Dietitian or a Nutritionist
There are numbers of different levels of training and qualifications that can make one call themselves a nutrition expert. In Australia, this is all because the government has not regulated a specific professional nutritional practice, and there is not a legal protection over the terms Nutritionist or Dietitian.
Anyone can call themselves like that, without ever having to get the proper level of training. This is unfortunately, a situation that leads to the possibility of dis informing the public.
Dietitian or a Nutritionist
When you are seeking advice from a nutrition professional, it is very important for you to consult with anyone that has a credential which is provided and governed by the DAA (Dietitians Association of Australia) or NSA (Nutrition Society of Australia).
If you happen to be a student or just someone who wants to work in the field of nutrition in the future, it is of utmost importance to choose a course that can qualify you to apply for registration in one of the both mentioned organizations.
Nutrition Society of Australia – has voluntary nutritionist registry
In order to help supporting the field of nutrition, and further development of the field in the future, the Nutrition Society of Australia has developed a voluntary register for Nutritionists, who may have the status of Associated Nutritionist, Registered Nutritionist, or even Registered Public Health Nutritionist).
These are the nutritionists that can design, implement, coordinate and evaluate the range of the population health interventions in order to improve the health of individuals, communities, and the entire population as a whole, all through a good nutrition and better food.
You can find these nutritionists work in a different number of other similar roles, such as quality and nutrition coordinators; research, nutrition consultants and advisors; community development officers; food technologists, media spokespeople and so on.
The main purpose of the NSA Register is to create a protection for the public by establishing a list of qualified people, and with it, to distinguish those individuals who have received an approved level of training from those who have not received it. This is why the Register presents a source of information on all the suitable and qualified individuals for every person that seeks advice on nutrition or is offering a job position in the field of nutrition.
Furthermore, what this Register does is it promotes a professional development in the field of nutrition, creates more formal links between stakeholders and registrants and tends to promote a wider appreciation of the roles which are fulfilled by the Registered Nutritionists of any kind.
Those who choose to register with the NSA can have a wide range of qualifications, everything from a Bachelor Degree that majors in nutrition, to postgraduate degree, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Masters degree or even PhD that specializes in nutrition.
There is literally no course that will guarantee you registration. Unfortunately, currently there are still no Medicare health fundings for the clients of Nutritionists, and only a limited private health insurance funds are given to Nutritionists, with aa very small proportion of private health insurers.
Dietitians Association of Australia – an accredited practicing dietitian
This association has created credentialing systems for the credentials APD (Accredited Practicing Dietitian) and for the formerly known AN (Accredited Nutritionist) which were protected by the law, and only those who met the qualification rankings could use these titles.
In order for you to become an APD, you must first complete a tertiary level course which has been accredited by the DAA. Depending on the university of course, these courses may vary, and some of them might even include a one or two year post-graduate Diploma or Masters degree following a Bachelor of Science degree (here physiology and biochemistry included), or a four year undergraduate integrated course.
All of these courses cover nutrition, health, food and diet-related medical conditions, as well as skills in counseling, communication, health promotion, education, research, management and critical analysis of literature. You can go to the DAA website to find a list of the accredited courses.
Those who obtain a title of APD are tertiary qualified in nutrition, food and dietetics. They will provide you with an excellent expert nutrition advice, no matter your age, and can prescribe dietary treatments for variety of conditions such as diabetes, cancers, food allergies, overweight, obesity and gastrointestinal diseases.
These people work in hospitals, government, private practices, in research and teaching, community nutrition and public health, medical and food nutrition industries, as well as nutrition communications and marketing. All of the APDs can use the AN credential, because a part of their job is human nutrition too, and the APDs have undertaken courses where a supervised and assessed professional practice in public health nutrition was included, as well as food service management and medical nutrition therapy.
The Accredited Practicing Dietitian is the only credential that is recognized by Medicare, the Australian Government, the Department of Veterans Affairs and most of the private health funds. They are committed to the DAA and they are continuing a professional development, thus providing quality services.
If yu want to checkout the registered of the APDs visit the DAA website. The status of APD is annually reviewed by the DAA.
The Accredited Nutritionists
The AN program created by the DAA is complete with a suitable tertiary education and expertise in the public health nutrition, general nutrition education and community health. But, even though the ANs have a wide field of expertise in these nutrition services, they are still different from the APDs because they are not qualified to provide a therapy based on medical nutrition, which does include an individual or a group dietary intervention.
The ANs who do not have a dietetics qualification cannot take the specialized role of a Dietitian. This is all because being an ANs does not require group or individual training of nutrition therapy.