6 careers in nutrition to consider if you love food and health
From developing new recipes to working with elite athletes, a career in food can take you far. Here’s how you can make your mark after your nutrition studies.
The food we eat can dramatically influence our quality of life—but making healthy choices isn’t always easy. By studying nutrition or dietetics, you’ll gain the expert knowledge needed to help people approach food in a way that’s better for their wellbeing.
As well as being rewarding, a career in nutrition can lead to some pretty diverse opportunities. You may find yourself developing recipes, helping athletes reach peak performance, advising on meal preparation in aged care, or playing an important role in food safety.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the food and nutrition career pathways you may take after completing your studies.
As a dietitian, you’ll advise clients or patients on how to make food choices that can help improve their lives, whether it be because they want to lose weight or manage chronic pain or disease. You’ll develop meal plans and encourage them to reach their health goals.
You may find work in a hospital or healthcare setting, in a private practice, or even in your own consulting business. Keep in mind that to become an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) in Australia, you must complete a bachelor or masters degree from an accredited university.
As a nutritionist, you’ll also use your expert food and nutrition knowledge to guide clients who want help with dietary planning. While there are crossovers with the goals of a dietitian, nutritionist roles require less study and have a narrower scope of responsibilities. You won’t be qualified to provide medical advice or work in medical centres or hospitals, for example.
If you love being in the kitchen and being involved in food production, you may enjoy a job as a recipe developer. You’ll spend your days perfecting recipes and likely working within a team of other recipe developers, food technologists and product developers.
You may find work in a commercial kitchen, for a meal kit company, a food charity, or even for a cookbook author who needs help road-testing their recipes ahead of publishing.
If you’re a sports fan, your nutrition knowledge could help you find work with elite athletes and sports teams. You’ll become an expert on how food can optimise body composition and will be involved in producing meal plans and consulting on food and fluid management strategies to help athletes reach peak performance.
To become a sports dietitian, you’ll need to complete additional study in sport and exercise nutrition after your initial dietetics course. It can be a competitive career to break into but, if you’re at the top of your game, you may find work with peak sports bodies like the Australian Institute of Sport or on the staff of an elite team.
Those with an innovative streak and a love of science may take to a role as a food technologist. You’ll launch new food or beverage products, playing a role in research, development, production, and design and marketing.
Part of your role may include studying the physical and chemical properties of food to help enhance aspects such as the nutritional value, shelf-life, or safety of a product. You may find work with a food manufacturing company and could end up working with some iconic brands.
Food safety regulator
If you’ve got an eye for detail and are invested in keeping people safe, you may like to pursue a career in food safety. You’ll use your knowledge of food safety standards to make sure food is being manufactured safely and may deliver training for other team members. You might find work for a large food manufacturing company or within government.
Is nutrition a good career in Australia?
The demand for nutrition experts is high in Australia—and increasing. According to Job Outlook, the market for nutrition professionals is expected to increase 7.2% by 2026.
Many people working in the industry report high job satisfaction, thanks to a good work-life balance, opportunities for career progression, and the rewarding nature of the job, whether it be helping clients or creating exciting new food products.
What degrees in nutrition can you study?
It’s worth thinking about where you want to end up after your nutrition studies, as this will influence the course you should take. Keep in mind that to become a qualified dietitian, you’ll need to complete a specific dietetics course; to become a nutritionist, the study requirements are less rigorous.
For example, you could start with a course like the Diploma of Nutrition through Torrens University of Australia or Bachelor of Food and Nutrition through La Trobe University, which will give you a good grounding in the area and allow you to find work as a nutritionist.
After that, you can pursue further postgraduate study in dietetics that will deepen your scientific knowledge and expand your job opportunities.
Want to browse your nutrition and dietetics study options? Explore online nutrition courses available through Open Universities Australia.