How to become a Dietitian - Education & Careers  
 
Dietitians mainly work in the following sectors and a number also work in research and management:

PRIVATE PRACTISING DIETITIANS
  • Consult clients/patients who need advice on nutrition therapy for their condition or need to make lifestyle changes which would include healthy eating.
Some medical conditions managed by dietitians in private practice and hospitals
  • Diabetes, heart disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol), stroke, liver disease, kidney disease cancer, HIV/AIDS, TB, throat, stomach and intestinal disorders (inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, constipation, flatulence, diarrhoea)
  • Food allergies and intolerances
  • Eating disorders
Dietitians are also trained in providing specialised nutritional advice for:
  • Sports nutrition
  • The various stages during a person’s lifecycle, e.g. pregnancy, infancy, childhood, adulthood, the elderly
CLINICAL DIETITIANS
Mainly work in a hospital setting (in both the private and public sectors) where they consult patients referred by doctors and other health care staff, assessing and individualising nutrition therapy as an integral part of the patient care team and prescribing an appropriate special diet, tube feed or intravenous feed.

COMMUNITY DIETITIANS
  • Work in the public sector but may also be employed by non-governmental or community based organisations
  • Focus on promotive, protective and supportive community nutrition interventions
Community Nutrition Focus Areas
  • Promotion, protection and support of breast feeding
  • Nutrition through the lifecycle
  • Growth monitoring and promotion
  • Monitoring of nutrition indicators
  • Nutrition education and counselling
  • Promotion of healthy lifestyles to address noncommunicable diseases
  • Nutrition supplementation for malnutrition
  • Community-based outreach activities
CONSULTING DIETITIANS
  • Offer their expertise in the field of nutrition to the food, nutrition, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. They also often provide input to the media on nutrition-related topics.
  • Advise their clients on:
    • Current food labelling legislation, nutrition regulations and conduct nutritional analyses of food items
    • Product development
    • The latest developments and trends in nutrition
    • Nutrition-related marketing activities
    • Literature reviews
FOOD SERVICE MANAGEMENT DIETITIANS
  • Manage the provision of healthy and specialised diets to persons in various institutions such as health care facilities, correctional services, welfare care settings, school hostels and old age homes
  • Plan, cost and develop menus
  • Control, implement, evaluate and oversee food service systems including the purchasing, storage, preparation and serving of foods and beverages

South African Degrees in Dietetics

Please click here for a list of universities that offer a degree in dietetics. Please consult the relevant universities for further information.

Find out more about ADSA and what a dietitian does by viewing this brochure.