It has been a while since I have wrote a lifestyle type blog, but I thought it was about time I did a part 2 to A day in the life of a nutritionist by adding some top tips to actually becoming a Registered Nutritionist.
Unfortunately, it is not as easy as taking a weekend course in nutrition and then calling yourself an adviser. As you may have seen all over social media, in your office at work or even just people chatting in the yoga changing rooms – every one is an expert when it comes to food and nutrition… so we are led to believe.
However (!!) this is obviously not true and we tend to find these ‘experts’ are giving out anecdotal advice (what worked for them will work for you) – great news right? If it worked for someone else then it must be worth a try, whats the worst that can happen?
Lets take a step back – does the person giving you this advice have any idea on your medical background? Do they appreciate that nutrition is not black and white and there is no perfect diet? Are they aware of the impact this could have on your life? Could it affect anxiety levels, productivity at work or recovery from the gym? Have they looked to see if this can affect your micro nutrient intake?
These questions may seem simple but they are all questions that should be considered when you speak to a professional. So, mini rant over lets look at how you become a Registered Nutritionist.
Step One: Biology A-level
Most accredited universities will not take on students without a biology background, it may sound premature to be thinking about this but choosing a science A-level helps you meet the application criteria.
Step Two: An accredited University course
There are many nutrition courses at University nowadays but I would recommend only applying for Association for Nutrition accredited degrees. These courses have to meet the AfNs code of conduct and are assessed to ensure the content is detailed enough to help you in your career post graduation. You can find a list of these courses here.
Step Three: Voluntary Work
You will struggle to find a nutritionist or dietitian that hasn’t had to complete hours of voluntary work or work placements throughout and beyond University. I truly believe this helped me develop my career and helped me get the great opportunities I got – it also is a great way to choose a career path, what you may think is your desired job may turn out to not be all it seems!
Step Four: Associate Registration
Post graduation apply to become an Associate Registered Nutritionist as soon as you can, this is essential for becoming a fully Registered Nutritionist. You are required to work for around 3 years as an associate, collecting evidence to support the AfN competencies. Once you have three years paid or unpaid evidence under your belt and a nice reflective portfolio to support this, you can then submit to become registered.
Step Five: Continuous Professional Development
CPD – this is so important in the world of nutrition as there are always new findings, updated guidelines and policies to keep up with. Attending accredited CPD events can help you build you associate portfolio but is also key when you are fully registered. You are required as a Registered Nutritionist to complete around 30 hours of accredited CPD each year. I keep a written reflection of each event in case the AfN call upon my CPD evidence and keep it with the event CPD certificate.
Step Six: Protect the public
Protect the public – we work hard to become Registered Nutritionists, around 3-4 years at university and then at least 3 years as an Associate. Use your knowledge and skill set to teach the public the truth about nutrition and health, be creative and don’t be disheartened by the world of marketing!
For my PT friends out there the AfN have a list of courses that meet their framework for the fitness industry, you can find this here if you are interested in nutrition.
If you have any other questions please send me an email and I will be happy to help!
Good luck foodies!