How to become a Dietitian (or Nutritionist)
by Julia McDonald
Becoming a dietitian in Canada consists of three steps:
1) obtain a four year bachelor's degree with a focus in Foods and Nutrition. Dietitians of Canada maintains a list of accredited Dietetic Education programs at Canadian Universities.
2) complete the supervised practical training;
Some professionals use the terms dietitian and nutritionist interchangeably; however, all dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are dietitians.
The term dietitian is protected by law through provincial legislation in all Canadian provinces whereas in some Canadian provinces the term nutritionist can be used by anyone with or without any formal education or training. The term "Registered Nutritionist", however; is protected by law in Alberta, Nova Scotia, Quebec and the term "Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist" is protected by law in News Brunswick. In these cases, the educational requirements are the same for both dietitian and nutritionist. For more information on these differences, please view this article "What is the Difference Between a Dietitian and a Nutritionist?" on the Dietitians of Canada website, as well as, McMasters University Science Departments article on dietitian /nutritionist programs.
Although Athabasca University does not offer a degree in this area, it is possible to do courses that can be transferred to another university. Our website has a complete list of our programs and courses.
Before registering for any courses or programs:
The following links contain useful information on duties, working conditions, skills, education, salary, employment prospects and opportunities and more:
- Alberta Learning Information Services
- Dietitians of Canada
- American Dietetic Association
- International Confederation of Dietetic Associations
- National Occupational Classification (NOC)
- Working in Canada
Contact the post-secondary institutions that offer accredited programs in dietetic education for the course calendar, about transferable credits information and admission requirements.
3. Contact the Canadian Dietetic Association or a provincial counterpart for registration requirements.
To become a practicing dietitian in Canada, you may need to be registered. The educational requirements for registration may vary from province to province.
A counsellor can provide you with more information on this particular career path and make sure the program you choose meets your goals. You can contact a counsellor by email, book a telephone appointment by calling 1-800-788-9041 ext. 6723 or use the online appointment form.
An advisor can help you select courses and develop a program plan for studies at Athabasca University. (For courses or programs at another institution, you must contact that institution directly for further assistance.) You can e-mail an advisor at email@example.com or call 1-800-788-9041.For more information on this service, visit the Advising web page
Once you completed these steps, you are ready to become an AU Student.
Alberta Learning Information Services (2006). Alberta Occupational Profiles: Dietitian. Retrieved Nov. 24, 2006 from www.alis.gov.ab.ca/occinfo
Dietitians of Canada (2006). Retrieved Nov. 24, 2006 from http://www.dietitians.ca/
Doug Cook's Wellnessnutrtion.ca (2006): What is the Difference Between a Registered Dietitian and a Nutritionist? Retrieved on Dec. 11, 2006 from http://www.dougcookrd.com/dietitian-101/difference-between-dietitian-and-nutritionist/
McMaster University (2006): Dietitian & Nutritionist Programs. Retrieved Dec. 11, 2006 from http://www.science.mcmaster.ca/scce/files/forms/students/education-planning/Canadian_Dietitian__Nutritionist_Information_and_Programs.pdf
National Occupational Classification (2006). 3132 Dietitians and Nutritionists. Retrieved Feb 5, 2007 from http://www5.hrsdc.gc.ca/NOC/English/NOC/2011/ProfileQuickSearch.aspx?val=3&val1=3132&val65=*
SAS for Learner Support Services - Last Updated October 29, 2012
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