What is a dietitian?

Dietitians provide nutrition care along the entire continuum of life – from before conception to end of life. Dietitians actively contribute to the health and wellbeing of British Columbians and are essential members of interprofessional healthcare teams. Dietitians are known for:

  • assessing nutritional needs of individuals and groups
  • using a client-centered approach to nutritional counselling
  • designing, implementing and monitoring nutritional care plans and therapeutic diets based on current and relevant scientific, medical and nutrition information
  • disseminating relevant scientific information about food and human nutrition to promote health and assist individuals, groups and communities attain, restore or maintain health
  • managing quality food service operations in healthcare institutions, education facilities, and government agencies

Dietitians work in a variety of work setting such as hospitals, community health centers, government office and food industries. Nutritionists, holistic nutritionists, nutrition counsellors and other diet coaches are under no obligation to meet enforceable education and training standards in British Columbia.

Dietitians in BC:

  • have, at minimum, completed a four-year bachelors degree from a recognized university dietetics program
  • have completed a 10 month (~1300 hr) dietetic practicum in clinical nutrition care, population & public health nutrition and nutrition management
  • need to be registered with the College to practice dietetics and use the title Dietitians
  • have passed a national competence examination (the Canadian Dietitian Registration Exam)
  • are required through legislation to maintain their competence and meet an annual Continuing Competence Program
  • must undergo a Criminal Records search and a Jurisprudence examination every 5 years; and
  • are required to practice safely, competently and ethically through government approved Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics

Public Register of Dietitians

In BC, only registrants of this college can legally practice as Dietitians. The public register allows anyone to confirm whether a dietitian is licensed. It has important information about a dietitian such as registration status, past or current disciplinary actions resulting from complaints, restrictions on practice or business contact (area of practice). It also confirms if the Dietitian is registered to practice high risk activities (called “restricted activities”).

Public Protection

Anyone using the title “Dietitian” or “Registered Dietitian” in BC must be registered with the CDBC. Registration with the College ensures public protection. Dietitians in BC are accountable to the public and are required to provide safe, competent and ethical practice according to the CDBC Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

Hiring a Dietitian

If you are looking to hire a dietitian, know that they need to be registered with the college to practice. Registration needs to be renewed on an annual basis. Dietitians have Continuing Competence requirements and standards of practice to follow (ex. Record keeping and patient relation).