Dietician or Nutritionist – What’s The Difference?


Clarify Meanings of Health Professions

Training and Education:

When looking for the right professional in the nutrition field, it helps to know what the main difference is between a dietician versus a nutritionist. Firstly, it comes down to education. For example, a nutritionist is more of a general title than a dietician. A dietician holds a medical degree that is strictly regulated, while a nutritionist typically has no professional training at all. Because of this, a nutritionist should not be involved in any medical diagnosis.

Degrees of Qualifications:

While dieticians are required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university setting, the same is not necessary for a nutritionist. A dietitian will typically complete an internship in a medical setting. While a nutritionist can be considered as a certified nutritionist, they will have to earn a Certified Nutritionist Specialist.

A nutritionist that has registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration can declare themselves as registered dietitians in Gold Coast. Still, the nutritionist is far less protected under the law. Several nutritionists may claim to be health experts. To really be able to support that claim, credentials must be earned. This would include food service management qualification or food science.


While nutritionists may refer to themselves as food scientists, this is mainly for those who work with food manufacturers and dietitian assistants. This is still not a qualification that will show accredited proof of knowledge earned with a medical degree. A nutritionist is also free from governmental regulations, only needing an occupational license rather than a medical degree.

Practical Application:

Dietitians organise food and nutrition plans to direct healthy eating plans to prevent or treat medical conditions. This may include working in food service or working with patients in hospitals and clinics. Dietitians are also found at the teaching levels at colleges and universities, or in doing research on public health issues.

Some dietitians go into private practice, which allows more creative options for assisting others. This is not typical, though many doctors (including osteopathic, chiropractic and naturopathic doctors, add nutritionist studies to their knowledge base for patients). One of the most significant differences between dietitians and nutritionists is that a dietitian can diagnose eating disorders, while a nutritionist is not trained to diagnose problems.

Basing medical knowledge between the two is the key to understanding the differences involved in separating the two. With a minimum of a baccalaureate degree to be considered a dietitian, a nutritionist is not required to have any training to be considered a nutritionist. Further education is the option for a nutritionist to have more experience to apply to their knowledge but is not necessary.

Simply put, every dietitian is a nutritionist, but not every nutritionist is able to be considered a dietitian.



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