Career Guide


Daniella Driscoll  · Jan 25th 2023

The world of Nutrition is a very exciting one! Well, exciting might be a slightly overstated adjective to use, but the world is certainly starting to embrace healthy living in a way that would make the world of Nutrition more and more important and that’s

Preparing food while using tablet

Nutritionists are experts in food science to help advise about the right choices when thinking about how we eat.

As a nutritionist, you are a diet specialist, passionate about a healthy lifestyle, and keen to develop your knowledge of scientific nutritional advice. It’s a community role where you will collaborate and work with numerous types of people.

Nutritionist resource

What is a nutritionist?

As a nutritionist, you will help share your understanding and knowledge of the effects of diet and nutrition on health and wellbeing. Nutritionists are experts in food science and work with others to promote a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Nutritionists can either work within local authority public health teams, or community settings to promote a healthy diet and lifestyle. Alternatively, there’s the option to work within health service nutrition and dietetics departments and work closely with ill or hospitalised patients, under the supervision of another professional.

A nutritionist doesn’t require any specific qualifications, however, it’s expected by employers to be registered with the Association for Nutrition (AfN).

Nutritionists can specialise in one or two areas such as public health nutrition, food science/industry, sports and exercise nutrition, nutrition science, healthcare-medical and animal nutrition. You will work either in the public or private sectors. These can range from local authorities, and sports organisations to the NHS and food retailers.


As a nutritionist, your responsibilities can vary on the type of organisation you are working for, however, here are the general day-to-day expectations:

  • Create and deliver educational food-based initiatives to encourage patients and clients to practise healthy lifestyle changes.
  • Help communities, individuals and workforces make practical and positive changes to health and society.
  • Work on nutrition research projects to widen your knowledge.
  • Create and deliver presentations and workshops on topics including health education, eating for performance and weight management.
  • Provide evidence-based nutritional advice for healthy eating and lifestyle for individuals and groups.
  • Work as a sports nutritionist and advise them on how diet can optimise performance and achieve the optimum body size.
  • Provide healthy eating advice to particular client groups including infants or the elderly and within specific areas such as sugar reduction.
  • Create and analyse menus for various organisations such as workplace restaurants and school meals.
  • Work with food production companies to provide nutritional information and secure approval for health claims on packaging.
  • Lead food research, surveys and clinical trials to develop your evidence-based advice.
  • Recruit volunteers to take part in clinical trials and dietary surveys.
  • Collaborate with other health professionals, working under the supervision of dietitians, doctors and nurses with patients in hospitals.
  • Share nutritional advice across many mediums such as e-learning tutorials, social media, video podcasts, webinars and seminars.
  • Create reports and advocate change based on your research.


The salary of a nutritionist can vary depending on whether you work in a public health organisation or as a private nutritionist. Working in the NHS, nutritionists are paid on the Agenda for Change pay system. Entry-level nutritionists start on a band 5 salary which ranges from £27,055 - £32,934, and with more experience, can apply for band 6 salary positions. Band 6 ranges from £33,706- £40,588.

Generally, across the UK, the average nutritionist’s salary is £28,000[1]. Entry-level nutritionists can expect their starting salary to be around £15,200 and for the most experienced nutritionists, your salary can increase to £70,000[2].

Working as self-employed, your salary can increase further. You will charge your rate, either by hourly, day or project rate, depending on your type of work and who you are working with.

Nutritionist assistant jobs


A nutritionist doesn’t require any specific qualifications, however, it’s expected by employers to be registered with the Association for Nutrition (AfN). To register, you need to have a minimum of an honours degree level in nutritional science. Ensure, when choosing a degree, it’s accredited by the AfN.

The relevant degrees can include:

Although, if you take a degree which isn’t accredited or in a different subject, there’s the option to study for an accredited master's qualification. For undergraduates with an accredited degree, a master's isn’t essential, however, a postgraduate qualification can come in handy to further your study and knowledge or if you want to specialise in a certain area. For example, sports science if you want to work in sports or performance nutrition.

If you have gained a higher national diploma (HND) in nutrition, it’s possible to work at level band 3 or 4 in the healthcare sector and work your way up. Substantial experience and gaining additional qualifications will be required to progress further.

Training and development

For nutrition jobs, training is essential. Working as an NHS nutritionist, you will be provided with introduction training to the area and its local groups and agencies. It’s essential as a nutritionist to keep your training and knowledge up to date, either through your work or independently.

In a competitive industry, paid or voluntary experience is beneficial to aid entry into the role and career progression.

Once qualified and as a registered associate nutritionist, (ANutr), you will work under the supervision of another health professional. You will also receive support from more experienced nutritionists, through mentoring and usually work with them, rather than working independently. With three years in the industry, you can apply for your registration status on the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN) to be a registered nutritionist (RNutr).

Other than experience in the industry, you will also need to meet certain requirements to gain this full registered status. These include meeting competency requirements in one or two of the six specialisms: food, animal, healthcare-medical, public health, nutrition science and sports and exercise.

ANutr nutritionists don’t usually carry out independent work. Suppose you want to go directly into the role of a registered nutritionist (RNutr). In that case, it’s possible with the right degree, sufficient experience within professional practice and an understanding of nutrition.

Continuing professional development (CPD) is vital as a nutritionist, to stay on top of evolving scientific research and develop your understanding. The Afn is a great source for CPD, offering a range of activities organised by relevant organisations such as the British Nutrition Foundation and The Nutrition Society. The activities vary from nutrition courses to conferences and networking opportunities.

For nutritionist research jobs, you can also develop your studies by gaining a master's level or PhD qualification in nutrition. This qualification can also be beneficial to work in more senior roles.


A nutritionist's role is friendly, science-based and requires strong communication elements. These are the required skills:

  • Strong knowledge of biology and a talent for science.
  • Excellent communication skills including written, verbal and presentation.
  • A passion for helping others and a keen interest in science.
  • Great at working within a team.
  • The ability to work independently and multi-task.
  • Excellent with time management, organisation and paying attention to detail.
  • The ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
  • Use a computer and its software effectively.
  • Self-motivated and keen to encourage and motivate others.
  • Commitment to your learning and training, including CPD.
  • Good eye for business.
  • An understanding, empathetic nature.
  • Great with evaluations, reporting and data research.

Nutrition assistant jobs

Work experience

In a competitive industry, paid or voluntary experience is beneficial to aid entry into the role and career progression.

Degrees often offer a placement year in an industry such as a healthcare setting. This can help you build a contact base and gain practical experience.

You can also volunteer for your local NHS trust or work in other sectors voluntarily such as food safety, animal welfare or sports and fitness. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Do IT also provide volunteer opportunities. Other volunteer opportunities can be working for a charity, such as in a food bank or for other nonprofits.

You can also register as a student member of The Nutrition Society when studying. This can provide you with reduced fees for relevant publications and events, and offer the opportunity to meet many professionals and students.

Career prospects

As a nutritionist, with experience, and further training, your career progression can depend on your interests. Many registered nutritionists (RNutr) practise independently and specialise in a certain area. You can choose from animal nutrition, food science, and public health to sports and exercise nutrition.

As a nutritionist, you will help share your understanding and knowledge of the effects of diet and nutrition on health and wellbeing.

You can also work your way up to a senior level within your organisation, going into the job of leading a team of nutritionists or advising nutrition to the government.

The research route is another option, where you will lead a similar path to research scientists. This means studying for your PhD and working in roles such as a research executive in a research institute or public body.

Being a nutritionist can open up opportunities to travel by working on community projects in the developing world.

Alternatively, you can go down the self-employed route, working as a freelance nutrition consultant, freelance dietician or setting up your nutritionist firm.


  • [1]Nutritionist salary in England — Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  • [2]Nutritionist Salary in the UK — Retrieved 30 September 2022.

undergraduate Uni's

Get your questions answered by sending them an enquiry now.