Nutritionist

Nutritionist

Nutritionists study the effects of food on a person's health and give recommendations around dietary habits to assist their clients in living a healthy lifestyle.

Nutritionists can work in a variety of industries including public health, nutrition consultancy, research, and food technology. The average salary of a Nutritionist is $70,694 per annum.

Salary range
Average salary $70,694
salary range
$64,583
$70,694
$76,805
Source: SEEK
Projected job growth
36% by 2020
36%
2015
2020
Source: joboutlook.gov.au
Employment by region
The top three regions for employment as a Nutritionist are:
NSW
NSW 33.2%
VIC
VIC 32.6%
QLD
QLD 20.5%
Source: joboutlook.gov.au

A day in the life of a Nutritionist

Key skills required

The top skills for a Nutritionist are:
  • Enjoy food and food preparation
  • Interested in health and wellbeing
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Aptitude for science and research
Source: myfuture.edu.au
Career pathway planner
Starting out
Starting out

Shape an amazing career in health with a diploma.

Study the fundamentals of nutrition, anatomy, and physiology, and prepare yourself to work in the healthcare industry.

  • Diploma of Nutrition
  • Diploma of Health Science
Moving up in the industry
Moving up in the industry

Give yourself a healthy advantage in the job market with a degree in nutrition or nutritional medicine.

Learn the skills you need to become a Nutritional Therapist, including counselling and diagnostic techniques.

  • Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine)
  • Bachelor of Nutrition

Nutritionist job description

What does a Nutritionist do?

Nutritionists take a holistic view of a person’s lifestyle, dietary habits, and overall health, to provide their client with customised nutritional advice. 

After creating a nutritional plan, a Nutritionist will continue to monitor their client’s progress and any changes or improvements to their health.

Nutritionists often work in a preventative capacity, assisting people to identify and change dietary habits that could lead to future health problems. As a Nutritionist, you’ll have a strong understanding of the connection between diet and disease and how nutrition and lifestyle factors impact overall wellbeing.

In addition to providing nutritional assessment, advice and ongoing support to clients, Nutritionists may be involved in coordinating community health initiatives, promoting nutritional education and researching population health.

For more information on the skills and qualifications you’ll need to work as a Nutritionist, check out how to become a Nutritionist.

Daily tasks for a Nutritionist

The daily tasks of a Nutritionist may vary depending on the setting they work in, but typically include:

  • Discussing a person’s dietary habits with them to assess their health needs.
  • Explaining nutrition and nutritional deficiencies.
  • Developing meal plans to meet a client’s health needs, goals, budget and personal preferences.
  • Monitoring client progress and making changes to meal plans as required.
  • Consulting with other health professionals when a client has special needs.
  • Researching and substantiating nutritional claims.

A day in the life of a Nutritionist


Where do Nutritionists work?

Nutritionists can work in a range of fields including private practice, community health, research, fitness, and food production. Jobs for Nutritionists can be found in health food stores, gyms and health clubs, natural medicine practices, consulting laboratories and government organisations. 

Some Nutritionists may choose to focus their practice in a specialised area, such as sports nutrition, weight management or food service. Most roles for Nutritionists involve a high level of contact with the public.

Nutritionists in the private or public sector usually work regular business hours, though Nutritionists who are self-employed or run their own business may work flexible or longer hours to meet their clients’ needs.

What is the difference between a Nutritionist and a Dietician?

A Nutritionist may hold a tertiary qualification in one of several fields including nutrition, food science or public health.

A Dietician holds a dietetics qualification that includes supervised and assessed professional practice in clinical nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and food service management. Dieticians often work in hospitals or long-term care facilities. Only a Dietician is qualified to provide medical or clinical therapy and consultations. 

In Australia, all Dieticians can work as Nutritionists, however Nutritionists are not qualified to carry out the specialised tasks of a Dietician. 

How to become a Nutritionist

If you’re passionate about being healthy, and helping others stay healthy too, a career as a Nutritionist could be your dream role. Working as a professional Nutritionist will require more than passion though - certain skills and qualifications are highly recommended to make it in this field.

As a Nutritionist, you’ll focus on a wholefood philosophy and use food as medicine to improve your client’s wellbeing, health, and quality of life. Nutritionists usually work in private practice, or at a health food store, pharmacy or fitness centre. Read more about the job description of a Nutritionist.

What technical & professional skills do I need to become a Nutritionist?

In order to provide accurate and quality nutritional advice and ensure public safety, it’s recommended that all practising Nutritionists undergo formal training.

Providing nutritional advice without the proper education presents extreme risks, as explained by qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist Daniel Roytas.

"Individuals without proper training will not be able to become members of professional bodies or associations, and therefore will not be able to be covered by professional indemnity or public liability insurance,” says Daniel.

In order to gain broad knowledge of the field of nutrition and apply for membership with professional bodies including ANTA, ATMS and ANPA, you'll need to study a ‘Level 6’ qualification. This course will equip you with a strong foundation in physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, and dietary modification. 

If you’re interested in working as a Nutritionist in a clinical setting and becoming a classified professional, the minimum level of study required is a Bachelor degree in nutrition.

A qualification such as the Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine) is focused on training you to become an effective primary health care practitioner with subjects including medical biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and clinical diagnosis.

What if I have experience in a related field?

If you’re already working in a similar industry but want to specialise as a Nutritionist, look for a course that includes a compulsory work placement element so you can gain experience while studying.

"When you start working as a Nutritionist, it’s not just about your qualifications but also your experience,” says SEEK Learning Consultant Melinda Potente. “You need to know how to deal with people, to complement your theory work.”

Should I become a Nutritionist?

To be a successful Nutritionist, you will need to have:

  • a passion for overall wellbeing
  • an empathetic nature
  • good communication skills
  • an analytical mind

Melinda says it’s often people who have gone through their own health issues who are keen to make nutrition their career.

"We have a lot of mums interested in nutrition, who have found firsthand that food can help with certain issues,” she adds. Nutrition is also a common field for people who have worked in the fitness or lifestyle industry and are keen to continue helping people live better lives.

"You also have to be very good with people in general, because a big portion of your work involves assessing patients or clients using a more holistic approach,” Melinda explains. ”You need to build a rapport with the client to better assess the person and prescribe a tailored response.”