Jobs Jobs Jobs…alternative employment routes for Dietitians and Nutritionists

Something on my mind a lot at the moment, as previously mentioned in a recent post, is the job hunt. So I thought to counter my post on the usual route dietitians take into employment within the NHS, I would write about alternate roles to consider if the NHS really doesn’t float your boat.


Perhaps a tricky/daunting one for a recent graduate, but there is nothing to say it can’t be done. Whether it be setting up your own business or working contracted hours for different companies, the world is your oyster! A great way to begin is to start self-employment part-time whilst still employed, therefore you will at least know some regular income is coming in. 

Bank/temp work within hospitals

A good one for those unable to find full-time jobs within the NHS is either asking to join the hospital bank (a file of employees willing to work in busy periods or when staff are on leave etc) or do temp work at different hospitals. Good places to start looking for bank work are your placement hospitals, as they already know you. Good websites for temp work are listed below. Please note that due to the needs a hospital will have for a temp dietitian to be able to come into the department and begin the job without a lot of guidance, 6-12 months experience as a dietitian is usually required.

Private companies

I am sure there are lots of companies out there, contracting nutritionist and dietitians to help with their employers health and give talks and such. One such company that springs to mind is ACHN who supply nutritionists and dietitians to the “food industry, PR campaigns and health in the workplace”.

Also, you could take the route of working for a company such as a supermarket or food and drink producers, advising on the nutritional content, conducting analysis and also writing for their media. Take a lot at their websites for any vacancies.

Private hospitals

There are many hospitals out there not associated with the NHS, however experience is usually required (at least band 6) due to the specialist service required. Great places to try and get work experience however (if you can…I have tried and failed!).

A few such places are:

Obviously there are a lot more, have a search on the internet if you are interested.


A lot of dietitians and nutritionists write for some form of media; magazines, newspapers, online, blogs, social media. For some it has become a full-time job, but for most I imagine it is something on the side. It can however be a very rewarding way to express yourself, and inform others of the recent research. Also a great way to promote the awareness of the field of nutrition and dietetics, and health promotion…

Health promotion

The role of health promotion is an umbrella term in itself! Dietitians and Nutritionists can work anywhere within the field of health promotion; schools, the workplace, food and drink companies, supermarkets, abroad, hospitals, research, the BDA, the government


There are a variety of different postgraduate courses available, a post I wrote a while back details the universities which offer MSc’s in nutrition and dietetics. There are also a variety of PHD’s offered by universities, which can be very competitive to get onto but very rewarding. This is the main route to get into research, and from then you could continue researching as a post-doc, or become a lecturer…


Tutoring can encompass anything from helping out GCSE/A-level students with their science coursework and exam preparation to make some extra money, to full time tutoring children/adults in the field. Websites such as Gumtree are great to find local need for tutoring.

Typically you need a PHD to be a university lecturer, plus an interest in doing research as most/all lecturers conduct research alongside teaching.


Difficult to get, but most definitely worth a go if you are wanting to head down the sports and exercise route. I assume it is one of those jobs that once you are working within the field opportunities occur…more of a ‘it’s who you know’ basis.  UK sport is good place to start looking for jobs.

Relief work/volunteering

Perhaps you vowed you would always go travelling once your studies are over, but never quite got round to it. Or you just really fancy a very rewarding job working as a nutritionist/dietitian that is different to that offered in the UK. The obvious countries for nutritional and health-based relief work and volunteering are Africa, South America and around Cambodia/Vietnam. For most you need to pay/organise your own flights, and pay for your time out there. You may be staying with a host family, or with other volunteers in accommodation. Knowing a second language is preferable! Here are a couple of companies I’ve found offering these opportunities:


If anyone else can think of alternate routes for Dietitians and Nutritionists to go down when job hunting please let me know!

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