How to become a nutritionist in Australia – what qualifications do I need?
There’s lots of expensive nutritionist courses available, but if you want to become a fully qualified nutritionist, your best option is a degree in nutrition and / or dietetics at an Australian University.
We offer a range of high-quality, flexible online courses that and give you the option to gain professional membership and insurance for Health & Nutrition Coaching as well as industry and professional development accreditation. We are not trying to take the place of university nutrition courses. If you want to become a nutritionist or dietitian your best option is a degree at an Australian University. Kristen Beck (M.Hum.Nut., B.H.Sc, Adv. Dip.Nat).
Who can call themselves a nutritionist?
Technically in Australia, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist without any education or qualifications (we do not recommend this). This makes it difficult to choose a reputable and recognised nutrition course, certification or qualification. There are a lot of course providers that claim to offer accreditation to become an accredited nutritionist or similar, but in reality, you can call yourself a nutritionist without doing any study at all.
The basic expectation in the Australian nutrition industry is that a nutritionist will have a degree in nutrition and / or dietetics. Certificate IV etc level courses in nutrition aren’t widely recognised.
If you want to become a professional nutritionist, your best choice is to study a degree that will allow you to register with the Nutrition Society of Australia or the Dietitians’ Association of Australia, which have clear requirements for nutrition qualifications. Courses accredited by these organisations are offered by universities in Australia and typically take 4 or more years of full-time study. The cost is typically more than $40,000, but Australian government loans for course fees may be available.
Nutritionist qualifications – What qualifications do I need to become a nutritionist?
Typically in Australia, a nutritionist is expected to have at least a degree in nutrition science and / or dietetics. This is the most recognised and respected form of education for nutritionists in Australia. Some private institutions and colleges offer nutritionist courses or courses in health coaching, food coaching, wellness coaching, and nutrition certification, but these are not comparable a professional degree in nutrition. They will not allow you to become a Registered Nutritionist or an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, and they will not qualify you for private health fund or medicare rebates for your clients.
There are two key organisations in Australia that regulate and accredit professional nutritionists: the Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA) and the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA). To become a registered nutritionist with the NSA, you need a bachelor-level degree in nutrition or a related health or nutritional science, plus at least three years of advanced postgraduate study or professional experience in nutrition. The DAA also has a comprehensive accreditation scheme for dietitians.
When choosing which course to study to become a nutritionist, it’s important to be mindful of a few things. Most professional nutrition degrees take at least four years of full-time study and will cover subjects such as anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, counselling, diagnostics, nutrition, pathology, physical examination, practice management, and research skills. Nutrition degrees also generally require several hundred hours of (unpaid) clinical placement.
When comparing professional nutrition courses, it’s important to consider factors such as the length of the course, the subjects covered, the requirement for clinical placement, and the recognition by professional accreditation organisations. Universities are still the most well-regarded institutions in the nutrition industry, but it’s important to choose a course that best suits your needs and goals.
In the Australian nutrition industry, a degree program recognised by the Nutrition Society of Australia or the Dietitians Association of Australia is generally expected and is the best way to ensure you have the necessary qualifications to become a professional nutritionist.
Australian accreditation and registration for nutritionists and dietitians
In Australia, to become a recognised professional nutritionist, you need to meet certain standards set by organisations like the Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA) or the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA). This requires you to have a degree in nutrition or a related health science, plus additional training in nutrition that is approved by either the NSA or DAA. Certificate, diploma or advanced diploma level courses are not accepted for professional accreditation.
Nutrition Society of Australia – Register of Nutritionists “Registered Nutritionist”
The Nutrition Society of Australia has a professional registration program to promote high standards of training for nutritionists. To be listed on this register, you will need a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition or a related health or nutritional science and also at least three years of advanced study or professional experience in nutrition.
Being on the NSA register allows you to work as a Registered Nutritionist in a variety of roles, such as designing health programs, researching, advising, promoting public health, coordinating community projects, and more. The main purpose of the NSA Register of Nutritionists is to differentiate individuals with the right training and experience from those who don’t. To become a registered nutritionist with the NSA, you will need a bachelor’s degree with a major in nutrition or a postgraduate degree such as a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Master’s, or PhD in nutrition. There’s no single course that automatically leads to registration.
To view the NSA Register of Nutritionists or find out more about registration requirements go to: https://nsa.asn.au
Nutrition Society of Australia
PO Box 576
Crows Nest NSW, 1585 Australia
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
1/8 Phipps Close
Deakin ACT 2600
Telephone: 02 6163 5200
I want to become qualified as a professional nutritionist. Should I choose a university or private college?
While many Australian education and training providers have Higher Education status (can offer degree qualifications), Australian universities are still the most well-regarded and recognised study options in the nutrition industry.
Any course provider can say that their courses will accredit you to become a “nutritionist”. The term nutritionist is not a registered profession – so this doesn’t really mean much at all. When you are choosing a “nutritionist” course, here are some important points to think about:
Time requirements – Nutrition degrees
Most professional nutrition courses will take a minimum of three/four years of full-time study. Ideally they should be a degree (bachelor level) course as a minimum.
Course requirements – Nutrition degrees
Most nutrition degree courses include such subjects as anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, pathology, diagnostics, physical examination, practice management, research skills and counselling as well as nutrition.
Most nutrition degrees also require you to complete several hundred hours in unpaid clinical placement (e.g. a nutritionist’s private practice, student clinic, hospitals etc). Nutrition and health science qualifications that do not include clinical placement are not commonly recognised by many professional accreditation organisations. This can be a problem because professional membership of accreditation bodies is normally required for you to be approved for professional indemnity insurance, private health fund rebates and professional recognition as a nutritionist.
Things to think about when comparing professional nutrition courses:
Medicare and / or private health fund rebates?
When choosing a nutrition course or degree in Australia, it’s important to understand what the qualification will allow you to do in the future. Some courses or degrees may not let you work as a private practice nutritionist, while others may not allow you to access medicare or private health fund rebates for clients. It’s important to think about your career goals and what type of job you want to have in the nutrition field before choosing a course or degree.
Academic qualifications of your lecturers or learning support
Make sure that the members of academic staff are highly qualified in nutrition and / or dietetics. In the Australian university system, an academic lecturer must have a higher degree than the level they are teaching (e.g. if you are lecturing in nutrition in a Bachelor’s degree level course you would need to hold a masters degree in nutrition, or if you were teaching in a Masters level course you would need to have a PhD). Ideally even for short courses your academic staff should have a degree in nutrition as an absolute minimum.
Nutrition Course Costs
Before enrolling in a nutrition course, it’s important to be aware of all the costs involved. This includes tuition fees, taxes, international currency exchange rates, exam fees, laboratory fees and textbook costs. Keep in mind that private colleges tend to have higher upfront fees compared to public universities where you may be eligible for government-funded options such as Fee Help loans.
Study support and service
Before choosing a nutrition course, be sure to find out what kind of support services are available during your studies. Ask about the methods of communication and study support you, such as online-only or the option to speak with a qualified lecturer via phone or online tutorials. Ensure that the person providing support is qualified in nutrition science.
Clinical hours, examination requirements, class attendances
If you’re thinking about studying nutrition through online or distance learning, it’s important to ask about the requirements for in-person classes, as well as the additional costs for travel and accommodation. You should also ask about the process for completing clinical hours and finding placement opportunities with nutrition professionals. Don’t forget to check the location of your nearest exam centre and if there are any additional fees for exams (or course extensions).
How is your nutrition course or training delivered?
When considering online or distance learning, make sure you have all the necessary information to get the most out of your study experience. Be cautious of courses that rely heavily on video or PowerPoint as the only form of learning material. This type of format is only effective if it’s accompanied by comprehensive written materials and a strong study support system.
A degree that allows accreditation and professional membership into the Dietitians’ Association of Australia or the Nutrition Society of Australia is the ideal option if you are able to commit the time to full time study.
It is our experience that it is important to have a degree to truly progress and be recognised in the Australian nutrition industry. We don’t recommend any particular nutrition course or degree provider but would encourage you to choose a university or college that fits your preferred study mode (such as in-person, online, or distance learning) and offers an upgrade path to a degree recognised by Nutrition Society of Australia or Dietitians Association of Australia.
Australian nutrition degrees
To become a recognised and registered nutritionist with organisations like the Nutrition Society of Australia or the Dietitians Association of Australia, you need a degree like a Bachelor of Science with a focus on health or nutrition science and honours. You will also need at least three years of professional experience or ongoing postgraduate education.
The following Australian Universities have very strong nutrition faculties:
Courses listed here include both nutrition and dietetics degrees. The information about accredited dietetic degrees comes 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 please visit www.nsa.asn.au
Beck Health & Nutrition courses are not designed to take the place of a degree in nutrition. Nutrition courses from any private provider that is below a degree level will not provide you with the qualifications you need to become a Registered Nutritionist or Accredited Practicing Dietitian (you need to complete a nutrition and / or dietetics degree for this).
Beck Health & Nutrition courses
Beck Health & Nutrition offers courses in health and nutrition coaching, nutritional advice, and more. These courses provide a comprehensive overview of nutrition and its principles, taking approximately 150 hours of study over 6 months. They are suitable for health professionals, such as GPs, nurses, pharmacists, and personal trainers, as well as anyone interested in a solid understanding of nutrition and health. While these courses are not equivalent to a degree-level nutritionist or dietitian qualification (which requires several years of full-time study and costs tens of thousands of dollars), they are an excellent, flexible study option for professional development, personal interest, continuing education points and for health, nutrition, medical and fitness professionals to widen their range of services for their clients. Our Advanced Certificate of Nutrition & Health course also gives you the option to gain professional membership and insurance for Health & Nutrition CoachingAdvanced Certificate of Nutrition & Health (Health & Nutrition Coaching).
Health & Nutrition Coaching Course
Our Advanced Certificate of Nutrition & Health (Health & Nutrition Coaching) course gives you the option to gain professional membership and professional indemnity insurance to provide nutritional advice and support for clients and groups as a Nutrition & Health Coach.
Nutrition Certificate Courses
Certificate of Nutrition & Diet – Our comprehensive foundation nutrition course
Disclaimer: this information is, to the best of our knowledge, accurate and current. The information is provided in good faith in order to assist people wishing to become a nutritionist or considering undertaking a course of study in nutrition, health or wellness coaching. Beck Health & Nutrition will not be held liable for any errors or omissions contained.