Nutrition and Dietetics in Nigeria | work & career opportunities

One of the most under-rated and most misunderstood course in Nigeria is Nutrition and Dietetics.

So if you want to know whether Nutrition and Dietetics is a good career in Nigeria, yes it is!

In actual fact, it is one of the most profitable courses in Nigeria. You should read the foregoing sentence again.

This stem from the widespread misconception in Nigeria that nutrition and dietetics is all about “cooking”.

Nutrition and Dietetics is NOT all about cooking.

Yes, “a bit” of it is in cooking for supervision of food processes in order to ensure food safety.

But, what Human Nutrition and Dietetics entails is way more than that as you will realize at the end of this post.

What is Nutrition and Dietetics about?

Nutrition and Dietetics is the application of the science of nutrition to the prevention and treatment of diseases. And as well promote good health through dietary measures.

Studying Human Nutrition and Dietetics will equip you with the necessary skills to become a Registered Dietitian (RD) in Nigeria.

Which is the only qualified health professional that can assess, diagnose and treat nutrition-related problems of individuals or a target population.

You will learn how food intake and nutrient requirements can be altered by illness, and how to apply therapeutic diets to treat various disease conditions.

On completion of the four-year academic programme in the university, you are required to proceed on the mandatory one-year internship at a teaching hospital to enable you become a Registered Dietitian (RD).

Or a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN) as the case may be.

You see, Human Nutrition and Dietetics is not all about cooking.

It is a broad, practical, yet interesting, field that helps you positively affect the lives of many people.

Particularly in prevention and treatment of diseases, though, with the application of dietary measures.

In Nigeria, the department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics is domiciled in the Medical college of most universities. While it is in the Faculty of Agriculture in some.

This bares little meaning on the medical implication of this unique field.

Career opportunities in Human Nutrition and Dietetics

The direction your career takes will depend on your individual interest.

Most graduates of Human Nutrition and Dietetics in Nigeria seek employment in the hospital. So they can specialize in areas such as;

  • Child nutrition;
  • Community health;
  • Internal medicine;
  • Sports nutrition;
  • Nutritional support (enteral and parental nutrition) and
  • Advanced patient care.

While others move into;

  • Private practice;
  • Research;
  • Voluntary and non-governmental organization;
  • Nutrition counselling and
  • The food industry.

This blog contains five (5) career options for graduates of Nutrition and Dietetics in Nigeria. That’s in addition to the other career options already mentioned.

I have no doubt you will realize Human Nutrition and Dietetics is way beyond what you ever thought.

6 things you can do with a degree/higher diploma in Nutrition and Dietetics

Below are work opportunities for graduates of Nutrition and Dietetics in Nigeria.

1. Private Practice

Once you are a Registered Dietitian (RD) or Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN), you now have a licence.

You can practice independently with individual patients, or target group / population in your area of specialization. You will assess, diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems.

Most common diet-related diseases such as stroke, obesity, diabetes, chronic heart diseases, ischaemia and other diseases require consistent management and monitoring.

Related: Tips to prevent diabetes, hepatitis, high blood pressure

A Dietitian comes in handy wherever these medications are.

You could work with people who have an eating disorder, HIV, digestive problems, food allergy, want to lose weight, need to put on weight perhaps after an illness or condition.

And, people who want to improve their sports performance.

As a Registered Dietitian (RD) on practicing independently. You use your knowledge of food to help your clients make the right decisions about food.

Especially, what to eat and how not to eat, which play a major role in the overall health and well being of individuals.

What is the difference between a Nutritionist and a Dietitian?

Nutritionists are food experts that ensure the food we consume contain the right amount of nutrients we need. While Dietitians are health professionals that apply nutrition knowledge to treat sickness and diseases.

If you observed, you would notice I mentioned Dietitian more often as it involves going into private practice.

It is important to mention that a Dietitian is also a Nutritionist but a Nutritionist is not a Dietitian.

Dietitians and nutritionists have slightly different training, although perform similar roles.

Hang on.

And, they’re regulated by different professional bodies (Nutrition Society of Nigeria, and Dietetics Association of Nigeria).

However, a Registered Dietitian has comprehensive knowledge and licence required for private medical practice.

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When you meet a Dietitian in the hospital, politely ask them if they’re Nutritionist OR if Nutritionists are Dietitians.

This is not to belittle any one of the two. Far from it! This is just to say a Nutritionist and Dietitians are professions that receive almost the same training.

The only difference being the one-year internship at a health facility that those interested in being Registered Dietitians undergo.

Whereas those with long term interests to be Nutritionist don’t have to do the one year internship. And as a result, they perform distinct roles.

That is why only a Dietitian is qualified for a private practice in Medical Nutrition Therapy.

Hope it’s clearer!

Who is you become is always yours to decide at the end of the day. A Nutritionist or a Dietitian.

Related: List of Hospitals for IT/Internship in Human Nutrition & Dietetics

2. Community Health

Community health nutritionists work mainly in educating individuals and target groups / population in communities, villages, and urban areas.

They educated them on food choices, nutrition, health and disease relationship all to ensure members of the community have better health.

Here, you will have a lot of contact with the public. Reason why a good knowledge of sociology is vital for nutritionists.

Dietitians in community settings help in policy making to shape nutritional advice and guidelines for communities. In doing this, you may also work with other agencies such as schools, voluntary organisations, and the military.

You will inform and teach the public and other health professionals about diet and nutrition.

Your aim as a Registered Dietitian (RD) is to promote good health and prevent diseases in individuals and communities.

You could as well be leading a team of Dietitians and Nutritionists providing advice on nutrition to government for policy making.

3. Hospital Practice

Registered Dietitians (RD) work in the hospital and form part of the health care team (physicians and other health professionals) in ward rounds in clinics.

You may work with health care professionals such as nurses, as well as supervise the work of Dietetic Technicians in the Dietetics unit / department of the hospital.

You will educate out-patients such as pregnant and lactating women about exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, child nutrition and other crucial areas for healthy child development.

See also: How to start life as a graduate in Nigeria

As well as assess, diagnose, and treat diet-related diseases or conditions of in-patients in conjunction with other health professionals.

Really much. Right? I guess.

You will work with and educate people who need special diets as part of their treatment.

These include patients with hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, liver and kidney disorders, pregnant and lactating women, burnt patients, post surgery, eating disorders, or digestive problems.

4. Research and Academia

Within research and academia, your career path is likely going to be similar to that of other research scientists.

You could work in public and private higher institutions of learning as a lecturer, research assistant / executive or work at a senior level in the university.

Many Nutritionists and Dietitians are currently lecturers in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.

See also: How to get a fully funded scholarship abroad in 6 steps

5. Industry/Company

Along industry lines, Nutritionists are very useful in organizations such a NAFDAC, pharmaceutical companies, manufacturing companies (food and beverages).

They regulate food and drug contents, check for allergies and intolerance on the human system, drug-nutrient interaction, as well as several other functions.

Registered Nutritionists are at the heart of these organizations.

6. Start your own business

One of the things that make Nutrition and Dietetics such a unique field is the opportunities it presents in doing your own thing – Business.

With your experience, you may want to set up your own business and work on a consultancy basis with the government or industries.

Opportunities abound in setting up businesses such as Food industries, cafeterias and malls, fast foods and supermarkets.

Guess what?

They are all within the confines of your field of study.

Better still, you could branch out and delve into other areas of business with your managerial skills impacted during the course of your training.

See also: How to register a business name in Nigeria | easy steps

Round up…In a nutshell.

What are the career options for graduates of Nutrition and Dietetics?

Graduates of Nutrition and Dietetics in Nigeria have the following career opportunities:

  1. Private practice.
  2. Community health.
  3. Hospital practice.
  4. Research and Academia.
  5. Industry/Company.
  6. Start your own business.

The variety of what to do and where to work makes Nutrition and Dietetics a 21st century profession.

Does Nutrition and Dietetics have professional association?

The Association of Nigerian Dietitians – AND (formerly called Nigerian Dietetics Association – NDA/Dietitians Association of Nigeria – DAN) and Nutrition Society of Nigeria – NSN are both responsible for the regulation of Nutrition and Dietetics practice in Nigeria.

Is there induction for Nutrition and Dietetics graduates?

On completing undergraduate degree, graduates of Nutrition and Dietetics are inducted into the Nutrition and Dietetics profession by the relevant professional bodies.

One, if you register with the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) after finishing school you will be inducted as a full member of the Nutrition Society.

Two, after your Dietetics internship, you are expected to write the Test of Professional Competence (TOPCE). If you are successful in the exam, you will be registered as a Dietitian and inducted at the same occasion.

Nutrition and Dietetics induction is usually done at the annual conference of the Dietetics association, unless there’s no conference for a particular year. Though it rarely happens.

And in other cases, if there are many newly graduated/completed interns waiting for TOPCE and registration.

Also check out these 6 things you should do before finishing school.

How much is the salary of a Nutritionist in Nigeria?

That depends ‘entirely’ on where you’re working.

Although consumer goods manufacturing companies, as well as drug producing companies pay Nutritionist very well.

How much is the salary of a Dietitian in Nigeria?

That depends on the hospital you’re working, whether government or private.

Also, it depends on the level you’re, whether you’re just starting as a fresh graduate or not. Most Dietitians in the hospital receive up to hundred and eighty thousand per month.

But then, one can’t specify how much they get in private practice cause Dietitians often have rich clients.

So they make a lot of money, particularly those into private practice as Registered Dietitians.

Can a person who study Nutrition and Dietetics go for hospital practice like other medical courses in Nigeria?

A graduate of Nutrition and Dietetics can practice in the hospital as a Dietitian on completion of the one-year internship.

Is Nutrition and Dietetics a professional course?

Nutrition and Dietetics is one of the professional courses in Nigeria.

Entry requirements to study Nutrition and Dietetics in Nigeria

Applicants who have the basic admission requirements at O’level are eligible for admission.

While Nutrition and Dietetics is a five years course in some universities, it’s a four (4) years course in most universities.

Those with Diploma in Nutrition and Dietetics or Registered Nurse certificate are eligible for admission into Nutrition and Dietetics through Direct entry.

O’level requirement:

You should have five (5) credits at O’level in English Language, Mathematics, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry at not more than two (2) sittings.

Related: List of universities offering Nutrition and Dietetics in Nigeria

UTME subjects:

JAMB subject combination for Nutrition and Dietetics are:

  • Biology.
  • Physics and
  • Chemistry.

Those entry requirements are in addition to a minimum UTME cut off mark determined by JAMB each year.

If for any reason you are not satisfied or don’t meet the entry requirements specified above, you might consider a Polytechnic or College of Health Technology.

You can also study online with a foreign university right from your room. Or you apply for a scholarship to study abroad. Education is is now at your doorsteps.

Diet – surely the best medicine!

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82 thoughts on “Nutrition and Dietetics in Nigeria | work & career opportunities

      1. University of maiduguri has started giving admission to Nutrition and dietetics department 2020/2021 session we are pioneers I need some guidance .

  1. Am a graduate of nutrition and dietetics how can I become a member of nigeria association of nutrition and dietetics.pls where in the north can I apply intership

  2. Hi Mr. Maxwell,

    This is really amazing. I saw from one of your responses that you are about to start your internship. I am also a graduate of Nutrition and Dietetics. Please I’d like your advice on how to start my own internship too as I have been having some issues with it. Thank you

    1. That’s great and congratulations there. First, you need to decide where you’d like to take your internship or if you’re open to taking it at any location. Thereafter, you start looking up this site for updates on openings.

      1. Hi Max
        Please I want to know is it possible to apply for direct entry to bsc human Nutrition and dietetics from BSC biochemistry

        If yes which school please
        Thanks

  3. Impressive… I would have stil go further to study nutrition and dietetics even without any job opportunities bcos of my natural love for food medicine. You’ve added up my morale and am loving it. Want to knw if u are a dietician?

    1. I’m happy to learn you found the blog helpful, really happy to know you’re motivated. I admire your passion, go for it. Yes, I’m about starting my internship.

  4. I am a biochemistry student and I want to further in Nutrition AMD detetics, how do I go about this, in order to become a registered dietician

  5. One of the best article have seen concerning a course am so so happy
    Please I want to study this course Nutrition and dietetics in Nasarawa state university.
    What is your advice on this sir

  6. Where can I start on my own in terms of business should I finish from the University and there’s no employment although I don’t pray for that to happen

  7. I so much want to study this course but my people refused to support me and I have also gotten admission on this course,am so helpless, they’re are forcing me to do what I do not want to do based on the kind of unemployment that is in Nigeria,I don’t know what to do about it

  8. Great article! I had a catchy read through the piece.
    Kindly, does university of Uyo accept 2019 JUPEB result of 14POINTS from another university into this program from 200 level, without placing a compulsory fee for admission?
    Thanks in anticipation!

    1. Its my pleasure. JUPEB is a recognized requirement for direct entry admission into University of Uyo. And there’s no fee for admission aside obtaining the UNIUYO direct entry form.

  9. Hi
    Good morning
    I have a B.sc ED in Home Economics, how do I go about becoming a nutrionist or a dietitian from there?

    1. It’s difficult being a dietitian without having a first degree in Nutrition and Dietetics because the academic requirement for one-year internship in dietetics at a teaching hospital is a B.Sc. Nutrition and Dietetics, after which one becomes a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist. However, you can become a Nutritionist with your B.Sc. (Ed) in Home Economics.

  10. Good day Mr Max. Thanks for this article. Please I have Bsc. Home Science and Management (2:1) and wants to do my masters in Human Nutrition and Dietetics, pls is it possible/achievable and how do I go about it?

    1. Yes, its possible, and it depends on the specific university you’re interested in doing the masters and how their postgraduate programmes are structured. However, becoming to Registered Dietitian is a different thing altogether.

  11. Hi, currently have a BSc in biochemistry and want to go for master in nutrition and dietetics…..pls do you know the school that offers this cause and how to go about it? Thanks

    1. University of Calabar offers Masters in Nutrition and Food Science since you already have a B.Sc in Biovhemistry. Other universities also offer masters in related fields concerning nutrition like that.

  12. I just got admitted in to the university to study human nutrition and dietetics…. felt so bad, because I thought the course was not a profitable one…..but after reading this article, I have a better idea and I’m ready to put in my very best.

    1. I’m happy to learn that. And that’s great, put it your best and you will sure profit from it because nutrition and dietetics is the present and future, especially knowing that almost all chronic diseases and health condition are diet-related.

    1. It can only be possible if you go back to school through direct entry to study Human Nutrition and Dietetics. After which, you do a one-year internship which will enable you become to Dietitian. If its something you’re willing to do, that’s the only path.

      1. Tega, it’s nice to know that my dear brother is the one I have been reading about. My daughter who is about entry SS 2 who all d while said she’s going for neurosurgery suddenly said she changed her mind that she wants to be a nutritionist, at first it almost bordered me but after reading your write up, i think I will encourage her. Pls can I get your phone number? I am Vincent Egbo. An urhobo man from Ughelli. Thanks. Mine is 08035159081

        1. I’m really happy to know that you found this content helpful. Nutrition and Dietetics is a great career path and I’m delighted you have decided to encourage your daughter to follow this discipline. 08179683487.

  13. Can I ve my bsc in human nutrition Nd ditectices and still go for my masters in any re medical course related to medicine

  14. Thank you, Max for this post.

    I have a BSc degree in Biochemistry and I intend doing a MSc in Nutrition. Can I be admitted into a dietetic internship programme after the MS studies? Thank you.
    P.S. It is MSc in Nutrition not MSc in Nutrition and Dietetics.

    1. No you can’t. The only academic requirement to proceed on one-year dietetics internship at recognized hospital is a B.Sc. in Nutrition and Dietetics. This is the only way to become a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN). However, an M.Sc. in Nutrition can enable you become a Nutritionist.

  15. Hi Max thanks for your update. I have BSc in Applied microbiology, how and what do I need to do to become a licensed RD

    1. You are welcome. You will need to go back to school through direct entry to study Nutrition and Dietetics. After which, you proceed on a one-year internship at a supervised health facility (especially a teaching hospital) to become a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN).

  16. Wow am very happy for your information, all I want to ask is that if some one go to college of health and used 3 years, if that person want to further more how many years he /she will use in university, and after that the person will do IT then one year service

    1. The person will enter through direct entry and start from 200 level, thereby spending 3 years in the university. And after that, do a one-year internship and youth service.

  17. Hi Tega. Thank you for this!
    For someone who has a BSc in Food Technology and is going for masters in Nutrition and Dietetics, will there still be need for one year internship before the person gets licensed as a registered dietitian?

  18. I’m glad to have stumbled upon this post. I have a BSc in Food Technology and planning to get an MSc in Nutrition and dietetics. To get licensed as a registered dietitian, will I still be required to do 1 year internship in a teaching hospital or do I automatically get licensed on completing the MSc program? Thank you.

    1. You are welcome. Though you may be qualified to do a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics on the back of your B.Sc in Food Technology, a Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics cannot qualify you to be a Registered Dietitian.
      So you will still be required to do a one year internship at an approved hospital before you become a licenced Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN).
      In normal circumstance however, you are required to have a first degree or a minimum of HND in Nutrition and Dietetics, and a one-year internship at an hospital before being licenced as a Registered Dietitian.

  19. Hey, thank you so much for this article, it was really helpful. My question is do graduates pay to learn at the 1 year internship( to become licensed) or does the hospital pay them?

  20. It is compulsory to do ur IT in w hospital and if not ,pls can u give me list of industries and manufacturing companies such as nafdac,etc that offer IT programs to undergraduate students

  21. I have MBBS and MSc in anatomy and run a private medical practice and am interested in nutrition and dietetics what do i need to do to become one of them and to enhance my prevate clinical practice do i need to do a diploma before MSc and PHd

    1. Since you already have an MBBS, you can do a Masters in Public Health Nutrition (MPH) to be a professional Nutritionist. However to be a Registered Dietitian, you’ll need a licence to practice, meaning you have to do a PGD in Nutrition and Dietetics.

  22. 1.Does this department accept transfer students from any other department?
    2. What is the required C.G.P?

  23. Hi Tega, thanks for the updates. My question is can we please get hospitals that pay for the 1year Dietetics internship?

    1. Yes, all the hospitals listed on this post pay Dietetics interns during the course of the one-year program, the only thing is; what they pay vary from hospital to hospital. Dietetics is very pronounce at the University College Hospital, Ibadan compared to all the others.

      1. I am student of doctor diet and nutritional science, 500 level. Please explain what process Am I going to follow for getting license and how much is the fee. If possible, Here’s my WhatsApp number (+923054060815) please kindly send me the details. Thank you.

        1. There’s a slightly different process of getting licenced as a Registered Dietitian in your country. Basically, completing your bachelor’s degree is the first step to becoming professional food doctor.

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