A Dietitian is a health professional who has a Bachelor’s degree specialising in foods and nutrition, as well as a period of practical training in a hospital and a community setting. It takes at least four years of full-time study at a university to qualify as a Dietitian. Many Dietitians further their knowledge by pursuing a master’s or Doctoral degree. Dietitians apply the science of nutrition to promote health, treat and prevent malnutrition and provide therapeutic dietary guidelines for patients, clients and the public in health and illness.
The titles “Registered Dietitian” and “Dietitian” are protected by law in many countries including Ireland, UK and USA, so that only qualified practitioners who have met the required education qualifications and continue to maintain their knowledge and skills through continuing professional development, can use those titles. In Australia, the equivalent is “Accredited Practising Dietitian”. CORU is responsible for regulation of health and social care professions under the Health and Social Care Professional’s Act, 2005, in Ireland. Dietitians in Ireland are held accountable for their conduct and the care they provide both through the regulation process and also through membership of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (INDI). All members of the INDI are bound to comply with the code of ethics and professional practice.
The term Nutritionist is not protected by law so people with different levels of training and knowledge can call themselves a “Nutritionist”.