How to become a nutritionist

Naturally, many people who get in contact with us are looking to become a professionally-qualified nutritionist in Australia.

Beck Health & Nutrition offer a range of short courses that allow you to gain accreditation and insurance for nutritional advice, dietary counselling, meal planning and health coaching, however if you truly want to train and study to be a professional nutritionist or dietitian, we suggest that you study at an Australian University.

What qualifications do I need to become a nutritionist?

Ideally, if you want to study to become a nutritionist in Australia, you should complete a university degree in nutritional science and / or dietetics at an Australian University.   

There are many private Australian and international nutrition course providers that offer expensive courses that promise qualifications in areas such as health coaching (our courses also offer this option), nutrition certification, food coaching, wellness coaching and other options. Please note that these courses are not comparable to a professional degree in nutrition and will not allow you to become a Registered Nutritionist (Nutrition Society of Australia) or Accredited Practicing Dietitian (Dietitians Association of Australia).

Who can call themselves a nutritionist?

In Australia anybody can call themselves a nutritionist without any study or qualifications at all.  This makes choosing a high quality, recognised nutrition course or qualification confusing.  Some nutrition course providers promise accreditation to become a nutritionist (when in reality, you could actually already call yourself a nutritionist without even doing a nutrition course).

There are however professional nutritionist registration schemes via the Nutrition Society of Australia ( and the Dietitians Association of Australia that set out clear nutrition qualification requirements if you are wanting to become a nutritionist.   Courses recognised by the NSA and DAA are provided by Australian universities, take 3-4 years of full time study and typically cost more than AU $30,000 (government course fee loans may be available).

Australian accreditation and registration for nutritionists and dietitians

Professional accreditation and regulation of nutrition professionals in Australia is increasingly reliant upon industry bodies such as the Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA) and the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).  This industry accreditation requires a degree qualification in nutrition (or a related health science plus postgraduate study in nutrition that is approved or accredited by the Nutrition Society of Australia and / or the Dietitians Association of Australia) as a minimum.  Neither the NSA or DAA recognise diploma and advanced diploma level courses. 

Nutrition Society of Australia – Register of Nutritionists “Registered Nutritionist”

The Nutrition Society of Australia has a professional registration program that promotes and encourages high standards of training.  Inclusion on this register requires an 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:

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

Dietitians Association of Australia
National Office
1/8 Phipps Close
Deakin ACT 2600
Telephone: 02 6163 5200
Email: nationaloffice@daa.asn,au

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), when considering nutrition course providers – “colleges”, “institutes” and “academies” are not nearly as well recognised or regarded in the Australian nutrition and health science industry as universities are.  When deciding where to study in order to become a ‘nutritionist’ it is important to consider many factors. 

Time requirements – nutrition degrees

Generally most professional nutrition courses will take a minimum of three/four years full time study to complete.

Nutrition degree – course requirements

Most nutrition courses will involve such subjects as anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, pathology, diagnostics, physical examination, practice management, research skills 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 science qualifications that do not include clinical placement are not commonly recognised by many professional accreditation organisations.  This can be problematic as professional membership of accreditation bodies is often vital for attainment of professional indemnity insurance, private health fund rebates and professional recognition upon graduation.

Things to consider when comparing professional nutrition courses

Qualification upon completion:

Many private providers and universities offer a range of nutrition courses and qualifications, however it is vital 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.  Many distance and online nutrition 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 at a career-path level.

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 (Registered Nutritionist) or the Dietitians Association of Australia (Accredited Practicing Dietitian).  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 this quality assurance often does not stretch to many of the private providers, colleges, academies and institutes.


Make sure 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 Fee Help loans or other government-funded options are available for public university nutrition 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 or during online tutorials? Will the person you will be in contact with be appropriately qualified in nutrition or their specialised subject area).

Residential, clinical placement and examination requirements:

If you are planning to study via distance (online, distance or off-campus) ask if you need to attend residential sessions (generally a few days each semester where you attend university campus for a block of lectures or laboratory sessions).  Remember to think about extra costs including 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 online, distance and correspondence courses require you to attend exams.  Make sure you know where your nearest examination centre is.

Type of nutrition course delivery – Online, distance or face-to-face / classroom based learning:

Research constantly confirms that courses delivered completely online have poorer educational outcomes for students.  When studying via distance learning it is vital to have complete, detailed information available to you.  Beware of distance or online nutrition courses which rely solely or too heavily on note form or presentation formats such as video or PowerPoint.  This type of media is only helpful if you are in a very well supported lecture environment and are accompanied with comprehensive written learning materials.

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 an Australian University. 

It is our experience and opinion that you will require a degree in order to effectively progress in the nutrition industry (as well as apply for registration as Registered Nutritionist).  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, online or distance based study) as well as one that offers a direct degree upgrade qualification to a degree recognised by the Nutrition Society of Australia or the Dietitians Association of Australia.

Nutrition degree qualifications in Australia

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.

Australian University Nutrition Degrees (undergraduate and postgraduate)

Currently in Australia the best professional nutrition education and professional training is via a recognised Australian university.  For individuals wishing to study nutrition at a professional level, the following Australian Universities have very strong nutrition faculties: 

Deakin University (VIC) 

University of Sydney (NSW)

University of Newcastle (NSW)

University of Wollongong (NSW)

Edith Cowan University (WA)

University of Canberra (ACT) 

Griffith University (QLD)

Flinders University (SA)

Monash University (VIC)

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 or for details regarding the Nutrition Society of Australia’s nutritionist registration program go to:

Degree Pathways and Advanced Standing for advanced nutrition courses

Beck Health & Nutrition courses can offer advanced standing / course credit opportunities for further qualifications in nutrition.  This is however dependent on the course that you are applying for.  It’s likely that you will receive some advanced standing / credit / recognition of prior learning (RPL) if you are applying for an Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine or a nutrition degree.  All Australian universities, higher education providers and Registered Training Organisations are legally required to consider prior learning in related study areas (for example, nutrition) in order to maximise advanced standing / course credit for you.

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 an assistant to an Accredited Practicing Dietitian or consultant nutrition professional in a workplace such as a nursing home, hospital or other health care setting.  This qualification does include some very basic 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.

Diploma of Health Coaching (or similar)

A number of international and Australian private course providers are now offering qualifications to become a health coach, wellness coach, nutrition or food coach (or similar).  Beck Health & Nutrition courses allow you to automatically access the same accreditation and professional indemnity insurance for these purposes.  To find out more please read our health and nutrition coaching guide

Diploma of Nutrition 

At least one private university in Australia is currently offering this qualification.  At this point in time we are unable to comment as to the job prospects for such a course but would remind you that a degree is the preferred minimum qualification as a nutritionist in Australia.

Beck Nutrition Courses - Accredited by IICTStudents who successfully complete a Beck Health & Nutrition course are automatically eligible for accreditation from the International Institute for Complementary Therapists and will be eligible for accreditation and professional indemnity and business insurance for nutrition and health coaching, nutritional advice and menu planning.  To find out more about accreditation and insurance options, please read our “studying to be a health and nutrition coach” guide. 

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 will not provide you with the qualifications required to become a nutrition professional such as a Registered Nutritionist or Accredited Practicing Dietitian (you will need to complete a degree at a recognised Australian university for this).  This opportunity is however 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, health coaching and education) and add professionalism to their work. 

Beck Health & Nutrition courses

  • Beck Health & Nutrition courses can be used to assist entry and for credit 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 40 hours of study over six months.  In comparison, a first-semester nutrition subject at an Australian university requires more than 100 study hours (and costs around $2500-$3500 per unit).  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.

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