If you love food as well as science and have an interest in how food affects a person’s lifestyle, a career as a Dietician could be for you.
The role of a Dietician is to asses, diagnose and assist people when it comes to health related challenges. Your main function would be to break down scientific information about health, wellness, diet and exercise into practical steps for your clients. Essentially, you help people make informed decisions about their health and you aid in preventing future illnesses.
You will need to have taken the following subjects at high school:
- Pure Mathematics
- Life Sciences
- Physical Science or Agriculture Sciences (Note: either one of these subjects could be compulsary at some institutions)
The following institutions are highly recommended for further studies:
- Sefako Makgatho University (SMU) – APS of 25
- University of Pretoria (UP) – APS of 25
- University of Western Cape (UWC) – APS of 34
As a Dietician you will need to complete a four year degree at a university, and then be registered with the HSPCA (Health Professions Council of South Africa).
You will need to have the following skills to succeed as a Dietician:
- an ability to work with people, people skills
- communications skills
- time management
- IT skills to keep a record of clients
- an interest in caring for people’s wellbeing
- empathy and sensitivity
- ability to research
- problem solve, bring about positive change
- motivational skill
- ability to summarise complex information
- positive attitude
- interpersonal skills
There is a range of environments that you could find yourself in as a Dietician. Some of these places of work include:
- The food industry, manufacturing, research
- Government health sectors, hospitals etc.
- Private hospitals and clinics
- Pharmaceutical companies
- NGO/ NPOs
- You could open your own practice
Regular working hours for a Dietician will generally be between 40 – 45 hours per week. If you are self-employed you’ll need to make time available where your clients can see you, this might require some flexibility.
The average salary per year as a Dietician, in South Africa, is around R253 177 with an hourly rate of about R325 per hour.
Here are a few things you can expect from a career as a Dietician:
- Expect to meet an array of incredibly unique people, from highly diverse backgrounds and walks of life.
- Expect to research some food issues you may never have come across, an interest in your subject will be super important.
- Expect to work with other healthcare professionals depending on what kind of work opportunities you find yourself in.
- The work can be incredibly rewarding, as you nurture your clients back into a space of health and wellness.