How to work as a dietitian-nutritionist abroad

Have you ever considered working as a Nutritionist Dietitian in another country?

Do you have doubts about the steps to follow, or how to start from scratch?

A long time ago I asked myself these questions too and finally made the decision to try it.

Since then 12 years have passed and some of you have contacted me to obtain some information regarding the process, others to inform me that you are abandoning it due to its difficulty.

I hope this article motivates you to move forward with your decision and that it highlights other equally valid alternatives.

4 points to keep in mind to work as a dietician in the UK


Work as a Dietitian in the UK

Emigrating is not easy, we know. And more to a country where your language and culture are not the same. You go with the objective of working on what you have studied for. Like all change, it requires a time of mentalization and preparation. Once in the country, you will need to adapt and become familiar, also with food and eating habits, if what you want is to work as a Dietitian.

Keeping your goal in mind (working in public institutions, hospitals, primary care ) will keep you on track to achieve your dream.

4 points to keep in mind to work in the UK

one . Be registered with the HCPC

These are the initials of the official body that governs different health professions in the United Kingdom, Health and Care Profession Council , which includes the profession of Dietitian . The differentiation between Dietitians and Nutritionists must be taken into account, since in the United Kingdom they are different terms. Only diplomas and degrees in Human Nutrition and Dietetics have a place in the process .

two . Be consistent with your request

It can be an arduous process but not impossible, my advice , download the application from the website and try to familiarize yourself with the paperwork and get the information they ask for before coming to the UK .

The document consists of 47 pages. The first 24 are information to document and the rest are support information.

Language, degree translated into English and references, are the most complex parts according to some of you. However, if you claim that you have experience as a Dietitian in your home country , you will be asked to develop a clinical case to demonstrate your professional skills and standards .

To answer these questions well, the documentation included in the following link can be very useful .

If you are among those who do not have professional experience , or who have recently finished their studies, you should use the tutored stays or other experience during the career that is transferable . Keep in mind that every Dietitian in the UK will have to register with the HCPC before practicing and therefore it is not a question of proving evidence of your practice, but of your knowledge, skills and professional standards even before practicing.

3 . Ask for help

The HCPC has contact numbers and emails for questions and advice. This is very useful if you are outside the UK. If your request is denied, they will send you feedback explaining the reasons and guiding you through the process. Its headquarters are in London and you can always make an appointment for a consultation if you are already in the country.

Do not limit yourself and think that there are other options . Some Dietitian has told me that they do not feel supported as they would like. In any case, not giving up is the key attitude in the process and the reward will be worth it.

Four . Other related jobs

Your idea may be to go first and once there start, or continue with your request. In that case there are other options.

  • Dietetic Helpers

Within the British Health Service (NHS) there is the figure of the Dietetic Assistant. These positions are filled in many cases by nutritionists, dietetics students, or anyone with a special interest in nutrition.

It is the most desired option for many dietitians who have not yet managed to register with the HCPC. In the following link you can access more information

  • Volunteering / work experience

Volunteering and unpaid work experience are valued in the UK, and even facilitated wherever possible. Do not hesitate to contact hospitals or organizations where Dietitians work and tell them your story, in order to gain experience while obtaining your registered number. This is something that you can combine with any paid job.

In the following link you can see the addresses and contact forms of different NHS Trusts that will take you to their web pages and from there to the Nutrition and Dietetics Departments

In any circumstance, both options are a great opportunity to start your career as a Dietitian in the UK, familiarize yourself with the job and gain experience for your potential Dietitian interviews in the future.

England is expensive

And more if your destination is London. There are many pages and blogs where they explain exactly the job search processes, accommodation and other factors to take into account when you emigrate to the country.

One of the benefits of working for the NHS is accommodation . In the UK there are flats for public sector workers , including the NHS. They are generally cheaper than the rest of the rentals, the expenses are included and usually located near your workstation .

They vary a lot depending on the area, but it is an easy and fast way to have accommodation especially at the beginning.

In summary

Becoming a Registered Dietitian gives you the right to practice as a Dietitian in the UK . It is an expensive process and requires time and perseverance . Having clear ideas and knowledge of what is needed will make the path easier but not shorter. Think that there are other jobs, such as Dietetic Assistant and volunteering. They will help you gain experience in your profession while you get your registration number. The application and interview process requires your own space to which we will dedicate your time in future articles.

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