Career choice as a dietician or nutritionist is a well paid profession in today’s time of large incidents of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, kidney diseases etc. Though dieticians and nutritionists are working in the same field, there are significant differences between the careers of a dietician and a nutritionist.
The major job profile of a dietician is to guide the patients on healthy eating habits and draw up a balanced and personalized diet plan considering various factors such as the patient’s dietary restrictions, job constraints, fitness level and stress level while the responsibility of a nutritionist is to study the effect of different types of food on patients in order to prevent the incidence of diseases as well as to research the effect of various environmental factors on food.
A number of national and international universities offer B.Sc, M.Sc and Post Graduate Diploma courses in Nutrition and Dietetics. Various specializations offered at master’s level include applied nutrition; human nutrition and dietetics; food and catering studies; diet management and nutrition management.
Career opportunities are abundantly available in healthcare industry such as hospitals and clinics, food industry such as food processing units and food manufacturing plants, academic institutions such as residential schools and international boarding schools, hospitality industry such as hotels and resorts, aviation industry such as private airlines and so on.
The major responsibility of a dietician in food industry is the development and improvement of food products as well as the supervision of quality food production. In health care industry, the responsibility of a dietician include planning of balanced diet for the infants, the pregnant women, the nursing mothers, sportspersons, and for the people suffering from obesity and other lifestyle diseases such diabetics, kidney or coronary patients. In health and fitness centres, dietician is engaged in providing diet consultancy for the clients. In academic institutions and hotels, they are responsible for the quality management of the cooked and served meals.
Teaching and research is also a good career option for qualified dieticians. A lot of research opportunities are available with international organizations like the United Nations Organisation and World Health Organisation. Experienced professionals can work as a professional diet consultant by setting up own diet clinics. Journalism is also a good career path where professional dieticians with flair of writing can write about health and nutrition related issues in various newspapers and magazines.