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How to become a dietitian

How to become a dietitian in Australia

Careers
Published 22 Apr, 2022  ·  5-minute read

Are you considering a Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences or a Master of Dietetics Studies? Or are you wondering what pathway to take to start a career as a dietitian?

A career in dietetics can be extremely rewarding, and there are so many opportunities in the field that you may find yourself open to. Upon completion of a Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, you may be able to become a nutrition assistant or a health and wellbeing consultant.

If you're interested in becoming an accredited dietitian, UQ also provides the Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences as a provisional pathway into the Master of Dietetics Studies. Throughout these programs, you'll gain invaluable hands-on and technical experience to support your career goals.

To become a credentialed dietitian in Australia, you're also required to join Dietitians Australia’s ‘Accredited Practising Dietitians’ program.

Want to find out more about how UQ’s dietetics programs can pave a pathway to your career as a dietitian in Australia? UQ alumnus and current health coach Claudia Cramer shares how she has gotten to where she is and reflects on her time at UQ.

“My study honed my professional and personal skills, and I was lucky enough to make some great friends in the process.” - Claudia Cramer

What has your career as a dietitian looked like up until now? 

I have had some amazing experiences and opportunities in the health/dietetics industry over the 5 short years since graduating. I was a dietetic assistant at a local hospital while I was finishing my Master of Dietetics Studies and moved into a food service dietitian role at the hospital after graduating.

Shortly after, I returned to study my sports dietitian qualifications and moved into a sports dietitian role for a well-known fitness franchise here in Australia. This was an amazing opportunity to nurture different skills such as:

  • recipe development
  • sports nutrition
  • blog creation
  • presenting.  

Currently, I work in a health coach role in the chronic disease prevention space. It’s extremely rewarding to be a health professional that can support women with their health goals.

"A lot of women want to feel better and more confident in their body and improve their relationship with food, which is something I am passionate about."

When did you first become interested in becoming a dietitian? 

Initially, I was signed up for a degree in criminology (possibly because it sounded cool and I didn't know what I wanted to do). A housemate at the time mentioned that I should study health, as I was researching nutrition and health in my spare time. 

So, I signed up for the Exercise and Nutrition Sciences program at The University of Queensland and went from there. I knew that dietetics was a pathway I could aim for through this degree, so I set my sights on that. 

What was appealing to you about becoming a dietitian? 

As I went through the Masters of Dietetics Studies, I knew that it was the right career path. There are so many different avenues you can go down within dietetics, so I knew it would keep me interested and forever learning. You can go into food service, clinical nutrition, the food industry, aged care, chronic health management, digital coaching, recipe development, public health, sports nutrition and so on. 

"The opportunities are endless, and you can really move into whatever sparks your interest."

Claudia Cramer, dietitian

Why did you choose to study at UQ? 

Coming from a small country town, I only knew of a few of the bigger universities in Brisbane. I went to the open day at UQ in St Lucia and I felt at home. The campus is lovely, and I was sold! 

In your mind, what makes a good dietitian?

Patience, empathy, understanding, kindness and being able to think outside of the box are some of the qualities I think make a great dietitian.

What did you enjoy most about your study?

I loved coming into the campus during the week for tutorials and catching up with my friends (after a good coffee at Merlo). I loved a lot of the anatomy, physiology and nutrition classes, as I had some great lecturers. Funnily enough, I really enjoyed my chemistry and maths subjects (which I never thought I would say), as the lecturers had engaging ways to explain tough topics.

What kinds of hands-on training did you undertake during your study?

We did a lot of practical exercises in our study. In the bachelor program, we did hands-on classes such as anatomy, where we learned about the different structures in the body, biology classes which involved in-person experiments and biochemistry experiments where we got to head into the lab.  
 
Through undertaking the master's, we got to do practice consultations to hone our counselling skills and other fun sessions such as recipe development. We also did our medical nutrition therapy subjects in the hospital, a few days each week, so I was able to work as a student within the dietetics department to practise what we had been learning in theory. 

What skills did you pick up while studying?

I believe I picked up skills such as critical thinking, time management, prioritisation, and self-motivation. 

How do you think your experience in the program helped set you up for a successful career?

I had a great experience while studying at UQ, and I was lucky to be surrounded by amazing people and staff! My lecturers were very caring and selfless, and I think that made a big difference in making us feel comfortable and supported.

What were some of the most memorable courses you encountered?

I can remember a few challenging courses, such as biology and biochemistry. However, there were also so many amazing courses such as physiology and anatomy. I had a lot of great courses to choose from when it came to elective subjects, which made it much easier to stay engaged and interested. 

What do you think the Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences / Master of Dietetics Studies gave you? 

My study opened my eyes to what is possible to study and just how broad the health and nutrition space is. The experience honed my professional and personal skills, and I was lucky enough to make some great friends in the process, who I am still close with today.

Learn more about the Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition SciencesLearn more about the Master of Dietetics Studies

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