what is a dietitian?

As a dietitian, you are a trained health professional specialising in food and nutrition. Your primary role is to help people make healthy choices about their food and eating habits. You develop personalised meal plans that suit individuals' needs and lifestyles.

Dietitians play a crucial role in promoting good health and preventing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. You work in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, schools, gyms, and corporate offices, to provide nutrition counselling and education to individuals and groups.

To work as a dietician, you typically hold a bachelor's or master's degree in nutrition and dietetics and are registered with the Indian Dietetic Association (IDA). You have in-depth knowledge of the nutrient content of food, how the body uses those nutrients and the relationship between diet and health. You also keep yourself up-to-date with the latest research and trends in nutrition and use evidence-based practices to guide your recommendations.

Does the thought of working to help people improve and maintain their physical health and well-being appeal to you? If so, read on to discover what skills and qualifications you need to thrive in this profession.

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average dietitian salary

According to Payscale, the average salary of a dietitian is ₹251,346 per year. This average falls almost centrally in the overall salary range. That range starts at a little over ₹100,000 per year for entry-level positions and can go as high as ₹600,000 per year for the most experienced dietitians.

factors that affect dietitian's pay

Your salary can vary depending on several factors, including your experience, qualifications, and the industry you work in. While qualifications are essential to becoming a dietitian in the first place, experience is probably the biggest factor in how much you are paid.

If you are fresh out of university and are just starting your career, you will likely earn a lower salary than when you have several years of experience. Education is not irrelevant when it comes to salary, however. If you have a master's degree, you may be able to command a higher salary than if you have a bachelor's degree.

woman with short hair wearing glasses and white coat
woman with short hair wearing glasses and white coat

types of dietitians

The field of nutrition is vast, and there are many potential areas to specialise in. Here are some of the more common types of dietitians:

  • clinical dietitians: as a clinical dietitian, you work in hospitals and other healthcare settings. You help patients manage their medical conditions through nutrition therapy. For example, you may work with a patient who has diabetes to develop a meal plan that helps them manage their blood sugar levels. You also work with patients with other medical conditions, such as heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer.
  • sports dietitians: in this role, you work with athletes to optimise their nutrition for athletic performance. You develop meal plans and nutrition strategies that meet the unique needs of athletes, such as optimising energy levels, maintaining hydration, and promoting recovery. Sports dietitians may work with professional or amateur athletes and individuals who engage in recreational sports.
  • pediatric dietitians: you specialise in the nutritional needs of children from infancy to adolescence. You work with children with medical conditions or specific nutritional needs, such as food allergies or feeding difficulties. Part of your role may also involve working with children with weight management issues, helping them achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • community dietitians: as a community dietitian, you work with communities and groups to promote healthy eating and prevent chronic diseases. You may work with schools, public health agencies, or community organisations to provide nutrition education and develop nutrition programs. You also work with policymakers and advocacy groups to promote healthy eating policies.

working as a dietitian

The specific duties of a dietitian include the following:


education and skills

Some of the academic qualifications for dietitians include:

  • 12 standard: becoming a dietitian will require a degree, which in turn requires a 12-standard education in a science stream.
  • bachelor's degree: a bachelor's degree will be necessary if you want to become a dietitian. The two most common subjects to study at this level are nutrition and food technology.
  • master's degree: a master's degree is not essential, but having one can increase your earning potential and give your practice more credibility, especially if you intend to work as a consultant.

dietitian skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a dietitian include:

  • empathy: you are able to understand and connect with your clients on a personal level. You are empathetic to their challenges and concerns and able to provide support and encouragement.
  • communication: part of your job involves communicating complex nutritional information to your clients in a way that is easy to understand. You are also able to listen actively to your clients to understand their unique needs and preferences.
  • technical knowledge: everything you do as a dietitian is built on a foundation of science-based knowledge. You are able to draw on this knowledge when needed and have the drive to keep yourself informed on the latest developments in your field.
group of medical professionals
group of medical professionals

FAQs about working as a dietitian

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a dietitian.

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