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Roundthetwist

Diploma/Bachelor Nutrition - HELP... I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO!

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Roundthetwist

Hello All,

I am in need of some serious career direction and really don’t know what to do. A bit of background (sorry, this is long-winded!). I have never known what I've wanted to do as a career in life. I am now at the pointy end of my 30's with a family (2 x kids 13 and 10), so study is a non-issue here as I am lucky to have the time, support and drive to get it done. I am currently about to complete a certificate in Business which is something that I chose to support my skills and experience that I have gained since finishing school 20 odd years ago and in between having our kids. It doesn't thrill me to work in admin for the rest of my life but chose it because I left a very bad working environment about 2 years ago and amongst other things happening in our lives, it was something to keep my mind active and to get that 'bit of paper' whilst I wasn't working.

So, since having our beautiful kids, my body has changed immensely, and due to other health issues that have raised their ugly heads since I had them, I've suffered some health problems. It is because of this, and what I have learnt about my body and supporting it through illness, that I have realised I have an interest in nutrition and how diet etc helps. It has taken me this long to realise that because of this interest and what I have been through, I am thinking that this would be something I would to explore as a career. This means to me a career as a nutritionist. I do not want to be a quack! I want to be a fully qualified nutritionist with the right degree. I have some concerns though. I know you are not supposed to refer to other threads, but I did some searching earlier on this topic and it appears that there are many who have studied this and have found no job opportunities and a useless degree that was not worth the time or effort to complete. I obviously don’t want this. The area of nutrition I am interested in is about what effects of certain foods etc have on different parts of the human body and what we eat and put into our bodies is important. Does that make sense? Is this actually an area that I could explore with a nutrition degree, and if so, is this the right one? I’m not sure I want to be a dietician to tell people what they should eat, or in food or kitchens etc. I have fully considered calling universities to ask these questions, but my thought is that if I am not enrolled at or considering enrolling at that uni, why would a career advisor/counsellor advise me? Should I consider Health Science instead? Gosh, it’s a big ask I know. I just need advice from experience. I’ve researched to the hilt about job prospects in nutrition too and I am finding that with an aging population, obesity epidemic and illness due to poor diet, the website claims are favourable for employment. However, going by the other threads, from experience this is not the case. I am so utterly confused!! I’m not in it to make money (yes a salary obviously), but I just want a fulfilling career that actually interests me.

Sorry for the rambling. I am just really, really confused. I know what interests me, but again as I am down ‘that end’ of 30, I don’t want to waste 4 years on something I can’t use.

 

HELP!

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justmeplus4

Don’t waste your time or money on a nutrition degree unless you want to be self employed is my advice.

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Roundthetwist

Don’t waste your time or money on a nutrition degree unless you want to be self employed is my advice.

 

And that is exactly the answer that I thought I was going to get! Thank you for your honesty!!

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CrankyM

I wouldn't waste the money on a degree unless you come out of it with something that will allow you to qualify for being registered with the registration board for dietitians.

 

And well, I don't know where you are but job prospects can be very dependent on your area of specialty. From reading your post I really don't think you would want to be a dietican. because from my experience with actually using deitican's them talking about what foods are best for health is exactly what it is about. Not about "gut health" or other factors, but about what foods are best for different issues, in our case firstly due a severe dairy/soy intolerance and then 2nd how to make food calorie dense for my underweight children and 3rd, eating programs for "fussy" children relating to sensory and taste issues. The deitcian I saw also regularly worked with low SES communities around healthy diets and other health issues that impacted diet. The other deiticain I know specialists in diabetes and how to work on losing weight and balancing diet for proper blood sugar levels.

 

So basically tell people what they should eat... which is what you don't want to do.

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Elizabethandfriend

The one person I know who completed the degree found that no one was interested in sensible nutrition and wanted to follow 'fads'. He then did a physio degree post-grad.

 

It sounds like Health Science is closer to your interest area but you will need to think about how to build a career out of it - that will probably involve post-grad etc.

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decisionsdecisions

Sounds like you are more interested in the research side of nutrition? A science degree majoring in physiology, followed by honours, etc could lead you to a career in nutrition and health research clinics. Have a look at the CSIRO website perhaps for more information. I have a few friends who have followed this path and manage research projects, clinical trials, etc looking specifically at human nutrition.

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Cimbom

I agree with the others. I would study dietetics rather than nutrition

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Roundthetwist

Thanks all so much for your input. I honestly appreciate it. So much to think about!

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RynandStompy

I friend of mine had a similar interest after a health scare, studied and became a certified dietician. She enjoyed her practical components which were often hospital and allied health based.

But as a side business she shut up shop after almost a year and went back to working FT in her previous industry.

The reason - Her new patients weren't interested in consulting for health and nutrition mgmt. They all wanted weight loss plans or for her to tell them that their ideas of doing extreme keto, or using diet pills was ok. She found that a demoralising use of her degree and...stopped.

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itsallnew

I have both a health science degree and a masters degree in nutrition and dietetics.

Your best job prospects are in a hospital or community health. You could set up your own private practice (hard yards). You could work in research, but without a PhD will find it hard to get work. If you’re entrepreneurial, I’m sure you could find a niche.

I love food and nutrition, but agree with the PP’s friend who found it demoralising to work with people who don’t want to change. I have also found it incredibly hard to find PT work that isn’t my own business.

Sorry to be a downer!

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just roses

Is there anything else you'd like to do? Any interest in other allied health areas? My SIL quit a public service role for a career change and did a one year diploma course to be a speech pathology assistant. She worked for a year or so and loved it so much she went back to uni and is now halfway through a Masters of Speech Pathology. It's been a really rewarding career change but the best bit was getting to do the TAFE course for a year to road test it without committing to a completely new degree.

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jewel2

Doing a nutrition degree is not a waste of time, if you are happy to do further study.

 

If you finish the degree you can then use it to get on the Masters in Dietetics to become a dietitian.

 

If you are thinking about Nutrition OUA do a degree distance its via LaTrobe.

 

The OUA course has a quite a bit of science in the first 2 years eg Anatomy, Chemistry etc. So you can use it to do a different Masters in a different health career if you decide nutrition is not for you.

 

I know someone nearly finished the Nutrition degree and they are using it as a stepping stone to a masters in a different health field. As it was one of the few health degrees you can do distance. (Fits around work or family)

Edited by jewel2

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cabbage88

I've watched many people do it and it was a total waste of time.

Look at three things when choosing a career-

1. What do you enjoy?

2. What are you good at?

3. What does the world actually need?

I really don't think the world needs another person with an undergrad nutrition degree! Uni's are pumping them out and there isn't the demand for them. In that space, you have to make your own "need" to fill and it's pretty exhausting. I've been watching a very talented motivated mum of two do that after studying after kids and I certainly wouldn't want to be in that space.

I picked a degree as a mature aged student that ticked all my three points above, and it is a desperately needed profession. I have never ever struggled to get work and I work in four different areas of my industry currently partly for interest sake and partly because I'm chasing cash for a short period of time. I LOVE my job. It was worth all that hefty effort to get through the degree, I love love love my work and there's always so much out there. If you're going to speak to uni's ask for specifics numbers of their post- graduation employment rates in the first 6 months- and how many are actually working in the industry. My degree was 95%- extremely high- and the ones that weren't Working in the industry were only not because they pursued post- grad in a different field.

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