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Dietitian Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

Dietitians, sometimes referred to as Nutritionists, provide information and tailored advice to their clients and patients regarding food and nutrition. A Dietitian’s role varies depending on the setting they work in, as Dietitians work in a range of industries. Some common industries include hospitals and care facilities, community health centres, the food and beverage industry, government, and sports organizations. They can also work as private consultants.

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Dietitian duties and responsibilities

Dietitians provide both education and advisory support to their clients when planning and implementing nutrition plans. While specific responsibilities vary depending on the industry that dietitians operate within, their duties may include:

  • Evaluating the nutritional status of individuals to aid in the prevention and treatment of inadequate nutrition
  • Developing, administering, and supervising nutrition and food service programs in both public and private settings (such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and company cafeterias)
  • Planning and conducting nutrition education programs and developing educational resources for a wider audience
  • Keeping up to date with scientific nutritional studies while conducting independent research and evaluating program effectiveness
  • Providing consultations for health professionals, community groups, government, and the media to provide advice in areas of nutrition interpretation, intervention, and policy
  • Developing, testing, and evaluating food and nutrition products, sometimes acting as a company representative or supplying product information to health professionals
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What does a Dietitian do?

Planning, implementing, and overseeing food and nutrition programs are the top responsibilities of a Dietitian, whether they’re creating plans for private individuals or the wider community. To best support their clients, Dietitians get to know their dietary requirements and create individually tailored plans and programs with optimal health in mind. Dietitians provide nutrition guidance, label interpretation, and consultation services to health professionals, individuals, the government, community groups, and the media by translating the science of nutrition into terms everyone can understand.

Dietitian skills and qualifications

Successful dietitians balance nutritional expertise and excellent people skills with the ability to teach and educate their clients. Top skills for dietitians include:

  • Strong analytical skills to examine and diagnose inadequate nutrition, and applying those same analytical abilities in their research and investigation of scientific nutritional studies
  • Good communication skills are imperative to success, as Dietitians need to be confident explaining scientific, nutrition-related information to people in a simple and effective way
  • Great evaluation skills to assess the outcomes of nutrition plans, and being flexible enough to adjust programs where necessary
  • Teaching, coaching, and training competencies are important in a Dietitian role, as a great deal of time is spent sharing dietary advice with others
  • Dietitians are typically compassionate in their approach to supporting and counselling clients

Dietitian experience requirements

For most jobs, Dietitian candidates will need some experience in a Dietitian role to succeed. However, candidates with experience in nutrition support or sports nutrition roles may also be adequate. For entry-level Dietitian positions, candidates should be able to demonstrate practical experience from internships or supervised work roles.

Dietitian education and training requirements

Dietitian candidates will need to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field (such as food and nutritional science). Candidates with a master’s degree in one of those topics are ideal. Following graduation, Dietitian candidates will need to have registered with their province’s regulatory body. For some roles, you may require candidates to have a membership with the national association, the Dietitians of Canada.

Dietitian salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Dietitian in Canada is $57,484 per year. This may vary depending on experience, company and location.

Job description samples for similar positions

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Dietitian job description FAQs

What is the difference between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?

One of the fundamental differences between Dietitians and Nutritionists is that a Dietitian must register with a regulatory body, whereas this is not necessary for Nutritionists. While both roles require similar qualifications, Dietitians focus mostly on the science of food and biology, and Nutritionists delve deeper into nutrition studies including nutritional program planning and promotion. A key difference between the two roles is that Nutritionists work primarily with healthy people and aim to promote continued well-being. However, Dietitians often work with both sick and healthy people, promote nutritional well-being, and treat medical conditions through medical nutrition therapy.

What qualities make a good Dietitian?

Exceptional listening skills and the ability to approach sensitive subjects with care and empathy are important for Dietitians to build a strong relationship with their clients. This allows for a more transparent and open consultation, leading to a more effective nutrition program for each individual. In roles that do not require one-on-one consultation and instead involve advising larger communities about health and nutrition, a broader interpersonal awareness of the local community (including cultural norms) is essential to success.

What should you look for in a Dietitian resume?

In-depth knowledge of nutrition, including a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related field, should be one of the first things you look for in a Dietitian candidates resume. Previous experience in Dietitian roles is preferable, however, supervised practical training is also an impressive start for less experienced Dietitian candidates. Proven people skills are also beneficial, so be sure to look out for previous roles that involve coaching, advising, and educating others.

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