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NOC Code: NOC Code: 3132 Occupation: Dietitians and nutritionists
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Dietitians and nutritionists plan, implement and oversee nutrition and food service programs. They are employed in a variety of settings including hospitals, home healthcare agencies and extended care facilities, community health centres, the food and beverage industry, educational institutions, and government and sports organizations, or they may work as private consultants. Dietitians and nutritionists plan, implement and oversee nutrition and food service programs. They are employed in a variety of settings including hospitals, home healthcare agencies and extended care facilities, community health centres, the food and beverage industry, educational institutions, and government and sports organizations, or they may work as private consultants.

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Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Reading 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4 5
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Digital Technology Digital Technology 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3

  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.

  • Read emails from clients and co-workers about a variety of nutrition and health-related topics. (1)
  • Read notes on forms found in clients' charts for information needed to counsel clients and to design care plans that will meet the clients' needs. (2)
  • Read articles in magazines, journals and other trade publications to stay informed about nutritional trends and topics and to be better able to advise clients about nutritional issues. For example, read about topics such as the benefits of eating organically grown foods, the dangers of consuming pesticides, or the health hazards of trans fats. (3)
  • Read relevant standards of practice, codes of ethics and guidelines set out by regulatory bodies and national and provincial professional organizations so that you can work in a professional and safe manner. (3)
  • Scan textbooks and journals to refresh memory and to find new information about specific diagnoses or types of diseases so that you can develop appropriate care plans for clients. For example, when treating women who are pregnant, read textbooks to find out which herbs can be taken safely during pregnancy and which natural food sources will provide women with the folic acid which is essential for rapid cell division and cell growth. (4)
  • Read or review current or draft legislation and regulations. For example, read the Guidelines for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods published by Health Canada to identify the safety assessment criteria for genetically modified micro-organisms and genetically modified plants. Read draft legislation on labelling of food products to give feedback to Health Canada about how legislation will affect various stakeholder groups. (4)
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  • Write notes in clients' files to document sessions, including details of conversations, assessments, recommendations and required follow-ups. (1)
  • Write email messages to clients who ask for nutritional information or to other members of the healthcare team who need current information about clients. (2)
  • Write easy-to-read nutritional plans for clients who are being discharged. The plans include recommended diets, food preparation instructions and general information about how nutrition will affect a positive change in the clients' underlying medical conditions. (2)
  • Write responses to questions on Health Canada evaluation forms. For example, provide additional information on a particular product being considered for introduction into the Canadian market. (3)
  • Write nutritional reports for physicians which provide information about clients' general health, activity levels, appetite levels, food intake, nutritional risk factors, and food preferences. The reports may also contain specific recommendations. For example, recommend food supplements for clients based on the clinical evidence presented in the reports. (3)
  • Write about a variety of nutritional issues and topics for publication in newsletters, pamphlets and fact sheets. Usually, the purpose of the writing is to inform clients about healthy food and lifestyle choices. For example, write fact sheets which provide clients with step-by-step instructions for assessing weight using Body Mass Index. (3)
  • Write food service procedures and policies. For example, write detailed procedures for the delivery of meals and snacks. Write policies for the proper handling of food and for the prevention of food contamination. (4)
  • Write technical and research reports and discussion papers which target professional audiences or public decision makers. The evidence presented in these reports may be used to develop or support public policies that contribute to the building of healthier communities. For example, publish research findings in professional journals which demonstrate the importance of ensuring that all Canadians have the financial resources needed to buy healthy food and make healthy lifestyle choices. (5)
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Document Use
  • Analyze and take information from work schedules. For example, analyze the schedule of staff to determine how best to reassign resources given a high level of absenteeism or revise your own schedule to accommodate visits with clients. (1)
  • Plot values on an existing grid or template to keep a record or to make analysis possible. For example, plot weight gain on graphs to demonstrate the positive impact of food supplements in clients' diets. (2)
  • Take information from a variety of different forms. For example, community nutritionists may review application forms for restaurants which would like to be approved and promoted as facilities offering healthy menu choices. The nutritionists scan the forms to gather detailed information about what is available on the menu, what can be provided at no additional cost to the clients upon request and nutritional, food safety and non-smoking standards. (2)
  • Enter information into workload measurement system tables. The tables record details of the number of clients counselled, the number of consultations per client, and whether the consultations were delivered by phone or person to person. (2)
  • Complete a number of forms to record critical information that will be used to design the most appropriate therapeutic diets for clients. Collect information about clients' current and past eating habits, current diets, medication regimes, medical and social histories, and physical data such as heights and weights. (2)
  • Take information from a variety of tables such as nutrition analysis tables and food labels to understand the nutritional value of food products and their appropriateness for specific therapeutic diets. (2)
  • Take information from a variety of graphs. For example, use Body Mass Index graphs to determine whether clients are at risk of developing health problems or a scan graph of weight by age percentiles to determine if children's rates of growth present potential health concerns. (2)
  • Review clients' status report tables for particular units or wards. The tables display information such as bed numbers, names, genders, admission diagnoses, medical histories, diet orders and allergies, if any. This document provides a comprehensive overview of the clients' status and is used to prioritize the visits to clients and plan the actions required for each client. (3)
  • Enter information on nutritional analysis tables to document findings that will help determine the success of an intervention. For example, enter information into nutritional analysis tables for clients with eating disorders to show lab values, anthropometric values such as weight and body mass index, intake of food, intake of fluids, and whether the clients binged or purged since their last visits. (3)
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Digital Technology
  • Use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software. For example, dietitians involved in the development, administration and supervision of nutrition and food preparation and service programs use specialized accounting software to track and forecast business revenues and expenditures. (2)
  • Use other software. For example, use specialized nutritional software to calculate clients' nutritional demands based on age, weight and daily energy requirements. (2)
  • Navigate the Internet to locate information in online databases to find answers for specific nutrition questions. (2)
  • Use databases. For example, in larger institutions, access specialized databases to review client records and to document details of client care. Use databases to keep statistics on the type, frequency and duration of consultations. (2)
  • Use email to advise clients, and exchange information with peers and colleagues. Attach documents in PDF format, sort and save email messages in appropriate folders, or send out messages using distribution lists and personal mailing lists. (2)
  • Use graphics software such as PowerPoint to create slide presentations for seminars and training sessions. Insert tables, charts, video clips and diagrams into the presentation to build more effective presentations. (3)
  • Write letters, reports to physicians and instructions for nutritional treatment programs using basic word processing features. Create and design posters, brochures, sample meal menus and newsletters by combining text with clip art, tables and pictures. Create longer reports or research papers with tables of contents, footnotes and/or bibliographies. (3)
  • Enter data in existing spreadsheet templates to create monthly activity summaries. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Discuss nutritional histories with clients to develop individualized nutritional care plans. For example, meet clients recovering from throat cancer who have a poor appetite and who suffer nausea from treatments to determine the kinds of food they are able to eat and like to eat. It is important that the clients' preferences be respected and relayed to the food service staff. (2)
  • Participate in regular meetings with co-workers to coordinate work, discuss program developments, evaluate work unit performance and schedule shared resources. (2)
  • Interact with suppliers to obtain information about the nutritional value of their products, to check the availability of alternate products which meet specific nutritional criteria and to negotiate prices. (2)
  • Make presentations and deliver educational seminars to small and large groups on a wide range of nutritional issues. For example, a nutritionist may make a presentation to factory workers on the importance of healthy diet; deliver a food safety seminar to community volunteers cooking meals for seniors; facilitate a workshop for teachers on the nutritional needs of children; or speak to high school students about the health dangers of poor eating habits. (3)
  • Consult peers, colleagues and co-workers about nutrition and diet. For example, ask colleagues at nearby hospitals for advice on the most appropriate nutritional strategy to recommend to clients presenting with unfamiliar conditions. (3)
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Money Math
  • Calculate travel expenses for reimbursement. Multiply kilometres travelled by a rate, add other expenses and total the claim. (1)
  • Calculate invoice amounts and receive payments. For example, prepare invoices for counselling services by multiplying the number of hours of counselling by the hourly professional rate, adding relevant taxes, and calculating totals. Approve payments, as appropriate. For example, verify that the amounts of products invoiced have been received and are billed at the negotiated prices. (2)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Establish the costs of items to be sold in cafeterias based on all direct and indirect costs. Replace items on cafeteria menus if they are not profitable. (2)
  • Compare proposals from competing food product suppliers to determine which provides the best value based on price for nutritional content. (3)
  • Analyze annual financial reports to determine the profitability of food preparation services in hospitals, schools and other large institutions. (3)
  • Plan and monitor budgets for research projects based on the amount of funding granted. Determine how to implement research activities to complete research within budget. (3)
  • Determine staffing requirements and create work schedules for large hospital and institutional kitchens based on the number of meals to be prepared in each facility. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure the height, weight, muscle mass and percentage of body fat of clients using tapes, scales, and skinfold callipers. (1)
  • Assess the viscosity of foods by using information collected during a line spread test. This involves putting food in the middle of a diagram and seeing how far the food flows. The diagram consists of a series of concentric circles which indicate the viscosity of foods. (1)
  • Convert measuring units. For example, convert clients' weights from kilograms to pounds according to clients' preferences. (2)
  • Calculate the nutritional requirements of clients to develop care plans. Calculate energy needs in kilocalories by multiplying body weight in kilograms by twenty-five. (2)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare sets of data taken at different time periods to determine if the values are decreasing or increasing. For example, compare the weights of clients at the first consultation visit to weights six weeks later to determine whether they have achieved the desired weight gains or weight losses. (2)
  • Analyze data from electronic cash registers such as the number of cafeteria users, amount of money spent, activity level during various time periods and sales by item. Use this data to make decisions about staff requirements, scheduling and menu planning. (2)
  • Analyze the results of client satisfaction surveys, plate wastage surveys and similar data. For example, use survey data to improve methods of providing institutional clients with nutritious, satisfying meals, to determine the effects of an educational program which encourages healthier food choices or to decide whether the intake of a new food supplement has helped high-risk, long-term care clients gain weight. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate amounts of products to order based on current inventories and expected daily usage rates. (2)
  • Estimate revenue projections for the food services. These estimates are based on financial results for previous periods. (2)
  • Estimate the typical daily calorie intake of clients based on information such as types of food eaten, portion sizes, and meal frequencies. These rough estimates can be used to make general recommendations regarding clients' eating habits. (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Dietitians and nutritionists schedule their own daily work activities but must be prepared to modify these schedules as unexpected events occur, whether it is the deteriorating condition of a client, the absence of employees or co-workers, or new government priorities. Dietitians and nutritionists may plan the work of other nutritionists and other workers if they are overseeing research projects or public health programs. (3)
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Decision Making
  • Decide to renew contracts with suppliers. Consider the ability of the suppliers to supply products which will meet new nutritional value requirements and suit the changing tastes of the public. Compare the cost of the products to similar products available in the market and check the availability of similarly priced products with higher nutritional values. (2)
  • Decide on the research activities assigned to interns based on the number of weeks the interns are available, the interns' learning goals, and the relevance of the learning outcomes to the organization. (2)
  • Decide which products to purchase for food services programs based on nutritional value, price and client preferences. (2)
  • Decide to modify and revise care plans based on evaluations of outcomes. For example, introduce new diet treatments to address medical issues, when clients are not responding as expected. (3)
  • Decide to reassign staff to ensure that food preparation and service programs run properly. For example, when a number of staff are absent from work, dietitians reassign staff from other areas. (3)
  • Decide what type of information and the teaching methods to use so that clients are not overwhelmed and are able to integrate the information given. Dietitians build on clients' existing knowledge and, if clients have multiple medical conditions, they address one condition at a time. (3)
  • Decide which clients to see next and which clients to make a priority. Base such decisions on the criticality of clients' problems and the procedures scheduled for them by hospital staff. For example, if a client is being discharged earlier than planned, the hospital dietitian must see that client first to provide him or her with the discharge teaching required. The hospital dietitian might also be informed that a client has just been admitted and is scheduled for an emergency procedure and decides that this client now takes priority over other clients who can be visited later in the day. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Clients fail to keep scheduled appointments but don't take the time to cancel. To reduce the number of missed appointments, develop and publish cancellation policies or set up procedures to call clients a day prior to their appointments. (1)
  • Discover that clients cannot buy the nutritional products that you have recommended. For example, find that clients live in areas where the product is not distributed. Contact the suppliers to find out if wholesalers can supply distribution centres in these areas. Sometimes clients cannot afford the cost of the nutritional products. Consult with other professionals to locate financial resources offered by various levels of government and community groups. When specialized nutritional products are not readily available, call the manufacturers, other hospitals and networks of colleagues to see who has the products or knows where to locate them. (2)
  • It is difficult to teach clients or offer them nutritional therapy because of language barriers. Try to find written materials in the clients' languages or ask family members or others to act as interpreters. (2)
  • Receive complaints from clients regarding food services. For example, institutionalized clients write to the administrator to say that the menu choices in the cafeteria are inadequate and unhealthy. The dietitian meets with the clients to discuss the complaints, reviews menus and budgets, and talks to kitchen staff. The dietitian introduces a salad bar, adds more fresh fruits and vegetables to the menu and displays nutritional facts about menu choices with a visual card system. (3)
  • Encounter clients with problematic beliefs or practices. For example, a nutritionist may counsel a vegetarian who insists on using nutritional supplements which are of questionable value while avoiding healthier foods. The nutritionist develops a unique treatment plan which respects the client's choices but still provides a balanced diet. To ensure the success of the plan, the nutritionist also provides the client with detailed information which informs good nutritional choices. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Search the Internet for information about the latest diet trends and fads. (1)
  • Find information about clients in records such as assessment forms, laboratory result forms, medical records, and notes by various health professionals involved in cases. In some cases, access institutional databases for clients' medical records and laboratory results. (2)
  • Interview clients' family members and friends when conducting nutritional assessments for clients who are unable to participate because of poor health or language barriers. (2)
  • Read books, professional journals, nutritional magazines, government publications and reference manuals to find information about health conditions, new medical treatments, new food products, dietary supplements and emerging trends. For example, a dietitian may review literature on trans fats to gather ideas for an action plan that will reduce trans fats from cafeteria menu products. (3)
  • Consult other dietitians, health professionals and members of interdisciplinary teams, both within and outside the organization, to discuss general or case-specific nutritional topics. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Judge the suitability of nutritional supplements based on a number of critical considerations such as the availability of the products in the areas where clients live, the cost of the products and the nutrients they contain and clients' specific nutritional needs. Other dietitians may also be consulted to validate these final assessments. (2)
  • Assess the value or health benefits of food products. For example, consider the potential health benefits of consuming soy products, whether organic soy products are healthier choices than processed soy, whether soy can trigger allergic reactions and what is the optimum intake of soy. (2)
  • Dietitians must weigh and evaluate which nutritional plan will be most beneficial to the client. For example, clients in acute care settings are often admitted with multiple conditions, each presenting unique nutritional challenges. Dietitians analyse data collected during assessment interviews including medical diagnoses, medication regimes, dentition, swallowing abilities and energy requirements to identify optimum nutritional plans for clients. (3)
  • Determine optimal nutritional and therapeutic menus to meet the needs of the clients. For example, a nutritionist may develop a diet to help an elite athlete achieve optimal performance. The special menu is based upon an analysis of the athlete's existing diet, cooking methods, and eating habits. (3)
  • Identify strategies that will promote healthy eating habits in specific populations. For example, a school nutritionist may evaluate strategies for reducing fat consumption or increasing the daily intake of fruit, vegetables and whole grain products by students. The nutritionist investigates factors that affect behavioural change, analyzes current diet trends, and reviews best practices of similar programs. (3)
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