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What is a dietitian?

Registered Dietitians (RDs) are the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public health level. They work with both healthy and sick people.

What do dietitians do?

Dietitians interpret the science of nutrition to improve health and treat diseases/conditions by educating, giving practical advice and motivating clients, patients, carers and colleagues through behaviour change techniques.

Dietitians often work as integral members of multi-disciplinary teams to treat complex clinical conditions such as diabetes, food allergy and intolerance, eating disorders, and bowel disorders to name but a few. They provide advice to caterers to ensure the nutritional care of all clients in the NHS and other care settings such as nursing homes. They also plan and implement public health programmes to promote health and prevent nutrition related diseases. A key role of a dietitian is to train and educate other health and social care workers. They also advise on diet to avoid the side effects and interactions between medications.

Where do dietitians work?

Dietitians practise in a number of environments, which include the NHS and private clinics. Dietitians can work in the food industry, workplace, catering, education, sport and the media.

How much do dietitians earn?

In the NHS, an entry level qualified dietitian position would start at Band 5; please see our Pay and Benefits section for more information.

What career progression opportunities are available for dietitians?

With experience and additional training, dieticians could specialise in a clinical area. There are likely to be additional responsibilities such as supervision of juniors, research, teaching or management and leadership roles, particularly in senior roles.

How do I become a dietitian?

Do I need a degree? Yes, if you want to work in the NHS you will need to complete a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) approved course.
Where can I train in Wales? Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Is there funding available? Yes, for further information about available funding and eligibility please visit Student Awards Services.
Are there postgraduate opportunities? Cardiff Metropolitan University also runs post graduate diplomas in dietetics; these are an 18 month course which can be undertaken assuming a relevant undergraduate degree has been completed.
Do I need previous experience to apply for the course? The course requires work experience within a dietetic setting. In terms of the personal statement we would be looking for evidence of work experience and knowledge of the work of a dietitian, together with evidence of communication skills.
How do I get experience? Through work experience days delivered by Health Boards on a rolling programme. Visit Cardiff Metropolitan University’s site for more information about their experience day.

To find out about work experience and volunteering opportunities in NHS Wales visit our Work section.
How do I apply for a job? All vacancies for NHS Wales are advertised on NHS Jobs. Visit our Work section for more information.

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