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Studying Nutrition in Australia

How do I become a professionally accredited or registered nutritionist?

Last Updated: September 2014

NOTE:  A number of correspondence and online courses currently promise qualifications such as "health coach", "nutrition certification", "nutritional advisor", "food coach", "nutritional counsellor", "wellness coach","diet therapist", "nutrition expert", "professional nutritionist" and "weight loss consultant"  or similar - please note that, to the best of our professional and industry knowledge, these qualifications are not widely recognised in Australia (even if the courses are very expensive) and are unlikely to assist you in achieving nutrition-related employment or professional opportunities in the field of nutrition. In order to practice or work in nutrition at a professional level you will require an Advanced Diploma as an absolute minimum qualification, or ideally a university degree in nutritional science and / or dietetics.           

Who can call themselves a nutritionist? 

To date in Australia there has been no control or regulation of who can call themselves a nutritionist (therefore it is always wise to check that nutritionists hold relevant tertiary qualifications in the science of nutrition) which makes selecting an appropriate professional training course difficult.  This is however changing, with both the Nutrition Society of Australia (www.nsa.asn.au) and the Dietitians Association of Australia (www.dsa.asn.au) establishing guidelines for registration of nutritionists.  Professional training in nutrition routinely involves a comprehensive program of tertiary studies and takes a number of years of full time study to complete.  Upon graduation students must then apply for acceptance into a recognised governing body and take out professional indemnity insurance.  You will also be required to show proof of ongoing education each year in order to continue your registration.

Accreditation and registration guidelines for nutritionists and dietitians in Australia

Professional accreditation and regulation of nutrition professionals in Australia is increasingly reliant upon industry bodies such as the Nutrition Society of Australia and the Dietitians Association of Australia.  This industry accreditation requires a degree qualification in nutrition (or a related health science plus postgraduate study in nutrition) as a minimum and does not recognise diploma and advanced diploma level courses.  Registration and accreditation of nutrition professionals is a very complex area which is constantly changing and evolving.  If you have particular questions or concerns regarding this matter please feel free to contact us. 

Nutrition Society of Australia - Register of Nutritionists "Registered Nutritionist"

The Nutrition Society of Australia has established a professional registration program that promotes and encourages high standards of training.  Inclusion on this register requires a undergraduate degree in human nutrition or a related health or nutritional science combined with at least three years of advanced postgraduate study or professional experience in nutrition.   Nutritionists registered by the Nutrition Society of Australia may work in a range of health and nutrition roles including designing, coordinating, implementing and evaluating a range of population health interventions.  Registered and Public Health Nutritionists may work in a number of other roles, including research, nutrition consultants and advisors, public health and health promotion coordinators, community development officers, quality and nutrition coordinators, food technologists, media spokespeople and more.    

The primary goal of the NSA Register of Nutritionists is to distinguish individuals who have received an appropriate level of training and experience from those who have not.  Qualifications required to register as a Nutritionist with the NSA include a Bachelor level degree with majors in nutrition or a postgraduate degree such as a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Masters degree or PhD specialising in nutrition.  There is no course that will guarantee registration.  

To view the NSA Register of Nutritionists or find out more about registration requirements go to: http://www.nsa.asn.au/accreditation.php     

Nutrition Society of Australia

PO Box 576

Crows Nest NSW, 1585 Australia

Telephone: 02 9431 8655

Email: nsa@theassociationspecialists.com.au

Dietitians Association of Australia - "Accredited Practicing Dietitian"

The Dietitians Association of Australia has a comprehensive accreditation scheme for dietitians.   To find out more go to www.daa.asn.au   

Dietitians Association of Australia

National Office

1/8 Phipps Close

Deakin ACT 2600

Telephone: 02 6163 5200

Email: nationaloffice@daa.asn,au

 

Nutrition Australia, a peak nutrition body has also developed a fact sheet outlining nutrition training and qualification, registration options and desired study outcomes in Australia.  To view a copy of Nutrition Australia's fact sheet, please click here.  

 

Nutrition Training - University or Private College?

When deciding where to study in order to become a 'nutritionist' it is important to consider many factors.  The following information has been developed to some study-path options and questions to ask if you are wanting to train as a nutritionist or dietitian.    

Time requirements

Generally most professional nutrition courses will take a minimum of three/four -years full time study to complete (unless you have already completed an undergraduate degree in a related health science).   

Course requirements

  • Most courses will involve such subjects as anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, pathology, diagnostics, physical examination, practice managements and counselling as well as nutrition. 
  • Students will also be required to undertake several hundred hours in clinical placement (e.g. a nutritionist's private practice, student clinic, hospitals etc).  Nutrition and health qualifications that do not include clinical placement are not commonly recognised by any professional accreditation bodies, which can be problematic as professional membership of accreditation bodies is often vital for attainment of professional indemnity insurance and professional recognition upon graduation.    

What to look for when comparing and selecting professional training courses

  • Qualification upon completion: many private providers and universities offer a range of nutrition training, however it is imperative that you find out what your final qualification will actually allow you to do.  This is particularly important if you plan to work in private practice or a clinical setting, as not all courses will actually qualify you to do this.  A number of correspondence and online courses also promise qualifications such as "nutritional advisor", "food coach", "health coach", "nutritional counsellor", "diet therapist", "nutrition expert", "professional nutritionist" and "weight loss consultant"  or similar - please note that, to the best of our professional and industry knowledge, these qualifications are not widely recognised in Australia (even if the courses are very expensive) and are unlikely to assist you in achieving nutrition-related employment or professional opportunities.         
  • Academic qualifications of the faculty (academic staff): ensure that members of academic staff have suitable university qualifications in the science of nutrition and/or dietetics, and specialist faculty / academics are are registered as nutrition professionals themselves (e.g. are appropriately registered by the Nutrition Society of Australia or the Dietitians Association of Australia).  This is generally not an issue in the Australian university system as their Higher Education status means that their academic staff must be appropriately qualified however these standards often do not stretch to all private providers.      
  • Cost: ensure you are fully informed about all costs: including all fees, GST or other taxes, international currency exchange, examination fees, clinical and laboratory fees and request some indication of the costs of texts.  Private colleges tend to be more expensive than universities in the sense that they charge up-front fees whereas HECS, and Fee Help options are available for public university courses in Australia.
  • Student support and service level: ask about what support services are offered to students undertaking a course (e.g. what sort of contact occurs during a correspondence course, for example is it online only, or can you speak to your lecturer over the phone? Will the person you will be in contact with be appropriately qualified in their subject area?).
  • Residential and examination requirements: if you are planning to undertake your studies via correspondence, be sure to check if you will be required to attend any residential sessions (generally a few days each semester where you are required to attend the university for a block of lectures or laboratory sessions).  Remember to factor the cost of travel, accommodation and possibly time off work to attend these.  Also check how clinical hours are required to be completed and whether there is assistance finding placements with nutrition professionals.  Many correspondence courses also require you to attend exams.  Make sure you know where your nearest examination centre is.         
  • Mode of delivery: Research constantly confirms that courses delivered completely online have poorer educational outcomes for students.  When studying via correspondence it is vital to have complete, detailed information available to you.  Beware of distance courses which rely solely or too heavily on note form or presentation formats such as PowerPoint, such media is only helpful if you are in a very well supported lecture environment.     

Current Australian training requirements for accreditation or registration as a nutritionist:   

Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine (HLT61012): This is the minimum level qualification you should consider if you are planning to practice as a nutritionist in Australia.  This qualification is a part of the Nationally Recognised Training System.  This qualification is not recognised by the Nutrition Society of Australia or the Dietitians Association of Australia but is commonly recognised by associations such as the Australian Traditional Medicine Society or the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA) (please note that ANTA does not recognise undergraduate courses delivered substantially by distance education / online or external study modes). 

Accreditation arrangements for the Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine require the following study load for this qualification: Anatomy and Physiology (135hrs), Biochemistry and Chemistry (100 hours), Diagnosis, Pathology and Pharmacology (300hrs), Nutrition (400hrs), Professional practice studies (160hrs), Communication (30hrs), Supervised Clinical training (100hrs), Safe Practice (15hrs), First Aid Certificate.  You will require professional accreditation in order to gain professional indemnity insurance and be able to legally practice as a nutritionist upon graduation from your studies.  The Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine is not directly recognised by the Nutrition Society of Australia or the Dietitians Association of  Australia nutritionist registration programs.  Our professional advice if wishing to become an appropriately qualified nutritionist and gain success in the nutrition industry is to choose a degree in nutrition and / or dietetics at a reputable Australian University.  If you do choose to undertake the Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine, be sure to choose a college or institution that has a degree upgrade qualification option (for example, at completion of your studies you can complete further study to attain a Bachelor of Health Science at a reputable Australian University), as it is our experience and opinion that you will require a degree in order to really progress in the nutrition industry (as well as apply for registration as Registered Nutritionist) in the near future.  We do not recommend any particular provider of this qualification but would encourage you to choose a provider that suits your planned study mode (e.g classroom or correspondence - based) as well as one that offers a direct degree upgrade qualification to a degree that is suitably recognised by the Nutrition Society of Australia or the Dietitians Association of Australia.                

        
Degree qualifications:  In order to gain recognition and registration as a professional nutritionist by peak bodies such as the Nutrition Society of Australia or the Dietitians Association of Australia you will require a Bachelor of Science or other suitable degree qualification with a major strand of study in health or nutrition science with honours plus a minimum of three years professional experience or ongoing postgraduate level study.  A list of Australian University nutrition courses is listed below.

Beck Health & Nutrition courses

  • Beck Health & Nutrition courses can be used to assist entry into professional nutrition qualifications.   
  • Beck Health & Nutrition courses are designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to nutrition and detail a large range of common nutritional principles and issues.  The courses are designed to be completed in approximately 32 hours of study (2hrs per week for 16 weeks) whereas a first semester introductory nutrition subject at an Australian university requires more than 100 study hours (and generally cost in the vicinity of $1800-$2000 per subject).  The short-course nature of Beck Health & Nutrition courses mean that they will not qualify and accredit you as a professionally accredited nutritionist or dietitian (as this takes several years of full-time study). 
  • Beck Health & Nutrition courses can be used by health professionals for professional registration points and broadening of current services.
  • Beck Health & Nutrition courses are especially useful for General Practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, personal trainers, naturopaths, weight loss consultants, teachers and childcare workers, health food and pharmacy staff or anyone who requires a sound working knowledge of nutrition and health.     

Australian University Nutrition Degrees (undergraduate and postgraduate)

Currently in Australia the best professional nutrition education is via university.  For individuals wishing to study nutrition at a professional level, we have compiled a list of courses and study paths available Australian Universities.  Please note that this list is not exhaustive and includes both undergraduate and postgraduate study options.  For further information on any of these courses please contact the university or institution directly.         

Courses listed here include both nutrition and dietetics degrees.  Information regarding accredited dietetic degrees is sourced from the Dietitians Association of Australia.  For details regarding programs accredited by the Dietitians Association of Australia please go to www.daa.asn.au or for details regarding the Nutrition Society of Australia's nutritionist registration program go to: www.nsa.asn.au       

Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales

Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition and Dietetics) - Four years

 

Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia

BSc (Nutrition and Food Science Dietetics) (Honours)
One year post Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science

 

Deakin University, Victoria

Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics - Four years

Graduate Certificate of Human Nutrition

Graduate Diploma of Human Nutrition

Master of Human Nutrition

 

Flinders University of South Australia

Master of Nutrition and Dietetics
Two years post Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics
Four years

 

Griffith University, Queensland

Master of Nutrition and Dietetics
Three semesters, (18 months) post Bachelor of Science

 

Monash University, Victoria

Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics
Four years

 

Queensland University of Technology, Queensland

Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition and Dietetics)
Four years

Bachelor of Exercise and Movement Science

 

RMIT University

Master in Nutrition Medicine

 

University of Canberra

Graduate Certificate in Sports Nutrition

Graduate Diploma in Human Nutrition

Graduate Diploma in Nutrition and Marketing

Master of Nutrition (by coursework)

Master of Nutrition and Dietetics (by coursework)

 

The University of Newcastle, New South Wales

Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition and Dietetics)
Four years

Master of Medical Science (Nutrition and Dietetics) Research

 

University of Queensland, Queensland

Master of Dietetics Studies

Three semesters (18 months) post Bachelor of Science

 

University of the Sunshine Coast

Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics

Four years

 

University of Sydney, New South Wales

Bachelor of Science (Nutrition) Honours in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics
Four years

Graduate Certificate in Applied Science (Nutrition and Dietetics)

Master of Applied Science (Nutrition and Dietetics)

Master of Nutrition and Dietetics
Two years post Bachelor of Science

Master of Nutritional Science

 

 

University of Wollongong, New South Wales

Master of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics)
Two years post Bachelor of Science

Master of Nutrition, Dietetics and Exercise Science
Two years post Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics
Four years

 

 

 

Other nutrition study options:

 

Certificate III in Nutrition and Dietetic Assistance (HLT31512) and Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (HLT42512)

These qualifications are offered by TAFEs and some private providers and are of value to individuals who wish to work as a nutrition assistant to an Accredited Practicing Dietitian or consultant nutrition professional in a work commonly in a workplace such as a nursing home, hospital or other health care setting.  This qualification includes a study of nutrition but more from a workplace application context, rather than a study of nutrition science. 

 

Diploma of Nutrition and Dietetics for Personal Trainers (10454NAT)

This is a new course in nutrition for Personal Trainers offered by a private provider specialising in fitness education.  It is commendable that this course forms a component of the Nationally Recognised Training System, however as it is a new course, it is still unclear how well it will be received and recognised in the fitness and wider health and nutrition industry.  As mentioned previously, at this point in time a degree in nutrition science at a reputable Australian University is still ideal if you wish to progress your career in the field of nutrition.    

 

 

Other courses in nutrition:

Beck Health & Nutrition and other providers offer a range of study options for both professional development and personal interest purposes.  Beck Health & Nutrition courses are

 

Students who successfully complete Beck Health & Nutrition's courses in nutrition are automatically eligible for accreditation from the International Institute for Complementary Therapists and will be eligible for professional indemnity and business insurance relating to future work in nutrition and health-coaching. 

Note: As we have always maintained, Beck Health & Nutrition courses are designed for professional development and personal interest purposes.  A course from any private provider is not going to provide you with the qualifications required to become a nutrition professional such as a Registered Nutritionist or Accredited Practicing Dietitian (you will need to study full time at a recognised Australian university for this) however this opportunity is an important development for individuals passionate about health, wellbeing and nutrition to work and access insurance for the tailored services they wish to provide (health and nutrition coaching, nutrition and dietary advice, nutrition and health communications, healthy eating coaching and education) and add professionalism to their work. 

 

Beck Health & Nutrition courses

  • Beck Health & Nutrition courses can be used to assist entry into professional nutrition qualifications.   
  • Beck Health & Nutrition courses are designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to nutrition and detail a large range of common nutritional principles and issues.  The courses are designed to be completed in approximately 32 hours of study (2hrs per week for 16 weeks) whereas a first semester introductory nutrition subject at an Australian university requires more than 100 study hours (and generally cost in the vicinity of $1800-$2000 per subject).  The short-course nature of Beck Health & Nutrition courses mean that they will not qualify and accredit you as a professionally accredited nutritionist or dietitian (as this takes several years of full-time study). 
  • Beck Health & Nutrition courses can be used by health professionals for professional registration points and broadening of current services.
  • Beck Health & Nutrition courses are especially useful for General Practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, personal trainers, naturopaths, weight loss consultants, teachers and childcare workers, health food and pharmacy staff or anyone who requires a sound working knowledge of nutrition and health.   
  • Beck Health & Nutrition courses can offer successful graduates the option to gain access to professional indemnity and public liability insurance to provide nutritional advice as part of their current services.     

 

 

 

 

Please contact us if you have further questions.    

Disclaimer: Beck Health & Nutrition has taken care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site.  Nevertheless, this information is for general purposes only and Beck Health & Nutrition shall not be responsible in any way for any inaccuracy contained in it, nor for any detriment suffered as a result of reliance on the information. Beck Health & Nutrition makes no representation nor gives any warranty in respect of the quality or accuracy of the information provided.

 

Nutrition course finder

 

Certificate of Nutrition and Diet

The Nutrition and Diet course provides a comprehensive introduction to the science of nutrition and dietary analysis. Now includes new modules on life-span and sports nutrition.     

 

      

Certificate of Childhood and Adolescent Nutrition (0-18 years)

This unique nutrition course combines two of our most popular short courses, Infant to Preschool Nutrition and Nutrition for Children and Teenagers into a comprehensive study of paediatric nutrition.

 

 

Certificate of Sports Nutrition

The Certificate of Sports Nutrition course explores the latest nutritional strategies to optimise and enhance athletic performance. Includes elements of exercise physiology, nutrition, dietary analysis and nutritional planning for athletes.   

 

 

Healthy Weight for Life Certificate 

This flexible course presents the nutrition and lifestyle strategies for prevention and management of overweight, obesity and type 2 diabetes.  

 

New .......Certificate of Public Health & Nutrition Promotion

This flexible course will cover the knowledge, skills and professional attributes to promote and tailor health and nutrition messages for community, groups and media.  It is a unique blend of public and community health principles and a practical study of current Australian and global health, activity and nutrition guidelines, projects and policies.    

 

 

Beck Health & Nutrition courses offer you:

  • Flexible, correspondence study (distance education).  No need to attend lectures or exams. Study from anywhere in the world at a time and pace that suits you.

  • Easy access to academic support via email, online or phone.

  • Professional and practical content.  Unlike other short-course providers, Beck Health & Nutrition specialises in nutrition and health education only, so you can be sure that all course content and academic support is at the forefront of nutrition education.             

  • Complete course pack (including printed course texts and notes) express posted to your door as soon as you enrol*

  • Course fees cover all course materials, exams/assessments and academic support.*2 

  • Skill and research updates for General Practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, personal trainers, chefs, naturopaths, weight loss consultants, teachers, childcare workers, health food and pharmacy staff or anyone who requires a sound working knowledge of nutrition and health.     

  • Satisfaction guarantee.  If for any reason you are unhappy with your course you may return it for a refund*3. 

 

 

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