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As a nutritionist, you’ll be helping others make better decisions with their eating habits to improve their mental and physical health. Nutritionists can work in a variety of ways that are rewarding both personally and financially.
But what makes a good nutritionist? And how do you become registered? Read on to find out more.
Nutritionists use an extensive knowledge of science and food to help people make better choices around what they eat. All with the aim of supporting them in improving their mental and physical health.
There’s some crossover between working as a dietician and a nutritionist that sometimes makes it difficult to understand the difference.
A dietician is a legally regulated profession, helping to treat a patient’s dietary conditions or disorders.
While nutritionists aren’t regulated by law and advise people on how to make healthy choices with their food – but generally work with less complex dietary requirements.
Nutritionists work with a variety of people who all have different needs. A large food production company looking to understand their product and an athlete wanting to optimise their diet for better performance will require very different advice.
A nutritionist will utilise their knowledge of food science and nutrition to tailor a service to fit their client’s needs.
A career as a nutritionist offers different benefits depending on which area you choose to work in. But there are positive aspects that will feature in most nutritionist roles.
Some of the key benefits are:
There isn’t one defined path to becoming a nutritionist and, even though many nutritionists have one, you don't necessarily need a degree.
You’ll need an extensive knowledge of food science and nutrition, which most people get through university but you can always gain this through experience.
The Association for Nutrition (AFN) is the recognised regulator for nutritionists in the UK. To become a registered nutritionist through the AFN, you need either a degree from an approved university or seven years of experience in a related field.
Being a certified nutritionist under the AFN is useful as it demonstrates to businesses and potential clients that you're qualified and maintain industry standards. But it isn’t the only way, it all depends on what area you specialise in.
If you have the expertise to work as a self-employed nutritionist, there are many different areas you can choose to specialise in.
A common practice for self-employed nutritionists is to consult with food production companies to help them understand the nutrition of their products. And because these companies need to become more transparent about their product’s nutritional information, nutritionists are in demand.
If you prefer an experience where you’ll work more closely with people, setting up your own business could be a good option. You’d support people with making healthier food choices and see the direct impact of your advice.
Sports nutrition is also a popular area to work in. It requires great attention to detail and deep knowledge of sports science.
The amount a nutritionist earns varies depending on the level of experience as well as location and industry.
According to the National Careers Service, a nutritionist makes between £27,000 and £40,000 a year depending on seniority.
But this is based on working in the public sector where the earning potential is more limited than in the private sector.
If you choose to work privately, you set your own rates. If you’re unsure what price you should be charging, nutritionists roughly charge between £40 to £50 an hour depending on location.
This depends on how qualified you’d like to be. A university degree in nutrition costs £9,250 a year but this is paid off over an extended period of time.
The only other cost associated with becoming a nutritionist is if you want to be registered with the Association for Nutrition.
The application fee for becoming a registered nutritionist (RNutr) is £361 and the annual renewal fee is £134.
But it’s considered a worthwhile investment as some clients only consider working with registered nutritionists.
The only nutrition professionals who are regulated by law and governed by an ethical code are dietitians.
While nutritionists have a responsibility to give people the correct advice on healthy eating habits, it’s not enforced by law.
Many nutritionists choose to become registered as a way to show their credibility and expertise.
As a nutritionist, you’ll regularly be giving people health advice while also running a business.
Balancing everything can be tricky. For nutritionist businesses, we usually build an insurance policy around public and product liability cover, adding protection for equipment, stock, legal costs, employees, and more, where required.
It’s also worth considering professional indemnity insurance as this will protect you against a claim if you make a mistake in your work or give bad advice.
When you become a self-employed nutritionist, you’ll need to pay taxes through the Self Assessment process.
Is there anything else you'd like to know about becoming a nutritionist? Let us know in the comments below.
Zach Hayward-Jones is a Copywriter at Simply Business, with six years of writing experience across entertainment, insurance, and financial services. Zach specialises in covering small business and landlord insurance. He has a particular interest in issues impacting the hospitality industry after spending a number of years working as a pastry chef.
We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer
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