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How to become a Dietitian

Dietitians are healthcare professionals who are qualified in dietetics. They understand how bodies and nutrition work together to provide maximum nourishment and benefit to our bodies. They are licensed to assess and diagnose nutritional problems, then treat patients by adjusting their diets and eating habits.

If you’re great with people, and have a healthy lifestyle and outlook combined with a desire to help others, a career in dietetics could be perfect for you.

About you:

  • Compassionate, good listener and excellent communicator
  • Good with numbers to accurately calculate calories, body fat percentages, BMI etc
  • Problem solver with a flexible approach and persuasive manner

The job: 

  • Assess patient or client health and diet, diagnose nutritionally related problems
  • Create customised diet plans and menus that cover all nutritional requirements, taking into account medical conditions and personal preferences
  • Monitor food preparation, intake and their effects, charting patients progress
  • Consult with other health professionals and related workers
  • Educate and inform through policies, reports, face-to-face contact (e.g. meetings, workshops, public speaking)
  • Keep up to date with current information, advice and practises

Lifestyle Impact: Low

  • Part Time opportunities: High– around 49% of Dieticians work part-time (source:
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 42 hours a week, which is just below average (source:
  • Dieticians’ salary (median) $60,000* per year (source: *Salaries vary depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Strong (source:
  • You will be doing most of your work indoors. You can work in a variety of environments, including hospitals, aged care facilities, schools, doctor’s offices, or from a private clinic.

Dieticians are most in demand in these locations:

Demand for Dieticians is spread evenly across Australia, with highest demand in New South Wales and the ACT. Most Dieticians work in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry.

How to become a Dietitian in Australia

It can take as little as 4.5 years from leaving Year 12 to becoming a fully qualified dietitian depending on the pathway you choose.

Step 1 – Study English, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, and Health at school

Step 2 – Complete your university qualifications in a dietetics related program – research and consider taking an accredited qualification. This pathway could make you eligible for entry level roles in the industry.

Step 3 – Complete required work experience/internships (20 weeks) and clinical placements.

Step 4 – Apply for accreditation through the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA). You may also be required to obtain a National Police Check, First aid certificate, up to date immunisations, and a Working with Children Check.

Find out more here –

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Food Technologist

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Find out more about alternative careers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the role of a dietitian? 

Typically they assess patient or clients nutritional and health needs, inform them about nutrition issues and healthy eating habits, and develop meal and nutrition plans, taking preferences and budgets into account.

How long does it take to become a practising dietitian?

To qualify for entry level positions in Australia it takes around 4 years from leaving high school (Year 12).

Where do dietitians work?

Dietitians work in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, private practices, schools, prisons, community services and public health settings, sports, and within the food industry.

Do I need to go to university to become a dietitian?

Yes, you’ll need to complete a relevant degree, undertake work experience, and apply for accreditation from the DAA.

What’s the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist?

Although dietitians and nutritionists work in similar areas, nutritionists are not a regulated profession in Australia. Both are able to offer similar services, such as educating people about healthy eating and advising on menu plans and dietary requirements.

Dietitians can offer more advanced services such as individual dietary counselling, medical nutrition therapy, group dietary therapy and food service management. Dietitians are qualified to help manage conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, food allergies, and intolerances.


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