Entry requirements and training (dietitian)
This page has information on the entry requirements and training needed to become a dietitian.
To practise as a dietitian, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). In order to register with the HCPC, you must first successfully complete an approved degree in dietetics. This is usually a BSc (Hons) degree, although there are shortened postgraduate programmes if you already have a relevant first degree. A degree apprenticeship standard in dietetics has also been approved.
Courses are three or four years. If you already have a degree in a life science subject, with an acceptable level of human physiology and biochemistry, you can take a postgraduate Diploma or Masters in dietetics.
Courses are a mixture of theory and practical work. They cover biochemistry, psychology, nutrition, physiology and communication skills. Practical training is in hospital and community settings.
For an undergraduate degree, you need
- two or three A levels, including chemistry, maths or biology, along with five GCSEs (grades A-C), including English language and maths
- BTEC, HND or HNC which includes science subjects
- relevant NVQ
- science-based access course
- equivalent level Scottish or Irish qualifications
To get onto a postgraduate course you will normally be expected to hold an honours degree which contains an acceptable level of human physiology and biochemistry.
A degree apprenticeship in dietetics has been approved. This will offer an alternative route to registration with the HCPC. There are no nationally set entry requirements for degree apprenticeships - this will be down to the employer offering the apprenticeship - but you will typically need level 3 qualifications as you will be studying at degree level. Apprenticeships will be with employers, with study at university and vacancies will appear on the NHS Jobs website and the Government's Find an Apprenticeship website.
Once you’ve successfully completed a programme approved by the HCPC, you are then eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC. Once registered as a practitioner, you’ll be required to retain your name on the register by keeping your knowledge and skills up to date and paying an annual retention fee.
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Personal characteristics needed to become a dietitian include
- an interest in science and food
- an interest in people and their lifestyles
- a positive and motivating attitude
- an understanding approach
- a sense of humour.
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Skills needed to be a dietitian include
- an understanding of science
- be able to explain complex things simply
- organisation skills
- communication skills
- business skills for freelance work