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how to become a registered dieticain

It’s been my dream for a while now to become a registered dietician although I’m not sure I fully recognised how much I wanted to do it until I took a workshop with Lululemon in January 2014 where we had to envisage ourselves 5 years and 10 years from now. Then work backwards to the present day to work out how we were going to get there.

I saw myself in a warm kitchen in a nice town near a body of water, just back from a run, fixing myself a healthy breakfast before going to work. A work that I loved that involved teaching people about food and getting the most from it. A job that helped people become healthier and happier.

I wanted to become a nutritionist.

However the more research I did, I discovered that you don’t have to have a degree to be a nutritionist, in fact many online courses gave you the right to call yourself a nutritionist without a huge amount of proper training. This sounded sort of great except for the fact that I didn’t want to limit myself- I wanted the option of working in a hospital or with athletes to enhance their performance naturally, which you can’t (as far as I am aware) do without an accredited degree. I didn’t want to cut myself off by not having the right qualifications. So I started researching dietetics and speaking with those that I knew already working in the field.

It soon became clear that to become a Registered Dietician I would need to study chemistry and biology before I could even apply for a place on one of the respected dietetics courses. I had been recommended the Certificate of Higher Education in a Life Sciences for Subjects allied to Medicine by a friend and sent an application in March. I had an interview in May and enrolled to start the year long evening course in September (the day after the Berlin marathon).

how to become a registered dieticain

how to become a registered dietician

I’m a few weeks in to the course and it is heavy going. The twice weekly 3 hour classes are fast paced with plenty of homework and extra reading. Our labs remind me of why I dropped chemistry aged 15 in favour of humanities subjects. But I will keep working to achieve my goals.

I’ve been revising this week for a quiz as well as writing up my chemistry practical to hand in. My social life has already taken a hit but I’m hoping to find a balance between work, study, blogging, exercise and seeing friends (those with relevant science skills may be seen a little more often!!)

It’s going to be tough but anything worth having is worth working for.

If you could study again, what would it be for? Is there anything you really want to do/learn? Do you have any advice for studying as a mature student? (that makes me feel old!!)

how to become a registered dieticain


  1. October 23, 2014 / 8:42 am

    Congratulations!! I didn’t realize classes already started. I’m so excited for you and this new journey! You’ll rock it and it will all be worth it in a few short months and years!

    • charlotte
      October 24, 2014 / 6:29 pm

      Thank you lovely!

  2. October 23, 2014 / 8:49 am

    Wow, good luck Charlie! What a big step, but I’m sure it will be worth it! I remember finding Chemistry A-Level a killer until it all suddenly clicked into place, which I’m sure it will! I’m the opposite to you and gave up the humanities path to study medicine, which although I love, sometimes leaves me wanting to pursue a more creative path… Once my post grad exams are all done (it never seems to end) I’m going to enrol on an online journalism course and perhaps a creative writing course. I also had to give up studying Italian (my husband is Italian) due to work commitments, so when things calm down, I’ll be starting that again too. GOOD LUCK!

    • charlotte
      October 24, 2014 / 6:29 pm

      Thank you! Fingers crossed it all fits into place for me too then. Ooh an online journalism course would be great.

  3. October 23, 2014 / 9:02 am

    so exciting! I got my bachelor’s in nutrition, exercise & health and am a registered nutritionist, but like you say there’s not a lot other people can call themselves the same. I’ve really struggled with finding a job as a nutritionist and looking back regret not going on to the dietetics course instead, so I’m currently in the process of writing my personal statement to apply for my masters to be a dietitian! Unfortunately only King’s College and London Met offer the courses in London and since it is funded by the NHS it’s also very competitive to even get a place on the course, so we shall see!!

    • charlotte
      October 24, 2014 / 6:27 pm

      That is so interesting to hear, and a little worrying. I think I’ll apply to uni this year even though I was planning on taking a year off studying next year, might as well give it a try!

  4. October 23, 2014 / 9:58 am

    What a great goal Charlie, and I envy you a little knowing exactly what you want to do- I’m still trying to figure it out! The course sounds challenging, but so exciting too! Good luck 🙂 x

    • charlotte
      October 24, 2014 / 6:26 pm

      You’ll find it out or work it out eventually!

  5. October 23, 2014 / 12:40 pm

    How are you finding the balance between work and studying? I’m thinking about becoming a PT (a bit of a career change from Civil Engineering) but it will involve a lot of studying in the evenings/weekends while holding down a full-time job. What with a partner & children……it’s a little daunting. Is it something you would recommend doing…..any advice????

  6. October 23, 2014 / 2:39 pm

    That’s a huge deal. Congratulations on taking this step!!

    • charlotte
      October 24, 2014 / 6:25 pm

      Thank you! It’ll be tough but worth it.

  7. October 23, 2014 / 5:05 pm

    Very exciting! I started studying naturopathic nutrition last year also part time, I’m working part time so I manage to fit everything in! My first year was biomedical science, and I don’t come from a science background so I found it tough, but did enjoy it. I’ve just had two biochemistry lectures in what is now year 2 which have completely lost me ha! Going to have to study hard to get my head around it! Good luck with the studies!

    • charlotte
      October 24, 2014 / 6:25 pm

      Working part time is a good idea, I wish I could do that at the moment. Can we chat about this next time I see you?

  8. October 24, 2014 / 12:10 pm

    I started my Bachelors at 24 and I am still studying at Masters level at 28..! Being a mature student is easier in some ways (you’re much more balanced and don’t feel the need to go out partying every night) but much harder in other ways. I have had to juggle my responsibilities, like running a home, working, looking after parents, and REALLY manage my time down to the very last second. So that would be my tip – plan, plan, and plan more. When you have a spare day in your diary WRITE IN that you’re going to study.

    Above all, enjoy it. Being a mature student is great because you have made a choice to do something that firstly you love and secondly you know exactly why you’re doing it. Though I stopped biology at GCSE I did chemistry at A-level and loved it – especially organic – so hit me up if you’re stuck. Though I can’t guarantee I’ll still have the knowledge in my brain, I should be able to find the information somewhere!

    • charlotte
      October 24, 2014 / 6:24 pm

      Such a good plan, I do need to schedule in my studying at the beginning of the week in the same way I do with exercise! Thank you for the offer of help, I may need to take you up on it.

  9. Andrea
    October 24, 2014 / 6:34 pm

    Good for you!! Not sure what I would go back to school for at this point but some changes are coming with my current job so maybe I should be thinking about that?

  10. kit
    October 24, 2014 / 8:23 pm

    How cool – what course are you doing exactly? A pre-req style class/access course in order to be eligible to apply? I ask because I know the UK has a different structure to the US in terms of studying (I’m a Brit in the US) It seems it is so much easier here to pick up classes you may not have done in Uni in order to apply for a Masters/Doctorate in a completely unrelated field to your undergrad! I haven’t lived in the UK for almost 10 years and have always been annoyed by the lack of options for career changers. I looked into becoming a Dietician and I remember Kings telling me I’d have to re-do A-Levels, an undergrad etc etc…whereas here I did pre-reqs and got my MPH within a much shorter timeframe. A friend of mine is a psychologist with an undergrad in Drama?!? Anyway! This is long-winded…I’m an ex-teacher so seeing this kind of flexibility with learning/training/education back home is great. Good for you!

    • charlotte
      October 24, 2014 / 9:05 pm

      Wow I’ll have to look it up as I would love to study in the US! would you mind if I sent you an email about it?

  11. October 25, 2014 / 11:47 am

    Well done! I know that it is tough to start studying again but it will be so worth it in the end! It’s never too late to chase that dream of yours. I certainly don’t regret my decision to go back to Uni to study medicine! Give me a shout if you need help with some of the biology.

  12. kit
    October 25, 2014 / 5:09 pm

    @charlotte – absolutely!

  13. October 27, 2014 / 8:46 am

    Hey – I too have just started studying again! I’m doing the same course as Lauren but have literally just started (first lectures this weekend!). It’s pretty full on and especially with working full-time too, but it’s SO interesting! Let me know if you want to chat about studying again, and in particular studying nutrition – happy to chat, I asked so many people about it before I took the plunge!

    • charlotte
      October 29, 2014 / 9:30 am

      Thank you so so much, will defo take you up on that! Are you in London? perhaps we could meet for a coffee/juice!

      • October 30, 2014 / 10:16 am

        I’m not based in London but that’s where my course is so I’ll be in town a fair bit! I’m around on 15th Nov for a friend’s bday lunch so if you were free that day we could meet for a coffee in the morning or later afternoon? Otherwise I’ll be there on 22nd/23rd for my course. Would be lovely to meet and chat nutrition! (Feel free to DM me on Facebook or Twitter 🙂 ).

  14. October 27, 2014 / 1:24 pm

    I also attended Aoife’s Goals Workshop back in Jan.

    From the new year I’ll be studying a Science Access Course at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition to then enrol on a Nutritional Therapy Diploma course. A long 3-4 years of study it will be, but whats 3 years compared to my entire life 🙂

    Good luck with your course!


    • charlotte
      October 29, 2014 / 9:29 am

      That’s awesome news, and completely agree with hard work now will pay off later!

  15. October 28, 2014 / 7:27 pm

    I am also going back to school for dietetics and it is incredibly intimidating being a more mature student and not loving the sciences. That being said, I have really enjoyed chemistry much more than I did when I was 18.

    • charlotte
      October 29, 2014 / 9:26 am

      That’s great, we’ll have to compare notes!

  16. October 29, 2014 / 8:26 pm

    I’ve only just seen this- how exciting, and congratulations on making such a big leap! I promise, the science will start to fall into place, if you just keep up with the notes and the reading- it DOES get easier! If you need any help with anatomy or physiology just give me a shout, and I’ll try and help. Mindmaps and coloured pens are your friends!

    Good luck xx

  17. Clare F
    December 8, 2014 / 1:34 pm

    Really liked this post, great you have taken the plunge and making the change!
    So next year, I will be making a big career change, and going to start to train as a primary school teacher! It’s exciting but also a huge change, not just on the work but also salary wise especially as I have a young family. But it’s true what you say, if it’s worth doing, have to work for it and some things will be sacrificed!
    Nice to know other people out there making changes and making it work! Good luck!

  18. March 2, 2015 / 4:29 pm

    Thanks for directing me to this post – how incredibly exciting this is but how very difficult your questions are! Mine are much easier, you should try pre-school teaching 🙂 I’ve actually found that it’s easier to study as a ‘mature student’. I have so much more drive and commitment than my degree (and I LOVED my degree and worked my socks off). I can see the difference between me and the younger guys straight out of high school. It’s been really encouraging. The challenge is fitting all the work in with my other commitments – and fitting running around that. I’ve stopped training for 1/2marathons and am training for 10k’s instead to reduce the pressure of that long run! Anyway…good luck.

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