Career as a nutritionist in India
Nutritionists are the professional who possess expertise in the arena of nutrition and diet patterns. They normally do a variety of tasks including giving people advise on what food to eat, devising customized food plans for patients with specific needs etc. They help people in making better choice while eating and hence help in leading a healthy lifestyle.
By evaluating a client’s specific needs, they prescribe an individual diet chart to him/her which helps them in eating the right types of food. For example, a person with weight loss issues will be prescribed a low fat diet in accordance with his past weight history by a qualified nutritionist.
Educational qualification required to become a nutritionist
Students who want to become a nutritionist should preferably choose science stream at the 10+2 level. To become a nutritionist, once has to study, dietics, home science or nutrition specifically at the bachelor level. Apart from nutrition and dietics, graduation can also be completed in home science, catering, hotel management etc to become a nutritionist. In addition to BSc in the aforementioned subjects, one can also pursue a food technology course the duration of which is four years.
Most nutritionists also complete their Masters in their chosen stream, the duration of which is two years.
For those who don’t want to pursue post graduation, a post graduation diploma in dietics and public health and nutrition is also a good choice. During post graduation specialization can be done in nutrition and food sciences.
Obviously, there is option to do research in food and nutrition also.
The salary of a nutritionist depends on a lot of factors like the qualification of the nutritionist, numbers of years of practice in the field. The salary package might begin from 2 lakh per annum for new interns.
Pay structure might also vary from hospitals or organization the nutritionist is working with and may increase or decrease in accordance with the nutritionist’s qualifications.
Pros of being a nutritionist
• Nutritionists help people in leading a better lifestyle and also help them in avoiding future health problems.
• The timings of practice are flexible which a huge advantage is for people with families.
• With increase in experience, a good rapport with the clients can be established, which can lead to more patients coming in.
Cons of being a nutritionist
• It requires a lot of study and years of practice to establish oneself.
• One might not get remuneration in accordance to the qualification.
Good communication skills are imperative to establish a healthy dialogue with the patient. Patience to deal with individual and good analytical skills to make a customized meal plan for him/ her are also needed. Also, a lot of hard work is also expected from the nutritionists in cases where the medical history of the patient might be complicated.
A nutritionist has to constantly keep updating his/her knowledge in order to provide best solutions for the problems of the patients. A keen insight in the patient’s approach towards food is also required by the nutritionist.