- The biggest benefit of being a Dietitian is that one is personally conscious of own health and nutrition.
- It is a great profession for those who want an option to work part-time if circumstances demand.
- Salaries/Income are not great, as people don’t want to pay much.
- There is a lot of false information about diets getting circulated in Social Media, which further complicates our work.
- This field is stigmatized as being primarily ‘female’, which often translates to lower salaries than other fields, given equivalent training.
Name – Lavleen Kaur
Profession – Nutritionist/Dietitian
Age – 27 years
Gender – Female
City – Chandigarh
Industry – Healthcare
Where have you been born and raised?
I was born and raised in Chandigarh. Also I completed all my education from here itself.
I have been bought up in a well-educated family. My father is a doctor at PGI, Chandigarh and my mother is a teacher at a local school.
I have two elder brothers, one of them is a civil engineer and the other one is a doctor.
Who had the most influence on you and how?
Among all the family members, I was most influenced by my father. I always wanted to be like him. When I was a kid I would imitate him. I was and in fact, am very much influenced by a doctor’s lifestyle.
Please give us a summary of your career.
After completing my education from Govt. College of home science, Chandigarh, I practiced for about 16 months in a medical firm.
Then, I worked in a hospital for 5 years.
After building a lot of contacts, I decided to set up my own clinic.
Initially, I hardly got any patients, and during this time I almost decided to give up and again get back to the same hospital where I worked earlier but later decided against it.
I gave advertisements in magazines, visited my mother’s school to give speeches on good health. Slowly and steadily, my hard work paid off. There was a time I hardly got a single customer and now patients take an appointment before visiting me.
Which institutes are best for the education/training of this profession?
There are a handful of good colleges for the education of this profession.
What are costs associated with education/training of this profession?
For BSc. (Health Science, Food, and Nutritionist), the annual fee is around INR 20,000–25,000, if you pursue that from a government college and can vary from INR 60,000 to 80,000 if you pursue the same from a private college.
What are the typical entry-level jobs in this profession?
You could start as a practitioner with any experienced doctor; you could also join a hospital, go for government hospitals or set up your own clinic.
What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in your line of career and industry?
A fresher can earn around INR 15,000 to 25000 per month. After gaining a good experience you can touch INR 50,000 per month or more in Pvt. Sector.
In government hospitals, the salaries have risen to INR 25,000. Nutritionists working in the private sector will have differing pay amounts.
Please describe your work.
On a normal day, I attend patients. I diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems. I help both the sick and healthy people by providing diet charts.
A major part of my schedule also includes contacting my regular patients to track their health.
Once a month, I also attend a meeting (seminar) which is a doctor’s meet. In simple words, my work is to guide people to make a right choice of food and lifestyle.
What are some of the positives which would encourage someone to consider Dietitian as a profession?
- As a Dietitian, your education revolves around healthy food and a balanced diet. So you will definitely benefit personally from improved health.
- The employment opportunities for nutritionists are ample as they are employed in a variety of work environments like hospitals, clinics public health and private practices as well as in educational organizations.
- We also have flexibility in working hours. Some also have the choice to work full-time or part-time.
- You get many perks including traveling benefits depending on the organization you work for. You also get to give back to the society with free checkups, NGO visits, etc.
What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering Dietitian as a profession?
- The employment opportunities are basically limited to metro cities. It’s quite difficult to find a job in small cities.
- The field is stigmatized as primarily being ‘female’ which often translates to lower salaries than other fields, given equivalent training.
- You have to be updated with the latest data, especially with new researches going on and the information being upgraded regularly. Yet, it is a daunting task, because of the sheer amount of false information publicly available.
- The salaries are usually mediocre, especially if you aren’t well-established in the field.
What are the relevant trends/skills/technologies that are currently commanding a premium in Dietitian job profile?
You could join IDA (Indian Dietetic Association), that could keep you updated. These days diet plans for gym-goers are currently commanding a premium in this job profile.
What kind of person could be happy as a Dietitian?
Like other professions, clinical nutritionists demand people who are good communicators. It also demands teamwork, flexibility and the urge to travel.
Given another choice what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?
I have always wanted to work in an NGO. I would surely do this if I ever get a chance.
What would be your advice to students or professionals starting their journey on a path similar to yours?
I would like to say that choose your College wisely. Make as many contacts as possible. Most importantly believe in yourself. All the best!