Nutritionist Job Description Explained

nutritionist job description

Want to know more about the nutritionist job description? OriGym are here to talk about everything that you could possibly need to know about working as a nutritionist.

Below we have broken down a typical job description, explaining all of the roles and responsibilities of a nutritionist, as well as what will be expected of you in terms of skills, qualifications, and experience.

But before we get started, enquire about our Level 5 Advanced Nutrition qualification and kick-start this exciting new career.

Already qualified as a nutritionist? Why not download our free course prospectus and see how you can expand your career with our range of courses and qualifications.


Develop Sports Nutrition Expertise with OriGym

Kickstart a career in nutrition with OriGym's award-nominated sports nutrition course

What Is A Nutritionist Job Description?

Very soon we will share all of the answers to ‘what is the job description of a nutritionist?’, but before we get to that, what exactly is a job description?

Here is a quick definition from WikiJob:

“A job description is a document intended to provide job applicants with an outline of the main duties and responsibilities of the role for which they are applying.” 

Typically, a job description will be written up by an employer and shared as part of a job advert, so that prospective candidates can figure out exactly what will be expected from them, as well as what to expect if they were to land the job.

However, job descriptions are also useful for people who are considering a career change and want to learn more about a particular job.

If that sounds like you, then you’re in luck! 

We know that there are a lot of things to consider before committing to a new career path, which is why we have covered:

  • Nutritionist Job Requirements 
  • Roles And Responsibilities 
  • Skills Needed
  • The Average Salary 
  • Opportunities For Progression!

So, what are you waiting for? Allow us to explain everything that you need to know about the job description of a nutritionist!

Nutritionist Job Description: What Are The Job Requirements? 

Before you can get excited about landing a job as a nutritionist, you’re probably wondering about what requirements employers will expect from you.

Well, one thing that might surprise you is that you don’t actually need a degree to work as a nutritionist!

Unlike the professional title a ‘dietician’, the title ‘nutritionist’ is not a protected title in Ireland, and therefore that you aren’t required to hold any specific qualifications to work as a nutritionist.

But don’t just take our word for it, here’s what the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute have to say about the difference between a nutritionist and dietitian job description:

“Dietitians are the only qualified and regulated health professionals who assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at an individual and wider public health level.”

So there it is, if you want to work as a dietician in Ireland there is a set criteria of qualifications that you’ll need to have, but this is not the case for nutritionists!

That’s not to say that studying a degree in Nutrition is a complete waste of time, as this can be a requirement for some public sector jobs.

However, studying for a University degree is a huge commitment, not to mention costly, and it isn’t always a realistic option for anybody looking to change career paths.

Considering that private sector nutrition jobs are less likely to require that you have a degree, and they’re often a lot better paid, the option for a vocational qualification makes a lot more sense for most people!

Rather than studying for a degree for a minimum of 3 years, vocational nutrition courses can be completed in a matter of weeks.

For example here at OriGym, the average student completes our advanced nutrition for sport qualification in just 10 weeks!

Plus, we offer unlimited post-course support to help all of our students land their dream job.

One other thing that might be required as part of a nutritionist job description is some experience! 

This will really depend on the level of job that you are looking for, as entry-level jobs will obviously be open to people who have recently completed their qualifications.

When it comes to experience, some employers will ask that you have some previous experience developing nutrition plans for clients, whilst others will ask for more generic experience, either coaching clients or even just motivating people in general!

This is why a career in nutrition can often work well alongside the life of a personal trainer!

When we discuss your opportunities for career progression further on, we’ll talk more about how you can combine working as a PT and a nutritionist to maximise your earnings and even start your own successful business.

But for now, let's talk about the roles and responsibilities of a nutritionist.

Roles And Responsibilities Of A Nutritionist 

If you want to know more about the day to day life as a nutritionist, then one of the most important parts of a job description to take note of, is the roles and responsibilities section.

Within this section, an employer will cover the majority of the tasks that you will be expected to carry out if you are to land the role.

These roles and repsonibiites might change for different employers and depending on your exact job title. 

For example, there might be some specific roles and responsibilities of a sports nutritionist that don’t appear on a consultant nutritionist job description.

Want to know more about the typical roles and responsibilities of a nutritionist? Here they are!

#1 Getting To Know The Client

Before you can even think about creating a nutrition plan for a client, you’ll need to get to know them!

Within this ‘task’, there are multiple things that you’ll need to do, so let’s get stuck in.

First things first, you should ask why they are seeking the support of a nutritional, and what exactly they want to get out of your service.

Whether their motivation is something as simple as wanting to embark on a weight loss journey, or they have a specific fitness or health orientated goal, knowing your clients goals is an essential part of putting together an effective nutrition plan.

But that isn't it, in order to really understand your clients goals, there are a couple of other things that you’ll need to know.

Firstly, what are their current eating and exercising habits like? 

Lifestyle has a huge impact on a person's overall health, so understanding their current habits is an important step to take prior to introducing any lifestyle changes.

You can have a conversation with your client about their habits, but you’ll also need to carry out body tests and fitness assessments to get a more accurate account of their health and fitness.

Finally, seeing as you are going to be advising clients on what, when, and how much, to eat and drink, you’ll also need to ask them if they have any dietary requirements.

Almost every client will have some kind of requirement, from a personal preference to stick to a vegetarian diet, to allergies, or religious beliefs that mean some kinds of food are completely off the table. 

Whatever that might be, it’s best to know this before you go ahead and write up a nutrition plan.

#2 Create Tailored Nutrition Plans For Clients

This one might seem obvious, as the main responsibility of any kind of nutritionist, is to create a nutrition plan for your client to follow.

This can be made up of a full meal plan, information on what to drink and how often, and some advice on the right vitamins and nutritional supplements to take.

As we mentioned above earlier, an important part of the job description for any nutritionist, is getting to know their client, including their eating habits, dietary requirements, and any goals related to their health and fitness plan.

This is because in order for a nutrition plan to be effective, it needs to be tailored to each individual client. 

Depending on the exact job you apply for, you could work with a range of people, from elderly clients, individuals with specific health conditions, or even pro athletes. 

Say you’re working as a nutritionist for a sports team, and your rugby player client needs to get a little faster on the field. The meal plan you put together for him should be totally different to the nutrition plan that you might be asked to create for a school’s lunch menu.

With these different goals and personal differences, comes the need for unique meal plans that are tailored to the exact needs of each and every client, which is exactly what you should do!

#3 Regularly Evaluate Client Progress

If you thought that the responsibilities of a nutritionist stops once you have put a meal plan together, you’d be mistaken.

In order to keep your clients on track and keep them motivated, regularly evaluating their progress is absolutely essential.

As per any nutritionist job description, you will be required to write up regular reports, detailing the clients progress, and assessing whether this progress lines up with their goals. 

If you want to really succeed in this role, you should also ask the client about their experience of the meal plan, even if it's working!

The happier a client is with their plan, the easier they will find to stick with it, and the more progress you will both see.

Ask what they think of their progress, whether they think the plan is effective, if they are enjoying the programme, and make any revisions if needed.

#4 Continue Your Professional Development

Another important thing that employers will expect from you, is that you demonstrate your commitment to your career by continuing your professional development with additional qualifications, and by attending seminars, conferences, and other networking events.

You’ll need to keep upto date with any developments in academic research, as well as trends and fads, so that you are the first to know about any updated information about health and nutrition. 

Completing CPD courses might seem like an unnecessary task when you’re trying to keep up with your day to day tasks, but these courses will add huge value to your career in the long term. 

Very soon, we’ll talk about the courses that you can complete to build your career and maximise your success in the industry. 

But first, here are the skills that you can expect to find on the job description of a nutritionist!

Nutritionist Job Description: What Skills Are Needed?

Another section that you will often find on a job description, is a list of the skills and traits that recruiters are looking for in a potential employee.

Want to know if your skillset is a match for the nutritionist job description? Here are the top 3 skills that you’ll need!

#1 Good Communication Skills

As a nutritionist, you will spend a lot of time around a range of different people.

For that reason, good communication skills are essential, and almost always come up on the job description of a nutritionist.

As part of your role, you will have to chat to clients about their goals, habits, and health. Plus, once you have that client on board, you will have to work with them to develop a nutrition plan, regularly checking back in to keep track of their progress.

#2 The Ability To Motivate People

This might go without saying, but if you want to be a good nutritionist, you will need to be the kind of person that can get other people feeling motivated.

In order for clients to see any real benefit of your business, they will need to see progress.

The only way to achieve that progress? To stick to the plan!

When it’s put it like that, it seems pretty straightforward. However, even the best of us struggle to stay on track sometimes.

If you sense that your client is getting a bit fed up, or they've lost sight of the reason they started in the first place, you need to be able to motivate them, get them back on track, and feeling good about their progress.

#3 Good Time Management 

A lot of clients will have some kind of time frame associated with their goals, so for that reason, a good nutritionist needs to have brilliant time management skills.

You will need to have the skills to organise and implement a nutrition plan that works alongside the time frame of any goals that your client might have.

Not only that, because you will have multiple clients each with their own requirements, the ability to organise your time well enough to fit in as many clients as possible, without compromising the quality of the service you offer, is essential (especially if you want to reach the higher end of the salary brackets below!).

What Is A Nutritionist Job Description: Other Skills You Will Need

Whilst the skills mentioned above can be found on pretty much every nutritionist job description, the list of skills you’ll need to succeed as a nutritionist definitely doesn’t end there.

Here are some other skills to work on if you want to succeed in this role:

  • Strong Decision Making Skills
  • Well-motivated!
  • Personable 
  • Good Presentation Skills
  • A Strong Leader
  • Punctual 
  • Problem Solving Skills

What Salary Can You Expect?

One aspect of the nutritionist job description that can change from job to job, is the salary that the employer is willing to offer you in exchange for you carrying out the roles and responsibilities highlighted above.

According to Payscale Ireland, the average starting salary for a nutritionist here is between €25,000 to €30,000 for public sector jobs, and €27,500 to €32,000 for jobs in the private sector.

Of course, with experience in the industry, comes the opportunity to climb up the career ladder and earn an increased salary. 

“With experience, you can earn between €30,000 and €50,000. Senior roles, such as principal lecturer or chair of public health, can be in the region of €45,000 to €90,000.”

Plus, if you choose to take on board our advice regarding career progression, you can even start up your own business which would mean that you can have a completely unlimited earning potential, so stick with us for that!

Opportunities For Career Progression!

Within the title ‘nutritionist’, there are multiple directions that you can take your career in. From working with local schools to create nutritious school lunches for staff and students, to working in a hospital setting with individuals who need help living with specific health conditions.

But what more can you do?

If you’re the ambitious type looking for ways you can create your very own job description by becoming your own boss, here are some things that you can do.

Work As A Sports Nutritionist

One exciting direction to steer your career into, is working as a sports nutritionist.

The sports nutritionist job description involves working with pro athletes and local sports teams, implementing strict nutrition plans to help the athletes to get in their best shape possible so that they can achieve their peak performance!

This area of nutrition is really exciting, and the salary is pretty generous too! However, there can be a lot of pressure.

When your clients are amatuer and professional athletes, their goals will always have to fit a strict time schedule.

This is because achieving their goals will depend on reaching their optimal health and fitness level within a specific time frame, usually during a big competition, match, or show.

Another thing to know if you choose to go down this route, is that having effective communication, presentation, and personable skills, is even more important than any other nutritionist job description.

This is because not only will you have to get the client on board with your plan, you will also have to get their support network on board to help them stay on track.

This means that you will need to work closely with their team of coaches, and explain your plans to close family and friends, usually through a professional presentation.

Work As A PT & Nutritionist

Personal training and sports nutrition are two career paths that go hand in hand, so why not create your very own personal trainer and nutritionist job description?

By getting qualified as a Level 4 personal trainer and a Level 5 Nutritionist, you can become the ultimate health and fitness coach!

If you already have any kind of existing knowledge of either health or fitness, you’ll know that even the best nutrition plans work best alongside regular exercise, and at the same time, to get the most out of your workouts, you’ll need to fuel your body with the right nutrition.

Rather than your client paying for a personal trainer and then going to somebody else for nutrition advice, you can be the full package!

As an established nutritionist, getting started as a PT on the side will be a lot simpler than you think. If you already have a good relationship with your nutrition clients, persuading them of the benefits of training with you too should be easy!

You can then make referrals between your services, ultimately building your very own empire!

Plus, starting your own business really isn’t as daunting as it might seem.

On the other hand, the benefits of becoming your own boss are pretty overwhelming - but in an awesome way!

Feel you need a little help? We offer a business skills CPD course specifically for people who want to start this kind of business. 

Before You Go!

By now, we hope that we have answered ‘what is the job description of a nutritionist’ in enough detail for you to decide whether this is the career for you.

So what are you waiting for? Enquire about our Level 5 Nutrition for Sport qualification and get started with this excited new career! 

Alternatively, you can download our course prospectus here for free.


Develop Sports Nutrition Expertise with OriGym

Kickstart a career in nutrition with OriGym's award-nominated sports nutrition course

Written by Abbie Watkins

Fitness Enthusiast & Blogger

Abbie is a work-hard, play-hard fitness junkie turned blogger. She loves a scenic run and a good upbeat exercise class. You can usually find her on the front row of a spin class on a Saturday morning.

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