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4-minute read

Key facts

  • Dietitians have a university degree in nutrition and dietetics and meet the registration criteria set by Dietitians Australia as an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD).
  • Dietitians give dietary and nutrition advice to people of all ages and can help you set and achieve diet-related goals.
  • Dietitians can be especially helpful for people who have specific dietary restrictions or requirements, for example, people with diabetes or food allergies.
  • Medicare or private health insurance may cover some of the cost of visiting a registered dietitian. It’s a good idea to check what is covered before you book an appointment.

What is a dietitian?

Dietitians help people to understand the relationship between food and health. They also help people change their diet so that they can become healthier and stay healthy.

What is the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist?

In Australia, dietitians are different to nutritionists. Both are qualified to work in areas such as public health, research and teaching, or in the food industry. Dietitians are also qualified to work in private medical practices, medical centres or hospitals.

Dietitians must have a university degree in nutrition and dietetics. Only qualified dietitians are eligible to join the Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) program. This is run by Dietitians Australia. The APD program is the only qualification for dietitians recognised by the Australian Government (for Medicare and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs' purposes) as well as many state governments and private health insurers.

When might I see a dietitian?

Dietitians provide diet and nutrition advice for people of all ages.

They can be especially helpful if you have special dietary restrictions or requirements due to conditions such as:

They can also help if you are overweight or underweight.

What will happen during my appointment?

A dietitian will ask questions about your health, lifestyle, what you usually eat and drink and what you want to achieve.

They will give you feedback and advice on your diet and health. They can also help you set food-related goals.

What does it cost to see a dietitian?

The costs for seeing a dietitian vary. Many charge between $50 and $150 an hour for a consultation.

If your doctor refers you a dietitian, Medicare may cover some of the cost. You may also be eligible for a rebate under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

If you have private health insurance, your insurer might cover some of the cost. It’s a good idea to check with your private health insurer before your appointment.

Some universities also have student run dietetics clinics. You can attend these for free or at a reduced rate.

Where can I find a dietitian?

Your doctor can refer you or you can ask your family and friends.

The Dietitians Australia website allows you to search for an Accredited Practising Dietitian. It can also tell you if a dietitian has been suspended or is facing disciplinary procedures.

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Last reviewed: August 2022

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