How to Become a Nutritionist or Dietitian in India

Passionate about health and food? A career in nutrition and dietetics could be just for you! From qualifications to job searching, here’s how to become a nutritionist or dietitian in India.


1. Role of Dietitians & Nutritionists in India

Nutritionists are basically food and diet counsellors. They help people maintain optimal health by giving them advice about nutrition, food consumption, making diet plans and advising dietary supplements. Their goal is that their patients or clients eat a balanced diet, either in a hospital, gym, wellness spa or through individual counseling.

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 Difference between a Nutritionist or Dietitian
1.2 Is Nutrition and Dietetics a Good Career
2.1 Courses Taken
2.2 Entrance Exams
2.3 Academic Qualifications/ Options
2.4 License Required
2.5 Internship/ Work Experience Required
2.6 Cost of Tuition and Training
2.7 Competition
2.8 General Age to Start Professional Career for Nutritionists or Dietitians
2.9 Governing Bodies
3.1 Specializations/ Sub-Professions
3.2 Companies & Institutions That Employ Nutritionists or Dietitians
3.3 Growth Prospects
3.4 Entrepreneurship Opportunities
3.5 Salary Range
4.1 Top Universities in India
4.2 Top Universities in World
4.3 Famous Personalities
4.4 Useful Links

1.1 Difference between a Nutritionist or Dietitian

While nutritionist and dietitian are very similar professionals, there is a slight difference between these two food & diet experts. First of, anyone who offers nutritional advice on a professional basis can be called a professional nutritionist. To be called a certified nutritionist, they need to have a certification from Clinical Nutrition Certification (CNC) board.

For becoming a dietitian, one needs to have the required academic qualifications (degree) and pass an exam to get registered. That makes them a registered dietitian (RD). This is required by most hospitals.

dietitian job description role of nutritionist in hospital

1.2 Is Nutrition and Dietetics a Good Career

Currently, the opportunities in nutrition and dietetics are endless, both in India and abroad. With changing lifestyle and dietary habits of people, and an increase in health conscious public, there is a huge demand for diet and health experts. If you are open to exploring new and available job options, this can certainly be a good career.

2. How to Become a Nutritionist or Dietitian

2.1.1 Courses Taken at School

Physics, chemistry, biology (science stream), computer science, English, local language also preferred.

Most universities require science stream with biology for admission, although you may be eligible for some universities with other streams. Some universities may also accept botany/ computer science/ biochemistry as a subject in 11th or 12th instead of biology.

Lastly, knowing the local language is very important, especially if you’re looking to work at a hospital, because you’ll be required to give one-on-one counselling to patients in their native language.

how to become a nutritionist chemistry

2.1.2 Courses Taken at College

Here are some of the courses taken in college for B.Sc.

Nutrition and Dietetics, Food Technology, Food Science, Human Physiology, Public Health and Nutrition, Nutritional Biochemistry, Food Microbiology, Family Meal Planning 

2.2 Entrance Exams

For some universities, yes.

Some universities look for cut-off percentage in 12th, and others have internal qualifying exam or admission test.

2.3.1 Academic Qualifications/ Degree Required

Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Nutrition & Dietetics

3 or 4 year B.Sc. degree is required to become a certified nutritionist or a registered dietitian.

2.3.2 Post-Graduate Degree Requirements/ Options

M.Sc., M.Phil. and Ph.D

M.Sc. Nutrition And Dietetics, Food and Human Nutrition MPhil, Ph.D are some of the postgraduate study options. To become a registered dietitian, one needs a PG diploma or master’s degree in Nutrition & Dietetics, as a full-time program.

nutritionist job description role of dietitian in hospital

2.4 License Required

Yes, for certain jobs and private practice.

If you want to open your own clinic, you need to get yourself registered as a registered dietitian (RD). RDs are the qualified experts when it comes to this profession, and their advice is the most credible. Registration is also required for some jobs, such as in hospitals.

To get registered, one needs to have a B.Sc and M.Sc or PG diploma in Nutrition & Dietetics, as a full-time program (see 4.3), a 6-month internship (see 4.5) and pass in RD board exam. This gives a registration by the RD board and RD number under Indian Dietetic Association.

2.5 Internship/ Work Experience Required


Internship is a part of the B.Sc program in Nutrition & Dietetics, which is done in the final (6th) semester. For example, I did my internship at Asian Institute of Medical Sciences.

Additionally, a 6 month-long internship in IDA approved hospital is also required to be eligible for taking the exam for registered dietitian (RD).

2.6 Cost of Tuition and Training

For B.Sc., the average college tuition is ₹2-5 lacs, depending on college, not including hostel fees. For B.Sc and M.Sc, the total expense, excluding hostel, would be about ₹8 lacs approximately.

2.7 Competition

Highly competitive.

For science stream students, a program in Nutrition & Dietetics is highly sought after, especially those who don’t go for M.B.B.S. That is the reason for its high competition, especially for top colleges. It’s important to plan early and get a good percentage in 12th so you are eligible for the top colleges.

how much does it cost to become a certified nutritionist

2.8 General Age to Start Professional Career for Nutritionists & Dietitians


2.9 Governing Bodies

Indian Dietetic Association in India
Center for Nutrition and Dietetics Studies (CNDS)

3. Professional Opportunities/ Career Growth for Nutritionists & Dietitians

3.1 Specializations/ Sub-Professions

Clinical nutritionist
Nutrition researcher or food scientist
Therapeutic dietitian
Weight-loss coach
Pediatric dietitian
Sports dietitian
Regulatory affairs specialist
Food labeling specialist
Food safety auditor
Public health nutritionist
Nutrition writer, journalist or influencer.

how to become a nutritionist in india

3.2 Companies & Institutions that Employ Nutritionists or Dietitians

All hospitals across the world, such as AIIMS, Fortis, Dr. Batra’s etc. are the top employers of nutritionists or dietitians. Secondly, fitness and wellness centers like Cure Fit, Gold’s Gym, Talwalkars Gym, Fitness First and VLCC employ them.

Government institutes such as Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Central Food Technological Research Institute (CSIR) or Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT).

Hotels such as Hyatt or Taj are also some of the employers of nutritionists. Skincare clinics such as Oliva Skin and Hair Clinic. Food or FMCG brands such as Kellogg’s or Colgate-Palmolive are also options to consider. Similarly, even corporates like Accenture have nutritionists on board as corporate nutritionists.

Last but not the least, the air force, army and navy also employ dietitians.

3.3 Growth Prospects

In the corporate heirarchy, you can be promoted to become Senior Fitness Manager at a firm, Senior Nutritionist or Dietitian at a Hospital.

It is also possible to extend the reach of your knowledge and experience through public health by becoming a community dietitian or food regulations expert or food safety auditor. A lot of experienced dietitians also start their own consultancy or clinic.

role of nutritionist and dietitians role of dietitian in india

3.4 Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Yes. You can become self-employed, start your own clinic or health center, where you can provide one-on-one consultancy to clients, patients. Alternatively, you could devise a health product, or health tech application, VLCC is a good example.

3.5 Salary Range

₹3-5 per annum is the approximate salary range for college graduates who work at fitness clubs or health departments. The salaries may be more in starred hotels or restaurants.

4. Further Resources

4.1 Top Universities in India

Institute of Home Economics, University of Delhi
J.D. Birla Institute, Kolkata
National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad
University of Madras
University of Mumbai
Manav Rachna International University
Amity University

4.2 Top Universities in World

Cornell University
University of California, Davis
University of Texas, Austin
University of Wisconsin, Madison
University of Illinois
University of Washington
Purdue University
Tufts University

4.3 Famous Personalities

Michael Greger
Neal Barnard
Caldwell Esselstyn
John A. McDougall

4.4 Useful Links

Center for Nutrition and Dietetics Studies (CNDS)
Indian Dietetic Association

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