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      Nutrition & Dietetics: A Right Career Choice

       

      In India As nutritional studies was initiated in the 1930s as a part of Home Science. While earlier, it was limited to that of a finishing and grooming school with courses in cooking and textile management, importance of courses in nutrition education started getting attention in the early 1960s. Currently, numerous new areas of practice have endowed the nutrition domain with tremendous popularity.

       

      Difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist

       

      Dietitians work in hospitals, clinics, health centres, wellness projects, fitness and sports centres or work independently to plan and oversee the diets for patients. They also ensure the quality and hygiene levels in the hospital kitchen. To do well in their careers, dietitians must be updated with diseases, medicines, treatment.

       

      Nutritionists are involved in the fields of food science, community development, research projects and FMCG or Fast Moving Consumer Goods Companies. Research takes up a big role in this domain. Public health nutritionists are mostly involved in the developmental area. They dwell in the science of biochemistry and food science and are not involved in clinical nutrition as a dietitian does.

       

      How to kick-start your career

       

      Opt for a nutrition degree course after plus two. A number of programmes are offered for studying graduation, post-graduation with diverse combinations. Delhi University offers B.Sc in Home Science with Food and Nutrition as a combination subject. One can opt for either B.Sc Home Science (Pass) or (Honors). In the Honours program students can specialise in Food and Nutrition in the second and third year, whereas the Pass program, is without any scope for specialisation. Only students with science backgrounds having studied subjects like Biochemistry, Botany, Physics, Zoology and Chemistry can opt the Honours program. However, two most renowned colleges – Lady Irwin and IHE – accepts students from both science and non-science backgrounds.

       

      The best way is to go through the curriculum before taking admission. Graduation in nutrition and dietetics involves a yearly cost of around Rs. 10,000 depending on the college. Diplomas cost more the course content is integrated to make it a one-year program.

       

      Course details

       

      A course in nutrition and dietetics includes

       

      Identifying nutrition and dietary problems

      Formulate socially, economically and technologically workable ways to control nutrition and dietary issues

      Create innovative management and administration practice to check nutrition

      Promoting research on nutrition and developing future scientists

      Recommending governments and health bodies on issues related with nutrition

       

       

      Best institutes to study nutrition

       

      SNDT College

      Institute of Health Systems (IHS)

      Lady Irwin College

      Avinashilingam University for Women

      Banasthali University

       

      Students aspiring for a postgraduate degree can either opt for a one-year Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics and Public Health Nutrition (DDPHN) or a two-year Master’s programme.

       

      The program includes subjects like

       

      Research Methods and Computer applications

      Biochemistry

      Food Microbiology and Food Safety

      Food Science and Quality Control

      Advanced Human Nutrition

      Physiology and Principles of Food Science

       

      Area of specialisation for MSc in Food and Nutrition

      Therapeutic Nutrition

      Public Health Nutrition

      Food Science

      Advancing in the field

       

      Institutes like Nutrition Foundation of India (NFI) are mostly involved in research. Such institutes take in MSc nutritionists for PhD or research work and organise seminars and symposia to bring out recommendations. At NFI, one can finish PhD in 5 years.

       

      Registered Dietitians

      After finishing their studies some aspiring professionals are credited by Indian Dietetics Association (IDA) as registered dietitians, which they use while working at hospitals, day-care clinics and consultancy clinics. However, the credentials requires specific academic and practice requirements.

       

      Skills and aptitude

       

      Interest in food and related fields

      Good communication and interaction skills

      Skills to write reports, documentation, brochures

      Excellent aptitude for research

      Problem solving

      Patience and concern

      Planning and organizational skill

       

      Recruiters

       

      Governmental

      UN organizations

      FMCGs and Pharmaceutical companies

      Medical marketing

      R&D institutes

      Schools, colleges

       

      Companies and organizations

       

      Nestle

      Cadbury’s

      Unilever

      GSK

      Eli Lilly

      Novartis

      Hyatt Corporation

      Accor Hospitality

      Taj Group of Hotels

      Vatika Group

      Le Meridien

       

      In developed countries especially in America and Europe, dietitians often known as Diet Masters play a vital role. In the United States, a medical dietitian with good academic background earns  around $20,000-40,000 per month.

       

       

      Job profiles

       

      Animal nutritionist

      Community education officer

      Food technologist

      Health promotion specialist

      International aid/development worker

      Medical sales representative

      Nutritional therapist

      Nutritionist

       

      Job responsibilities

       

      Researching the nutritive value of food

      Understanding all food components

      Advising people on eating habits

      Planning diets that will improve health

      Research the nutritive value of food

      Understand all food components

      Advise people on eating habits

      Plan diets that will improve health

       

      Salary 

      Salary depends on location, educational qualification and experience. A nutritionist in tier II or III town will be paid less than the one in a metro. Dietitians working in big hospitals and medical care centres will earn well than a dietitian working independently.

       

      One can start his/her career with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000 to 20,000. However, with experience, the pay scale may reach the figure of Rs 30,000 plus. With the Sixth Pay Commission the salary slabs have risen to Rs. 25,000 in government hospitals.

       

      Author: Baishali Mukherjee

      Profile- An independent writer and journalist for last nine years; presently working with Education World, Entrepreneur India, Scrabbl.com and Stoodnt.com. Worked as the content head for four books and have articles and features published in leading print and digital media spaces.

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