment and treatment, weight control, diabetes, cardiology, nephrology, oncology, AIDS/HIV and other special medical needs and clinical research teams.
  • In community health: Community and Public Health Nutritionists assess nutritional needs of populations, identify community nutrition problems, develop health promotion strategies and nutrition education programs and provide information and advisory services to other community agencies, professionals and the public. Community Health Dietitians work with individuals and communities to improve nutritional well being, prevent disease, advise on foodservice issues and enhance personal control of health.
  • In major foodservices: Administrative Dietitians manage food production and distribution.
  • In private practice: Dietitians provide expertise in nutrition, diet therapy and foodservice management to individuals, groups, workplaces, institutions and the media.
  • In industry and business: Dietitians participate in research and product development, marketing and consumer education.
  • In government, education and research: Dietitians develop food and nutrition policies, teach others, and make new discoveries about nutrition and health. Advanced degrees are needed to work in University faculty positions.
  • In community and international organizations and agencies: Dietitians and nutrition work with international agencies and local programs (e.g., Child Hunger and Education programs, food banks) to alleviate hunger and ensure food security.

Characteristics of Dietitians/Nutritionists

  • Interest in helping people and empathy
  • Interest in health care and natural sciences
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Analytical ability to solve problems in creative ways
  • Accuracy with details
  • Ability to motivate and work with others
  • Willing to accept responsibility, accountability
  • Dedication to patients and clients

Rewards of Being a Dietitian/Nutritionist

  • Feeling that you have helped in the prevention and treatment of disease or injury
  • Interaction with other health professioanals, teamwork
  • Interesting, varied, stimulating, challenging work as new knowledge, new ways to help motivate clients and patients arise
  • Well-respected member of the health care team
  • Portability and opportunities for advancement

Examples of Where Nutrition Grads Are Working

  • Across Canada, the USA, Britain, Africa, Hong Kong, Australia
  • Clinical Dietitians with the Critical Care Nutrition Support Team
  • Directors of Food and Nutrition Services
  • Health and Fitness Educator with the RCMP
  • Research Coordinators with health regions

For more information, please see: