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Working as a Dietitian [NOC 3132]

Job Description

Dietitians and nutritionists plan, implement and oversee nutrition and food service programs.  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

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

Source:  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

JobBank Canada forecasts that for the 2018-2020 period job opportunities will be good in British Columbia.


BC Labour market outlook for 2018-2028; average employment growth rate, job openings, composition of job openings

Source: WorkBC

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

  • Career Cruising  (Profile for Dietitian)
    Available from the VPL Digital Library | Explore our Digital Library page

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, beverage & pharmaceutical industries
  • Research facilities
  • Private practice/consulting
  • Sports organizations

Source: WorkBC

Salary

The median annual salary for Dietitians working full-time in BC is $76,690 a year.  Salary depends on experience, location, and employer.

Most full-time dietitians get benefits as well as a salary. These can include health and dental care, paid sick days, and vacation time. Those who are self-employed must provide their own benefits.

Job Bank Canada provides hourly wages for Lower Mainland/Southwest BC and Vancouver Island:

BC regional low, median and high hourly wages for dietitians
Source: Job Bank, Wage Report

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.

Source: 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
  • 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

Candidates educated outside of Canada, who wish to register with the CDBC, must undergo an “Assessment for Substantial Equivalence”, as part of the registration process.  Your education, practical training and work experience are assessed for “substantial equivalence” to current Canadian dietetic education and practical training.

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 in print at the Central Library or online at JOBFreeway.com
NOTE:  Access at VPL locations only

Online Job Postings

  • Indeed.com
    Find jobs posted on a multitude of company career sites and job boards
  • BC JobConnect
    **must have permanent resident number**
    newcomers can post their skills, education and work experience to BC employers looking for workers

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.

  • 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” and click SEARCH.
    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: