Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be regulated by law, and are governed by an ethical code to ensure that they always work to the highest standards. In addition, the title ‘dietitian’ is the only food and nutrition title that is protected by law.
ALL dietitians are regulated by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). The HCPC exists to protect the public. They publish a register of dietitians and other health professionals who meet their standards. Only those on the Register can call themselves dietitians.
You can find out details of all dietitians who currently practise in the UK by visiting the HCPC website and checking its register.
If you see an unregistered person claiming to be a dietitian, please get in touch with the HCPC.
Some of you may have seen a course recently advertised on various discount sites for £29, claiming to provide a qualification called Certified Dietitian Practitioner. Please rest assured that we have promptly contacted the company directly to correct this. We have also contacted the HCPC and Advertising Standards Authority to take legal action if necessary.
Whenever we become aware that the title ‘Dietitian’ is being misused, we will endeavour to take appropriate action to protect this title. Unfortunately we are unable to address all similar adverts which promote nutrition/nutrition therapist courses and services which claim to be bona fide but which we know are based upon pseudoscience and perceived evidence base. At last look, an online search revealed 1000’s of nutrition courses alone, offering a variety of diplomas and certificates, many being achieved within a couple of days! As you can understand, the title ‘nutritionist’ is not protected, it would be a misuse of BDA time to pursue every nutrition course out there.
However, if there is one message that will protect the public from “bad science”, it will be to advise service users to “check your health professional is registered with the HCPC or UK voluntary register for nutritionists.”
The only route to become a dietitian is through degree level education, which is three to four years long. Additionally, some take a postgraduate Master’s degree in order to become a dietitian. To find out more about becoming a dietitian, visit our Careers Page.