The importance of nutrition and health cannot be overlooked. We all need guidance at some point in order to improve our fitness and get us on the right track in having the correct nutrition to nurture and help our bodies.
Nutritionists play a vital role in the health of people around the world and can help us to reach our health goals through guidance and teaching.
It is quite a broad area and covers a lot of material. Here are the basics if you’re looking to add to your education in the field with a postgraduate degree.
What do nutritionists do?
There are a few different titles within nutrition and health depending on the exact area you focus on and the course you take as your undergraduate degree. For now, we will look at the role of a nutritionist and exactly what they do. The day to day duties may often differ depending on your client and their specific needs. Typically, nutritionists work around 37.5 hours a week but that can vary depending on your employment. Nutritionists can work in the public sector, private sector or in education and research.
General duties may include:
- Provide information on food and healthy eating to clients
- Study the relationship between genes and nutrients
- Research how the body functions and the effect of nutrients on the body
- Study the effect of different types of diets on metabolism
- Provide advice and guidance to clients
- Inform and teach clients about the importance of nutrients and how to suit their diet to their personal needs
- Promote healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle
- Study and advise on special diets
- Educated health professionals on nutrition
- Liaise with other health professionals about clients in some cases
- Work as part of a team and with others
There are many courses to choose from in this area across the UK. Some courses offer the option of studying both part-time or full time. Some courses may have restrictions or changes due to Covid-19. More detail on courses can be found on university websites or course overviews. Examples of courses include:
Obesity and Endocrinology
Postgraduate courses in obesity and endocrinology allows students to gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to carry out research in this area to gain a postgraduate qualification. Areas that will be looked at include functional neuroimaging of appetite control in endocrine disease, real time measurement of appetite of appetite and studies of liver and muscle metabolism in obesity and much more.
Postgraduate course in human nutrition will give students a broad knowledge of human nutrition and develop scientific skills at a masters level. Students will have the ability to elicit, disseminate and apply their knowledge to promote an understanding of the effects of diet on human health and well being.
Other courses available in this area include Food and Nutrition, Dietetics, Sport and Exercise Nutrition and Advanced Professional Practice in Dietetics to name just a few.
Entry requirements may change from course to course and University to University so it is important to research your specific course to be sure you meet the criteria. In most cases, a bachelor’s degree is required. Some courses will look for a 2.1 degree while a 2.2 may suffice in others. More detailed course outlines can be found on University websites and course overviews.
The typical employers of a nutritionist may include:
- Sports and exercise industry
- Health and food departments
- National and local government organisations
The salary of a nutritionist can vary depending on your employment. Starting salaries are often less than the salary of a nutritionist who has a few years experience. Starting salaries can range from £15,000-£25,000 in public sector jobs and £20,000-£25,000 in the private sector. With experience, nutritionists can earn anything between £30,000 to £55,000. Senior roles can earn up to £80,000.
Skills and requirements
Skills and requirements needed in this area include:
- Strong communication skills
- Ability to work well with others
- Strong verbal skills
- Good interpersonal skills
- The ability to explain complex situations to clients
- An understanding and interest in science
- The ability to motivate others
- Business skills
- Interest in the impact of diet and food on health
- Interest and desire to continuously learn and increase knowledge