Simply Business homepage
  • Business insurance

    • Business Insurance FAQs

    Business insurance covers

  • Support
  • Claims
  • Sign In
Call Us0333 0146 683
Chat With UsChat support 24/7

How to become a nutritionist: a guide for the self-employed

4-minute read

Nutritionist showing results to a patient
Zach Hayward-Jones

Zach Hayward-Jones

12 June 2023

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

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.

What does a nutritionist do?

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.

What are the benefits of being a nutritionist?

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:

  • making a positive impact – something that draws people to a career as a nutritionist is a passion for promoting good health. Feeling as though you make a positive impact on people’s lives can be fulfilling and is a benefit of becoming a nutritionist
  • versatile – it’s a career that spans a variety of industries. You can work in sports, health clinics, food, or as a private consultant – all demanding different aspects of a nutritionist’s skillset
  • in demand – with many people looking to live a healthier lifestyle and companies required to share nutritional information, it’s an in-demand profession
  • flexible – being a self-employed nutritionist means you can organise your work schedule around your personal life

How to become a nutrionist – a step-by-step guide

1. What qualifications do you need to become a nutritionist?

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.

2. Choose a specialisation

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.

3. Nutritionist salary – how much can you make?

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.

4. How much does it cost to become a nutritionist?

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.

6. Insurance needs

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.

7. Tax responsibilities

When you become a self-employed nutritionist, you’ll need to pay taxes through the Self Assessment process.

Make sure you’re prepared for the Self Assessment deadline by getting into good bookkeeping and accounting habits.

More useful articles for the self-employed

Is there anything else you'd like to know about becoming a nutritionist? Let us know in the comments below.

Ready to set up your cover?

As one of the UK's biggest business insurance providers, we specialise in public liability insurance and protect more trades than anybody else. Why not take a look now and build a quick, tailored quote?

Start your quote
Jacob Lund/
Zach Hayward-Jones

Written by

Zach Hayward-Jones

<span style='font-size: undefined;'>Zach Hayward-Jones is a Copywriter at Simply Business, with seven years of writing experience across entertainment, insurance, and financial services. With a keen interest in issues affecting the hospitality and construction sector, Zach focuses on news relevant to small business owners. Covering industry updates, regulatory changes, and practical guides. </span>

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

Find this article useful? Spread the word.

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

Keep up to date with Simply Business. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media.

Subscribe to our newsletter


HomePopular articlesGeneral businessGuestInsuranceLandlordLandlord resourcesLegal and financeMarketingNewsOpinionProperty maintenanceTradesmanCovid-19 business support hub


Public liability insuranceBusiness insuranceProfessional indemnity insuranceEmployers’ liability insuranceLandlord insuranceTradesman insuranceSelf-employed insuranceRestaurant insuranceVan insuranceInsurers


About usOur teamAwardsPress releasesPartners & affiliatesOur charitable workModern Slavery ActSection 172 statementSocial mediaSite map

Customer support

Contact & supportPolicy renewalMake a claimProof of policyComplaintsAccessibility


6th Floor99 Gresham StreetLondonEC2V 7NG

Northampton 900900 Pavilion DriveNorthamptonNN4 7RG


Careers at Simply BusinessTech careersCurrent opportunities


BenefitsRefer a friend


Terms & conditionsPrivacy policyCookie policyVuln Disclosure policy


Knowledge centreOpinionsMicrosites

© Copyright 2024 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.