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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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