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How to Become a Nutritionist Without a Degree

By Yann, published on 05/10/2018 We Love Prof - AU > Health and Fitness > Nutrition > Working as a Nutritionist Without a University Degree

“Managing perfect body weight is not a complicated rocket science. Our body is made up of food which we eat during our day to day life. If we are overweight or obese at the moment then one thing is certain that the food which we eat is unhealthy.” -Subodh Gupta

For as long as most people can remember, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly are obvious contributors to overall wellness that have been repeated constantly. The majority of British citizens know that adopting a healthy diet will contribute to a better overall lifestyle.

Even with this knowledge and previous understanding, the poor diet of people living in the United Kingdom is the primary reason for illnesses and death, jumping ahead of smoking in recent years. According to a 2015 article written by the Telegraph, 40% of the National Health Service’s resources are spent on preventable lifestyle factors such as unhealthy eating habits which causes obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Therefore, what is the reason for these diseases brought on by poor eating habits?

While many United Kingdom residents know that eating certain food items such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish are beneficial for their health, they claim they have no time and no idea how to prepare healthful meals.

For the vast majority, going through a McDonald’s drive-thru at lunchtime is much easier than preparing a balanced and healthy packed lunch the night before. 

To inform British citizens about healthy recipes, meal plans and nutritional advice, health professionals such as nutritionists are here to save the day!

In the past few years due to the increasing amounts of life-threatening diseases brought on by a poor diet, individuals have begun to take a serious interest in their health. As a result of this trend, nutritionists have more work and more clients than ever before.

As of 2018, the health and wellness market in the UK is worth an estimated 26 billion euros or approximately 23 billion pounds!

Superprof is here to show aspiring nutritionists wanting to take part in that multi-billion dollar industry how to become a working nutritionist without a university degree.

Understanding the Work of a Nutritionist

First of all, before understanding what is required to become a registered nutritionist and what courses are offered to work as a nutritionist without a university degree it is necessary to understand the basic job tasks.

Nutritionists are passionate about all things health and extremely interested in seeing individuals reach their health goals. They may be seen working in the private or public work sector offering health advice, planning personalized meal programs and motivating clients at risk of developing deadly diseases to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

In the public sector, nutritionists work at hospitals, schools, universities, the office of a practitioner and nursing homes. Here are some of the job tasks they may encounter in these government-run places:

  • Plan healthy cafeteria meals: nutritionists work with the cafeteria staff to introduce healthy new recipes that will benefit the overall wellness of pupils and patients. In order to not offend staff members and make them feel that their previous meals were useless, the best nutritionists possess outstanding people skills to assure them that their efforts were not in vain and that changes are good.
  • Review new diet plans with patients: after patients have spent some time in the hospital due to serious health problems, nutritionists introduce new diet plans and food items that need to be implemented into their diets in order to avoid further complications of their illness. Nutritionists ask pointed questions to assess the client’s diet and strongly suggest removing harmful foods in order to improve overall health.
  • Conduct seminars, campaigns and workshops: nutritionists working in the public sector raise awareness by conducting seminars, workshops and health campaigns in communities, nursing homes and schools. These nutritionists realize the importance of introducing the benefits of a healthy diet for children at a young age in order to prevent childhood obesity and the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.

Nutritionists or dietitians working in the private sector are usually experts in the field of nutrition and dietetics and conduct private consultations with follow-ups to address perturbed individuals health concerns.

Whether a client needs specialized help with hormone imbalances, gastrointestinal problems or requires assistance planning meals, there’s a qualified nutritionist that will fit your needs!

Qualifications Required to Obtain a Degree in Nutrition

eating too much Nutritionists are trained to help struggling clients make healthier choices in their lives. (Source: Visual Hunt)

Becoming a qualified and registered nutritionist in the UK is no piece of cake. There are many stages and steps that need to be followed before and after receiving your university certification in nutrition.

In order to work as a registered nutritionist that is approved by the Association for Nutrition (AfN), an undergraduate (BSc) university degree in nutrition needs to be studied and completed.

In addition to being accepted by the AfN, many employers advertise for nutritionists who have been registered with the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN). While it is not a requirement for other jobs, it is strongly recommended to become registered in order to keep your options open. Before registering you need to be able to demonstrate that you have relevant experience and previous knowledge and skills.

Without further ado, here are some undergraduate programmes in nutrition that have been previously authorized by the AfN to get started in becoming a qualified nutritionist:

  • Human Nutrition: is defined as the science of food and the process where all living people receive the correct nutrients essential for life. Bath Spa University, Manchester Metropolitan University and London’s South Bank University all offer this 3-year programme
  • Public Health Nutrition: this course is specialized for nutritionists who want to work in the public sector offering health advice to communities and groups of people. There are various UK based universities offering this course such as the University of Huddersfield, Queen Margaret University and Sheffield Hallam University. The course is 3-years long and costs British and EU citizens £9,250 per year.
  • Nutrition and Food Science: perfect for those who wish to research and investigate the science behind food. The University of Reading and Newcastle University offer 3-year courses to become trained in the profession of clinical nutrition.
  • Nutrition and Exercise: this programme is tailormade for those who wish become sports nutritionists and work with athletes and sports teams. The University of Bedfordshire, University of Westminster and University of Plymouth all offer this 3-year programme that is accredited by the AfN.

To become a registered and qualified nutritionist acknowledged by the AfN and UKVRN, time, patience and passion for nutritional education is required. The whole process may take around 3-4 years to receive a Bachelor’s degree (BSc) in Nutrition.

Courses Offered To Become a Nutritionist Without a University Degree

becoming a caterer There are fantastic online nutrition courses offered to caterers seeking to offer healthier options to clients. (Source: Visual Hunt)

Let’s start by stating that it is highly recommended to undergo at least a BSc in Nutrition before starting to advise clients in the workforce. In addition, since health is a very sensitive topic for many, people feel comfortable seeking suggestions and advice from nutritionists who have previous qualifications.

Nevertheless, it is extremely possible to work as a nutritionist in the private sector without previously receiving a nutrition degree. After a few years of experience, the Association for Nutrition (AfN) may even approve you as a registered nutritionist.

This is completely true because after 7 years of relevant work experience in the field of nutrition are demonstrated, the AfN views this as an equivalence to 3 years of training to obtain a degree.

Many aspiring nutritionists opt out of higher education for many reasons. One of the primary reasons is the lack of money due to the steep prices of studying to become a nutritionist. For example, the majority of approved courses mentioned in the previous subheading cost £9,250 per year.

This results in £27,750 in student loans after completing your three years of studying!

Another reason some do not consider a 3-year degree (BSc) in nutrition is due to the career change. For example, after deciding to become a nutritionist and change careers in your mid-40’s the last thing you want to do is attend university classes with immature 20-year-olds.

Nonetheless, there is no need to fret because there are a variety of nutrition courses that vary in time to complete and are cheaply priced. 

The British Nutrition Foundation has online training courses that equip future nutritionists with the needed nutrition education to help clients. Here are some of the online training courses currently provided:

  • Introduction to healthy eating and nutrition: this introductory course costs £65 and takes around 5-7 hours to complete depending on the student. Nutrition science and how what we eat affects our health is covered in this course.
  • Exploring Nutrition and Health (AfN certified): approved by the prestigious Association for Nutrition, this course is designed for those who already possess previous knowledge in the basics nutrition and want to continue to learn. Lasting 10-12 hours and costing £125, students learn how lifestyle affects the risk of disease among other things.
  • Catering for health: an extremely informative course for caterers who wish to offer healthier food to clients. The course lasts 5-7 hours and costs £65. Menu planning and recipe modification are learnt.
  • Food labelling and health claims: ever wonder what is behind the nutritional facts and labels on our food? This course lasts 2 hours and instructs consumers about the basics of label reading.

The majority of jobs in the public sector are only offered to nutritionists and dietitians with a previous degree in nutrition. Nevertheless, that does not mean that nutritionists who do not possess a degree in nutrition cannot work in the private sector at a private practice offering dietary advice. With time and experience, some even open their own private practice!

Helpful Tips From Qualified Nutritionists

eating the right foods Breakfast time is the occasion to indulge and eat a lot of food. What you eat for breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day. (Source: Visual Hunt)

Whether you ask for health tips from an accredited nutritionist possessing a university degree or one who has only undergone a few courses, the advice will be invariable and extremely beneficial.

Food and nutrition information found on the internet is often contradictory and unresearched. Therefore, it is extremely important to seek the advice that has been thoroughly researched and proven from reliable resources such as Superprof!

Here are some of the most useful suggestions from the best nutritionists:

  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day: eating a healthy breakfast that is balanced and has the right nutrients is extremely important to start your day off well. A big healthy breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism and prepares you for other meals during the day. Bigger is better when it comes to eating breakfast, however, be careful not to eat empty calories with no nutritious value such as sugary pastries and cereals. Try eating healthy food items such as eggs, avocados, whole grains, fruits and greek yoghurt.
  • Adopting a healthy diet takes time: don’t cut everything you used to eat off at the same time. Make changes to your eating habits over time. If you change everything at once you will be more inclined to cheat or give up on your new eating plan. Start things off slow. For example, instead of cooking with butter switch to avocado or olive oil and try to add a salad or extra serving of vegetables to your lunch. Every change matters and introducing new food items that make you feel good is a great idea because your body will start to crave them rather than that tub of ice cream you have sitting in the freezer!
  • Drink plenty of water: this cannot be stressed enough due to the fact that the majority of people do not drink enough water in their diets. Water flushes out waste, harmful toxins and contributes to better digestion. Many people mistake thirst for hunger, however, instead of eating another granola bar grab a glass of water to hold you off until lunchtime.

While receiving university training is highly recommended to equip nutritionists with the unique demands of clients, it should not be one of the main reasons for hiring one. Many nutritionists who have not received formal postsecondary education often have more health knowledge and ability to inspire and motivate than those who do.

The important thing is to feel comfortable relating your health issues and being confident that your nutritionist can understand your nutritional needs and make dramatic health changes in your life.

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