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Working as a Dietitian [NOC 3132]

Job Description

Dietitians are health care professionals who provide advice and counselling about diet, food and nutrition.

As a dietitian, you perform the following duties:

  • develop and supervise nutrition and food service programs in hospitals, schools, company cafeterias or similar settings
  • provide nutrition counselling and consulting to individuals, health professionals, community groups and government organizations
  • plan and conduct nutrition education programs
  • analyze current scientific nutritional studies
  • work within industry in the development, testing and evaluation, and marketing of food and nutrition products

You may specialize in an area such as:

  • Public health or community-based settings
  • Clinical dietetics
  • Research

Sources: Dietitians of Canada, Work BC Career Profile for Dietitians

Industry Overview

Employers in all areas of Canada are finding it difficult to recruit dietitians, especially in remote and rural regions. There are not enough dietitians trained in Canada to meet the demand.

In the near future you will see even more job vacancies due to retirement and population growth. New job creation in the areas of chronic disease management and specialized nutrition care will also increase demand for dietitians.

Source: Dietitians of Canada

Job Outlook in BC

Dietitians

job outlook in BC for dietitians

Chart from WorkBC

WorkBC provides job openings in BC regions from 2015-2025:

Region Expected # of
Job Openings
Average Annual Employment Growth Expected Increase in Employment
Vancouver Island / Coast
160 1.7% 55
Lower Mainland/Southwest 460 2.0% 200
Thompson-Okanagan 60 1.3% 15

You can learn more about working as a dietitian in BC from:

Types of Employers

Dietitians work in many settings including:

  • Hospitals and long term care facilities
  • Home care programs
  • Community health centres
  • Schools, colleges & universities
  • Government
  • Food & pharmaceutical industries
  • Research facilities
  • Private practice/consulting
  • Sports organizations

Source: WorkBC

Salary

The median salary for Dietitians working full-time in BC is $72,996 a year.  Your salary depends on experience, location, and employer.

In addition to a salary, most full-time dietitians receive health and dental benefits, paid sick days, and paid vacations.

Job Bank Canada provides hourly wages in BC regions:

hourly wages in BC regions for dietitians
Source: Job Bank Canada – Dietitians and Nutritionists, NOC 3132

Working Hours

Most dietitians work fairly regular schedules, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

If you work as a Community dietitian you may have to attend weekend or evening meetings with local groups. If you work in a critical care unit at a hospital, you might be called in for an emergency case, but this would be a rare situation.

A large number of dietitians work part time in BC.

Sources: Work BC & Career Cruising

Skills, Education, and Experience

Skills

  • Strong interest in food and nutrition
  • Enjoy helping people
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Good organizational abilities
  • Detail oriented
  • Able to complete clerical and computer duties (paperwork, spreadsheets, etc)
  • Able to direct and provide guidance to others
  • Research skills

Education and Experience

To work as a Dietitian in BC you require:

  • a bachelor’s or master’s degree in dietetics, nutrition or a related field such as food and nutritional science or biochemistry
  • supervised practical training
  • registration with the College of Dietitians of BC

Qualifications

This occupation is regulated in British Columbia.

You must be registered with the College of Dietitians of BC (CDBC) to use the title dietitian and registered dietitian.

Full registration with the CDBC requires successful completion of:

  • an academic education program
  • the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination (CDRE)
  • a Canadian program of practical training

For more information see:

Internationally Trained and Accredited Dietitians

If you are an internationally trained dietitian you must complete a multi-step process to work in BC. This includes an assessment of your education and professional credentials.

For more information:

Finding Jobs

You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, trade journals, and electronic sources, as well as through professional association publications.

Dietitians often find jobs through networking and establishing professional relationships. Among new graduates, almost 40% found their jobs by networking.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & the Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

  • Available online or in print at the Central Library
    NOTE: You can only access this database from the Central Library or VPL branch libraries. Access is NOT available from home or outside the Library.

Online Job Postings

  • Indeed.com
    Find jobs posted on a multitude of company career sites and job boards

Professional Associations’ Career Resources

Identifying the Right Position

When you browse job advertisements, you’ll find a range of different job titles that are relevant.

For dietitians, look for these related job titles:

  • Administrative/Food Service Dietitian
  • Clinical Dietitian
  • Community Nutritionist
  • Nutrition Consultant
  • Nutrition Specialist
  • RD (Registered Dietitian)
  • Research Dietitian
  • Dietitian-Nutritionist

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of potential employers. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Canadian Medical Directory
    Available at the Central Library 610.92 C21
  • Directory of Canadian Healthcare Personnel
    Available at the Central Library, 362.11025 C21a
  • Guide to Canadian Health Care Facilities
    Available at the Central Library 362.105 C212ca
  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “dietitians” or “dietician” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume or curriculum vitae and a cover letter. These should identify the position you are applying for and summarize your relevant experience.

Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

To learn about applying for jobs in Canada, use the following guides:

Getting Help from Industry Sources

Industry Associations

Associations for dietitians in BC and Canada can provide information and assistance. Registration and fees are required for membership.

Industry Journals

Search the Vancouver Public Library catalogue for journals related to your profession. An Example at the Central Library: