How to Become a Nutritionist in Canada

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The ranks of nutritionists and dietitians in Canada have swelled in recent years, as healthy living becomes a greater concern. The focus on better meals, exercise and prolonging life has made the job of a nutritionist important in hospitals, nursing homes and schools. Students and young professionals interested in health care look to nutritionist careers because they are fairly lucrative. Dietitians of Canada says that entry-level dietitians and nutritionists can make an annual salary of $40,000 in the first few years (as of 2009). The education and licensing aspects of this career, however, require hard work and a commitment from the prospective nutritionist.

  • Attend a four-year university in Canada with a bachelor's degree program in Dietetic Education. Search for a university that has a specific Dietetic Education track, along with a history of placing graduates in nutritionist and dietetic careers. Check the Dietitians of Canada website (see Resources) under the "A Career in Nutrition" section to find a list of undergraduate institutions with Dietetic Education programs.

  • Pursue an internship program listed by Dietitians of Canada, an industry group that oversees licensing and education of nutritionists and dietitians. Head to the "A Career in Nutrition" section of the Dietitians of Canada website and click on "Internship and Practicum Programs" to find an internship. Registered nutritionists must pursue internships that show their full range of career options before settling on entry-level positions.

  • Obtain membership to the Dietitians of Canada once you have completed your degree and internship. Fill out the Dietitians of Canada six-step membership form by clicking on Become a Member and fill out the online member application. The Dietitians of Canada serves multiple purposes for nutritionists and dietitians throughout their careers, including evaluation, continuing education and job placement.

  • Acquire licensing from your provincial government before practicing as a nutritionist in Canada. Every province from British Columbia to Newfoundland has a licensing body for nutritionists and dietitians, to apply legal and ethical standards to medical professionals. Check the Dietitians of Canada list of provincial regulatory bodies under "Become a Member" to find information on registering in your province.

  • Learn about the Internationally Educated Dietitians Pre-Registration Program (IDPP) if you have received an undergraduate degree outside of Canada. The IDPP is a program run through Ryerson University in Toronto to help American, Asian and European nutritionists achieve proper education and certification to practice in Canada (see Resources).

  • Participate in molding the next generation of dietitians and nutritionists in Canada as a mentor for the Dietitians of Canada. Your mentoring will not only help young nutritionists just entering the job market, but will show your leadership skills as you advance beyond entry-level positions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Register for courses in French as you complete your nutritionist education at a Canadian university. In addition to the bilingual services offered at hospitals throughout Canada, a nutritionist who can speak French and English can search for work in Quebec. Appreciate the challenges and sacrifices needed to work as a nutritionist in aboriginal communities in Canada. Community centers, schools and health centers in places like Nunavut are in need of nutritionists due to annual budgetary constraints. You will need to lower your salary and benefit expectations to help aboriginal families and individuals get on the right track to healthier living.

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