Dietitians and Nutritionists

Occupation:Dietitians and Nutritionists

About the job

Nature of work:

Dietitians and nutritionists plan, implement and oversee nutrition and food service programs. They are employed in a variety of settings including hospitals, home health-care agencies and extended care facilities, community health centres, the food and beverage industry, educational institutions, and government and sports organizations, or they may work as private consultants.

Job duties:
Dietitians and nutritionists perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Develop, administer and supervise nutrition and food preparation and service programs in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, company cafeterias or similar settings.
  • Evaluate nutritional status of individuals and provide nutrition guidance and consulting to health professionals, individuals, dietetic interns, community groups, government and the media.
  • Aid in the prevention and/or treatment of inadequate nutrition.
  • Plan, evaluate and conduct nutrition education programs and develop educational materials for various audiences.
  • Practice on an individual basis or as a member of an interdisciplinary team to determine nutritional needs of patients and to plan, implement, and evaluate normal and therapeutic menus to maintain and enhance general health.
  • Analyze current scientific nutritional studies, conduct research and evaluate program effectiveness to improve the nutritional value, taste, appearance and preparation of food.
  • Work within industry in the development, testing and evaluation, and marketing of food and nutrition products or as a company representative supplying product related information to health professionals.
  • Confer with other health professionals, community groups, government and the media to provide consultation and advice in areas of nutrition interpretation, intervention and policy.
  • Supervise training of dietetic interns.

Dietitians and nutritionists may specialize in areas such as administrative dietetics, clinical dietetics, community dietetics, public health nutrition or research dietetics.

Sample job titles:
  • clinical dietitian
  • clinical nutritionist
  • dietitian
  • nutrition consultant
  • nutritionist
  • professional dietitian (P.Dt.)
  • registered dietitian (RD)
  • registered dietitian-nutritionist (RDN)
  • research dietitian
  • research nutritionist

To work in this field, you should be interested in helping people, working in partnership with others, and promoting healthy lifestyles. You should have an aptitude for science. Good judgement, organizational skills, and leadership skills are important. You must be creative, tactful, and tolerant of others.

Job requirements:
  • Dietitians require a bachelor's or master's degree in dietetics, nutrition or a related field such as food and nutritional science or biochemistry and a period of supervised practical training.
  • Registration with a regulatory body is required in Nova Scotia for dietitians.
  • Membership in the national association, Dietitians of Canada, may be required for dietitians to practice.
  • Nutritionists usually require similar education and training as dietitians.
  • Registration with a regulatory body is required for nutritionists in Nova Scotia, (as a registered dietitian-nutritionist).
  • Membership with the national association, Dietitians of Canada, and/or a provincial regulatory body is available for nutritionists who have the same education and practical training as dietitians.
Other considerations:

Most dietitians and nutritionists work regular hours; however, those in hospitals may work evenings, weekends, or holidays. Dietitians and nutritionists may progress to management positions through additional experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Dietitians and Nutritionists most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 58% of Dietitians and Nutritionists who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $68,187. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Dietitians and Nutritionists465Moderate growth45Low
Minimum: $25.00
Median: $32.00
Maximum: $40.18
Minimum: $16,932
Median: $55,463
Maximum: $76,874
Occupations in Health36,515Strong growth4,385Low
Minimum: $16.38
Median: $25.50
Maximum: $41.00
Minimum: $10,740
Median: $43,853
Maximum: $88,944
Dietitians and NutritionistsCompared to: Occupations in Health
Percent employed full-time76%77%
Percent self-employed0%10%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentDietitians and NutritionistsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton8%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley7%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeDietitians and NutritionistsCompared to: All Health
% Employed% Employed
Median Age3944
GenderDietitians and NutritionistsCompared to: Occupations in Health
% Employed% Employed
EducationDietitians and NutritionistsCompared to: All Health
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolxx1.1%$27,581
High schoolxx6.9%$24,119
Trades certificatexx5.0%$31,728
College certificate or diploma4.1%x39.4%$36,693
University certificate or diploma4.1%x4.8%$50,769
Bachelor's degree61.9%$85,80727.6%$57,186
University advanced certificate or diploma10.3%$82,4012.3%$61,833
Master's degreex$59,8325.1%$87,808
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxx7.2%$83,000
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Dietitian or Nutritionist
Right to Title:This job is regulated in Nova Scotia. The job title is protected (you may not use this job title without a professional designation). Professional designation shows that the holder has met provincial requirements for the job. Employers may require professional designation, however, you do not need professional designation to legally work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Dietetic Association
380 Bedford Highway, Suite 301
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
(902) 493-3034
Useful contacts:
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572
Dietitians of Canada
480 University Avenue, Suite 604
Toronto, ON M5G 1V2
Tel: (416) 596-0857
Fax: (416) 596-0603

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Dietetics and clinical nutrition services - Other
Education Level:This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program not listed above that relates to Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition Services.
See all institutions providing this program+
Mount Saint Vincent University
166 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2J6
(902) 457-6117
Program Name:Dietetics/dietitian (RD)
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to integrate and apply the principles of the food and nutrition sciences, human behaviour, and the biomedical sciences to design and manage effective nutrition programs in a variety of settings. These programs include courses in human nutrition; nutrient metabolism; the role of foods and nutrition in health promotion and disease prevention; planning and directing food service activities; diet and nutrition analysis and planning; supervision of food storage and preparation; client education; and professional standards and regulations.
There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.
Program Name:Human nutrition
Education Level:This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the relationships between food consumption and human development and health. These programs include courses in the cellular and molecular processes of food processing in the human body, related metabolic processes, the relationship of food and nutrition to disease, and nutritional needs across the lifespan.
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St. Francis Xavier University
PO Box 5000
Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5
(902) 867-2219
Cape Breton University
PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6L2
(888) 959-9995
Canadian School of Natural Nutrition
800 Windmill Rd, Suite 205
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1L1
(902) 425-0895
Program Name:Nutrition sciences
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any scientific program that focuses on the utilization of food for human growth and metabolism, in both normal and dysfunctional states, from the interdisciplinary perspective of the agricultural, human, biological, and biomedical sciences. These programs include courses in food science, biochemistry, physiology, dietetics, food and nutrition studies, biotechnology, biophysics, and the clinical sciences.
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Acadia University
15 University Avenue
Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6
(902) 542-2201
Additional resources: