Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ on Registration
Where can I study nutrition?
The University of Otago, Massey University and University of Auckland offer undergraduate degrees and postgraduate diplomas in nutrition. CPIT and AUT also offer degrees which include nutrition. We have links and further information on these courses on the Education pages of the website.
Is a qualification in natural or complementary medicine acceptable?
The Society rules state that the applicant must possess a degree from a university with the focus of the degree being nutrition. The focus of natural or complementary medicine differs from a Bachelor Degree majoring in Human Nutrition. A natural medicine qualification may not include the necessary science subjects at a sufficient level. Relevant work experience in the field of nutrition is also required and the Society would not consider practicing in natural medicine as meeting our criteria. For those who are interested, explore registration with the appropriate professional body related to the natural medicine, for example NZ Society of Naturopaths.
What subjects are relevant to nutritionists in the undergraduate degree?
Relevant subjects are physiology, biology, chemistry, biochemistry, statistics, food science and specific nutrition papers.
What is a satisfactory postgraduate qualification?
The minimum requirement for postgraduate study is a postgraduate diploma, but eligibility is at the discretion of the Registration Panel. Judgment of what is considered specific to nutrition or relevant to nutrition is also at the discretion of the Registration Panel.
If I have a Bachelor degree that is not in human nutrition, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Nutrition, can I become a Registered Nutritionist?
The panel would consider the quantity and quality of the human nutrition papers of the Postgraduate Diploma. The panel would also consider the papers undertaken in the undergraduate degree. Relevant subjects are physiology, biology, chemistry, biochemistry, statistics, food science and specific nutrition papers.
I have an overseas qualification. Do I need to have an NZQA assessment?
This would be considered on an individual basis and would depend on the qualification. Contact the Registrar for advice.
I have a Post-graduate Diploma in Human Nutrition but not a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition. Can I apply to be an Associate Registered Nutritionist?
If you have a post-graduate diploma in Human Nutrition, contact the registrar to see it this would be sufficient. It would be expected that the applicant had completed some science papers at a undergraduate level.
What counts as one-year of nutrition-related work experience to become an Associate Registered Nutritionist?
Applicants may be involved in paid or voluntary work in nutrition. Some jobs are not solely nutrition jobs but cover a broad range of areas. Keep a record of the nutrition-related areas of your work and the proportion of your job related to nutrition. If you are not engaged in nutrition work full-time, it may take up to two years to gain the equivalent of one-year full-time work experience. Contact the Registrar if you are unsure.
What is the difference between a Dietitian, a Nutritionist and a Registered Nutritionist?
A Dietitian is a registered health professional who meets standards of professionalism required by the NZ Dietitians Board under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance, who has an accredited undergraduate science degree in human nutrition, and a post-graduate qualification in Dietetics. Dietitians are trained in the science of nutrition and diet therapy, and qualified to work in areas that require nutritional assessment and counselling.
A Nutritionist has usually completed a degree in Human Nutrition or related Science, and ideally has tertiary training in science, nutrition, biochemistry, medicine or sports physiology from a reputable tertiary institution. Nutritionists aim to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities and the population as a whole, through better foods, diets and nutrition. Nutritionists can work in a variety of roles including research, nutrition consultants and advisors, public health and health promotion officers, food writing, and for governmental and non-governmental agencies, to name a few.
The title of Registered Nutritionist can only be used by those who meet the standards determined by The Nutrition Society of New Zealand. Registered Nutritionists must hold a degree or academic qualification from a university or other recognised national institution of education. In addition to their basic academic qualification, they must have 2-3 years of professional experience in the field of nutrition. The selection process is overseen by the Nutrition Registration Panel which is an expert group of Nutrition Society members representing academia, industry, government and private practice. Registered Nutritionists can work in a diverse range of settings. Registered Nutritionists work within their specific fields of expertise (as determined by the Nutrition Registration Panel), adhere to The Royal Society of New Zealand Code of Professional Standards and Ethics and must participate in a Continuing Education Competency Programme.
A Dietitian or Registered Nutritionist may work in a variety of settings ranging from Government, community, public health, sports, research & education and the food industry. Dietitians may also work in hospitals.
Can I apply to become an Associate Registered Nutritionist if I am not a new graduate?
If you have insufficient work experience to become a Registered Nutritionist but are not a recent graduate, you can submit an application of intent. You would need to find a mentor and intend to work in a nutrition-related role or undertake post-graduate study in nutrition.
Do I need to receive supervision?
The Nutrition Society Registration Panel asks Registered Nutritionists applying for registration or re-registration in the area of practice to receive professional supervision. Those registered in other fields of practice, particularly those in a large workplace, may receive supervision according to the policies and procedures of their workplace. Supervision provides a regular time for facilitated, in-depth reflection on practice from an experienced practitioner. The panel would expect a nutritionist to be meeting with their supervisor every few months. The supervisor would prefereably be a Registered Nutritionist or Registered Dietitian with at least three years experience. Explanatory notes on supervision are currently being developed. If you are unable to find a supervisor contact the Registrar.
I have an overseas qualification and overseas experience. Can I apply for registration?
To become registered in NZ, an overseas trained applicant is expected fulfil the following:
I have an overseas qualification. Can I apply for Associate registration?
Your qualification needs to be a minimum of a BSc in nutrition. You may need to apply for an NZQA assessment of your qualification to provide evidence. After arrival in New Zealand, you will need to have established networks with nutritionists and dietitians in your area, have found a mentor and state your intention for the qualifying year for Associate Registration. This will be work experience or post-graduate study. You can apply for Associate Registration after working with your mentor for a year and studying or gaining work experience.
What are the fields of expertise for Registration as a Nutritionist?
A Registered Nutritionist will be registered in their field of expertise as determined by the Registration Panel.
Scientific research - academic
Generally working in academia or a scientific institute, regularly publishing peer-reviewed research.
For example, Scientist at Plant and Food Research, scientist at a university.
Scientific research – industrial
Generally working in a scientific institute or food-related company, regularly publishing peer-reviewed research.
For example, Scientist at Fonterra.
Working with individuals or small groups offering nutrition advice. Mentored or undertaking professional supervision with a Registered Nutritionist or Dietitian
For example, medical practice, sports organization, primary health organisation, Maori or Pacific health provider.
Working in health promotion, policy, advocacy, resource development, nutrition communication, community education.
For example, Health Promotion Agency, Heart Foundation, DHB Public Health Unit
Working in an educational institute, planning courses, delivering lectures/seminars/classes, assessment of work.
For example, university, institute of technology, school.
Provide advice to industry clients, technical and nutrition information, marketing.
For example, Fonterra, Beef and Lamb, Nestle, Wyeth, infant feeding.
Working in a food-service setting providing nutrition expertise for menu-planning, recipe development etc.
For example, Hospital food-service, catering company.
Nutrition and health journalism and media work, marketing, public relations, food-writing, and other communication of nutrition-related messages.
For example, Food-writer, food industry board, public relations company