Dietitians and nutritionists (NOC 3132)

High opportunity occupation

About this job

Dietitians and nutritionists help people understand the connection between food and their well-being. They assess people’s nutritional needs, then create nutrition plans and food service programs to promote good health.

Watch the video below to learn what a typical day is like for a dietitian.

Common job titles
  • consultant, nutrition
  • dietician
  • dietitian - nutritionist
  • dietitian, clinical / community
  • nutritionist, clinical / community
  • Professional dietitian

Duties

Dietitians and nutritionists:

  • Assess people’s nutritional needs, based on their age, body mass index (BMI), medical conditions and nutritional goals
  • Create care plans and menus to match clients’ needs
  • Provide nutrition information and help people make healthy food choices
  • Develop educational materials and programs
  • May develop, test and market food and nutrition products
  • May represent companies and supply product-related information

Dietitians usually work in one of three main areas:

  • Clinical dietitians work directly with patients and clients
  • Community / public health dietitians work for health authorities and other organizations to develop policy and programs to support public health
  • Food service administrators manage food services in health-care institutions, educational facilities and government agencies
Dietitians may also train dietetic interns and work in research.

Nutritionists usually work with individuals. They develop diet and exercise plans, track clients’ progress and motivate them to achieve their goals.

Work environment

Dietitians work in private practice and in public health-care positions. Nutritionists usually work in private practice. Both may work independently or as part of a health-care team.

This work can take place in a variety of settings, including hospitals, extended care facilities, community health centres, private health clinics, not-for-profit health organizations, private homes, grocery stores, gyms and schools. Some nutritionists and dietitians work in the food and beverage, sports or pharmaceutical industries.

Dietitians and nutritionists bring a science-based approach to their work, and use calculations to assess clients and determine their caloric needs.

Technology is increasingly important to this work. Dietitians and nutritionists use online documentation and virtual practice, which became more common during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Insights from industry

Demand for dietitians and nutritionists is high and expected to rise. Retirements will add to the shortage of workers. Also, new roles for workers are emerging, especially in the areas of research, public health and the food industry.

Dietitians and nutritionists must consider each client as an individual to create a care plan that best meets their needs. This means considering their culture, financial barriers, medical restrictions and personal tastes. 

Dietitians and nutritionists work closely with their clients and often report a high level of job satisfaction in helping them succeed.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Dietitians and nutritionists have a variety of career options. Many start in private practice. Most dietitians choose to work in public health care.

With additional experience, dietitians and nutritionists may progress into management positions. Dietitians may become chief dietitians or take on management roles in health care. Dietitians with experience and a master’s degree in education, nutrition or public health may move into teaching positions or take government jobs in food policy development. Those with additional certification may specialize in areas, such as sports nutrition or education in diabetes, celiac disease, or bariatrics (obesity).

Additional resources