How to become a Dietitian

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: August 2016
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • What qualifications and skills are required?
  • Key market issues and trends
  • Trading, commercial and legal issues
  • Legislation
  • Further information

Dietitians are allied health professionals who assess, diagnose and treat patients with dietary and nutritional problems, including diabetics, people with coeliac disease, and children with autism or attention deficit disorder. Most dietitians also provide diet and nutrition advice to 'healthy' patients who wish to improve their general health and well-being, and some provide dietetic services to amateur and professional sportspeople in order to improve their stamina and performance.

Dietetics is a regulated profession, and it is illegal to practise under the title 'dietitian' without being registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). Once registered with the HCPC, dietitians in England who have sufficient practical experience can complete further training and qualifications to become a supplementary prescriber.

Most independent dietitians enter private practice after being employed in the NHS, and there are opportunities to provide private dietetic treatment to individual patients who self-refer or are referred by a private medical practice. There are also opportunities for private providers of dietetic treatment to accept referrals from the NHS and local authority social services departments or to provide consultancy services under contract for commercial clients such as food manufacturers, charities, media organisations and sports clubs and teams. Some independent dietitians specialise in a particular area of practice, such as paediatric dietetics or sports nutrition.

This profile provides information about starting up and practising as an independent dietitian. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and the key trading issues. It also explains the legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information and support.

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