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Career in Nutrition and Dietetics

Author: Sheetal Yadav
by Sheetal Yadav
Posted: Jun 04, 2020


The demand for nutritionists/dieticians has significantly increased over the years, owing to increased awareness amongst individuals to stay healthy and avoid high-calorie diets resulting in hypertension, obesity, and other food-related diseases.

Many people mistakenly use the terms "dietician" and "nutritionist" interchangeably. Although these two professions are undoubtedly related, they maintain distinctive qualities. Dietetics emphasizes on food management, whereas nutrition emphasizes on the promotion of health by way of healthy food.

The main difference between Nutritionists and Dietitians is that Nutritionists are not held accountable by a regulatory college so that anyone can use the Nutritionist title. However, if you’re looking to make a career as a Nutritionist, it’s best to gain as much educational and hands-on experience as possible.

Even though Nutritionists aren’t regulated, it doesn’t mean that they don’t offer good advice. Some Nutritionists may actually have extensive education in diet and nutrition. Some may even have bachelor’s degrees, just like a Dietitian. However, for individuals to call themselves a Nutritionist, mandatory education is not required most of the time. Unlike dieticians, the nutritionist profession is much less protected under the law. In fact, nutritionists that do not intend to use the titles of "dietician" or "registered dietician" are often free from government regulation.


Roles and Responsibilities:

Professionals in the field of dietetics often focus their efforts on specific populations, facilities or initiatives, including:

  • Designing individual nutritional therapies to address specific health issues, such as unhealthy weight, diabetes or hypertension
  • Developing facility-wide nutrition programs for health care, educational, correctional and other institutions
  • Increasing public awareness of proper nutritional standards and habits
  • Improving the accuracy and comprehension of food labels
  • Ensuring the safety of our food supply
  • Researching how changes in diet (such as reducing sugar intake) affect health (by reducing blood pressure)
  • Working with food manufacturers to improve the nutritional quality of prepared foods

Professionals in the field of nutrition often focus their efforts on specifics of nutrients, nourishment, and health, including:

  • Researching how the body’s functions are affected by nutrient supply
  • Investigating the relationship between genes and nutrients
  • Studying how diet affects metabolism
  • Examining the process of nourishment and the association between diet, disease, and health
  • Providing health advice and promoting healthy eating
  • Advising about special diets
  • Educating health professionals and the public about nutrition and its importance
  • Working as part of a multidisciplinary team/supporting the work of other health care professionals



  • Pursue Class 10 and Class 12 (Science with biology is preferred)
  • Pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Science with Food Technology or Nutrition
  • Pursue a relevant PG Diploma or a Masters of Science in Food and Nutrition
  • Obtain a Registered Dietician License from IDA (by clearing the Registered Dietician entrance exam and interning for 6-8 months)

You can take any stream after Class 10 for obtaining a nutrition or dietetics degree. However, we recommend the science stream (Physics, Chemistry, Biology), as it opens up a wider range of courses and career opportunities. Also, taking Biology as a subject will help you build a base through a focus on human physiology.

Like other professional courses, nutrition and dietetics courses are available in 3 formats in India. They are Diploma courses, Undergraduate (Degree) courses and Postgraduate (PG) courses (Certificate courses are also available, but they are not highly valued or detailed). Let us check out each course format and find out vital details about them-


Relevant Courses:

  • B.Sc. in Clinical Nutrition
  • B.Sc. in Nutrition and Dietetics
  • B.Sc. in Food Science and Nutrition
  • B.Sc. in Applied Nutrition
  • B.Sc. in Dietetics
  • B.Sc. in Home Science (Nutrition and Food Science specialization)

Course Duration: 3 years

Eligibility criteria: The minimum eligibility for pursuing UG in Dietetics and Nutrition is X and XII qualifications from an approved educational board with Biology/Chemistry/Physics as the major subjects studied in class XII, with an aggregate score of at least 55 percent. Some colleges/universities also accept Botany/Computer Science/Biochemistry/Zoology as the major subjects studied in class XII.

Note: The above mentioned are the standard eligibility criteria. The criteria can differ from institute to institute.


Graduates have a handful of PG courses to choose from. M.Sc. and PG Diploma courses can be used to specialize in disciplines such as-

  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Paediatric Nutrition
  • Public Health Nutrition
  • Food Science/Technology
  • Sports Nutrition/Dietetics
  • Gerontological Nutrition
  • Renal Nutrition

Duration: M.Sc. course lasts for a period of 2 years.

Eligibility: To pursue PG in Dietetics and Nutrition, the basic eligibility criteria is graduation or equivalent degree in a pertinent discipline completed from an approved university, with an aggregate score of at least 55 percent. Subjects learned/studied must include food and Home Science, Biology, Clinical Nutrition and Biochemistry, Microbiology, Physiology, and Dietetics. And clear an entrance test.

Note: The above mentioned are the standard eligibility criteria. The criteria can differ from institute to institute.


Postgraduate diploma courses are short and very comprehensive. These courses expose the students to fundamentals and details of nutrition. Most of them end with 6-8 weeks of compulsory internship at a healthcare center.

Duration: The PG Diploma course lasts for a period of 1 year.

Eligibility criteria: Students must possess a relevant Bachelor’s Degree from a recognized University/Institute. The minimum aggregate marks required could be around 50-55% (or equivalent grade). Admission to PG Diploma is merit-based.

In most cases, a postgraduate diploma is enough, but if you want to study in detail and conduct a dissertation at your post-graduate level, then an M.Sc would be a better option. If you are just looking to obtain the Registered Dietician License, a PG Diploma is sufficient.

Further studies:

After a Master’s or PG Diploma course, you may go for further advanced (relevant) programs like M.Phil. and Ph.D.

CAREER IN NUTRITION AND DIETETICS: Specializations and Job Profiles for Dietetics and Nutrition Programmes:

Clinical Dietitians/Nutritionists provide medical nutrition therapy for patients in institutions such as hospitals and nursing care facilities. They assess patients’ nutritional needs, develop and implement nutrition programs, and evaluate and report the results. They confer with doctors and other health care professionals in order to coordinate medical and dietary needs. Some clinical dieticians specialize in the management of overweight and critically ill patients, such as those with renal (kidney) disease and diabetes.

In addition, clinical dieticians in nursing care facilities, small hospitals, or correctional facilities may manage the food service department.

Community Dietitians/Nutritionists develop nutrition programs designed to prevent disease and promote health, targeting particular groups of people. Dietitians in this practice area may work in settings such as public health clinics, fitness centers, corporate wellness programs, or home health agencies.

Corporate Dietitians/Nutritionists work in food manufacturing, advertising, and marketing. In these areas, dieticians analyze foods, prepare literature for distribution, or report on issues such as the nutritional content of recipes, dietary fiber, or vitamin supplements.

Management Dietitians/Nutritionists oversee large-scale meal planning and preparation in health care facilities, company cafeterias, prisons, and schools. They hire, train and direct other dieticians and food service workers; budget for and purchase food, equipment, and supplies; enforce sanitary and safety regulations, and prepare records and reports.

Consultant Dietitians/Nutritionists work under contract with health care facilities or in their own private practice. They perform nutrition assessments for their clients and advise them about diet-related concerns, such as weight loss or cholesterol reduction. Some work for wellness programs, sports teams, supermarkets, and other nutrition-related businesses. They consult with food service managers, providing expertise in sanitation, safety procedures, menu development, budgeting, and planning.

Sports Dieticians/Nutritionists work under contract with athletes. They teach athletes/fitness enthusiasts effective ways to improve health, optimize performance, manage weight, advice on dietary practices and exercise. They also foresee the intake of vitamins, minerals, or supplements.

Pediatric Dieticians/Nutritionists are responsible for encouraging healthy food choices for children of all ages and backgrounds by assessing and coordinating nutritional menus. revolve around the health of children with and without special needs, such as those with obesity or diabetes. Pediatric dieticians plan menus, incorporating balanced diets supporting healthy nourishment. They also counsel children or parents on healthy eating and basic nutrition.


  1. National Institute of Nutrition
  2. J.D. Birla Institute of Home Science
  3. Institute of Home Economics, University of Delhi
  4. Lady Irwin College, New Delhi
  5. All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health


Knowledge of diet and nutrition is just one factor that takes to successfully work in a dietetics and nutrition job. Everyday duties will necessitate distinct skills, and by perfecting and refining these skills you can make yourself more competitive and your work will be much more attainable and enjoyable. The vital skills necessary for pursuing this program are as mentioned below:

Communication Skills Strong verbal and listening skills Interpersonal Skills Building and developing excellent relationships with carers/patients Time Management Ability to prioritize work and manage cases including the ability to work under pressure Team Working Skills Ability to work efficiently as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team and solving conflicts Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills Ability to explain complex ideas easily, and using logic/reasoning to identify the strengths/weaknesses of alternative solutions Service Orientation Skills Enthusiastically looking for ways to help others and a compassionate/caring approach to other people’s feelings Persuasion and Negotiation Skills Persuading others to change their minds or behavior and assisting patients to overcome barriers and develop positive change Judgment and Decision-Making Skills Ability to do cost and benefit of potential actions and considering the right option


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for dietician nutritionists will grow 16% from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. It notes that the role of food in good health is well known, leading to a larger role for dietician nutritionists and nutrition and dietetic technicians in patient care and to advise people who want to improve their health.


  • Taj Group
  • Eli Lily
  • Hyatt Corporation
  • Fortis Hospital
  • Apollo Hospitals
  • Nestle
  • Cadbury’s
  • Unilever
  • Dumex
  • Novartis
We hope this is going to be helpful if you are planning to pursue a career in nutrition and dietetics. Read our other career blogs here:
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Author: Sheetal Yadav

Sheetal Yadav

Member since: May 28, 2020
Published articles: 4

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