Written by Lani Finau | Monday, 19 September 2022
tips and advice
Considering studying nutrition at Endeavour College? Qualified Nutritionist (BHSc) and Endeavour graduate, Lani Finau, answers your most-asked questions about our nutrition degree.
Like you, there once was a time I too was considering studying nutrition. I knew the end goal, but I didn’t know what (and which!) steps to take. Where should I study? What’s the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian? Will I be qualified? Today, I thought I would round up some of my most-asked questions all in one spot.
What’s the difference between a Nutritionist and Dietitian?
This is becoming an age-old question! In short, both work in incredibly similar fields and methods of treatment – however, there are a few differences mostly to do with qualifications and regulations.
Right now, unfortunately, the term ‘Nutritionist’ is not government-regulated like the term ‘Dietitian’ is. This means that legally anyone can call themselves a Nutritionist without any implications.
Whilst as a qualified Clinical Nutritionist with a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine) I can certainly understand the frustration surrounding our professional name not being a protected one – I have not personally found it impedes my work or takes away from my qualifications as it’s not just the term ‘Nutritionist’ I am focused on. The golden letters are that ‘BHSc’ that sits at the end of your name as a graduated Nutritionist from Endeavour, they are what holds all the credibility a future client will be looking for.
Holding a Bachelor’s degree in nutrition also means you are able to sign with some of the various professional organisations/associations that help regulate and legitimise the important work natural therapy practitioners do (examples include the Australian Natural Therapists Association and Australian Traditional-Medicine Society). These associations work closely with health funds, governments, WorkCover authorities and other professional organisations to uphold the standards of our profession. There are strict, rigorous and ongoing regulations that natural therapists signed with these organisations must adhere to which ensure the highest possible standard of healthcare is being provided – and qualified Nutritionists are certainly on that list!
Although seeing a Nutritionist means you cannot get a rebate through Medicare or DVA like you can with a Dietitian, clients can get a rebate from a large number of private health funds – providing you (the nutritionist) is signed with a professional organisation. After doing Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine) at Endeavour, the good news is you will be eligible to sign with one of these professional organisations!
As a side note, graduates from this course are also entitled to practice as Clinical Nutritionists and can exclusively showcase Endeavour's trademarked Clinical Nutritionist logo as part of their branded marketing materials which is another valuable asset that sets you apart from the rest.
Do Nutritionists at Endeavour do any clinic hours? What is the clinic like?
Yes! This is something I, as a graduate, was incredibly grateful for and was perhaps my favourite part of the entire degree.
The Endeavour Wellness Clinic is where students are provided with the opportunity to see real clients in a highly-supported environment as part of their course. As a student practitioner, this means you get hundreds of hours of clinical practice to put everything you learnt on paper into use. I personally found this helped cement everything together.
When seeing the real-life client, you have supporting student practitioners with you present in the room, as well as your clinic supervisor who is a qualified Nutritionist (with years of clinical experience!) to help you support and devise a treatment plan. This experience is invaluable and something that I think sets Endeavour graduates apart from the rest. Not only does this help you build confidence and skills to prepare you to work on your own outside of the degree, but it also helps start to build your client base whilst still studying, which is an absolute bonus.
I would do anything to go back to student clinic – I loved every minute of it and felt so incredibly supported the entire time, whilst still having enough freedom to develop my confidence as a practitioner and prepare me for post-graduation life.
Overall if I had to explain it, it’s like being thrown into the deep end of the pool – but with floaties, flippers, a snorkel… and a whole entourage of lifesavers. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
I didn’t do science subjects in high school OR I didn’t do my Higher School Certificate (HSC) – will I be able to do the course?
Yes, absolutely. I personally did my HSC but didn’t do biology, chemistry or any science subjects – and I was fine! There are no prerequisites to the course, however, Endeavour do offer incredible bridging courses that you can do prior to commencing your studies if you feel you will need it.
What I will say is I get a lot of people message me expressing they want to study nutrition but are too scared or don’t want to do the science components because they think it will be too hard. But you know what? That’s the beauty of it! The fact is nutrition, even holistic nutrition, is science-based. This is what helps it hold its legitimacy. Sure, the science subjects can be challenging, they require work like all good things in life, but that is exactly as it should be. As a practitioner, you are dealing with real people’s real problems every single day. You need to know your stuff – and by ‘stuff’, I mean the human body. All aspects of it.
Believe it or not, it is usually these more difficult science-based subjects that students end up enjoying the most (I know I did!). The appreciation you begin to develop for the human body is unfathomable.
As a side note, I do also want to say that if you are studying and need extra help or support in these (or any) subjects – the lecturers at Endeavour are there for exactly that. You can book private tutoring lessons or approach them before/after class to ask any questions you have. If there’s one thing I learned in my degree, it’s that the lecturers are always willing to help. It doesn’t just benefit you as a student, it benefits all of us as a profession. The stronger the practitioners coming through are, the better nutrition is as an industry – there’s great power in that. We’re all in this together.
What type of jobs can a Nutritionist do after studying?
Right now, the health industry is booming, and so is the need for qualified professionals. Beyond just one on one consultations that most graduate Nutritionists go into (either in private practice or in an integrative healthcare setting), as a Nutritionist, you can go into many fields including recipe development, product development, education, corporate health, nutraceutical sales and marketing, working for a wellness-based brand or company, the options are endless.
As an example of my personal career journey, since graduating at the end of 2020 I have worked as the in-house Nutritionist at an Australian-based health and wellness brand that sells supplements, but also provides a lot of content in the wellness space that they require/prefer a Nutritionist to conduct (e.g. think blogs/articles, videos for TikTok/Reels, etc.). It’s essentially a merging of a social media and content/marketing role with nutrition – and all wellness-based brands in the industry are looking for that these days! They want health professionals on their side to add legitimacy to their brand and build more trust with customers. This was a very fun, rewarding and fast-paced job to be in if that’s the type of environment you thrive in!
I have now stepped away from that full-time role to focus more on my own private clinical practice where I see clients one on one in person and online, and also do a number of group talks (for example, at schools as a guest speaker), lecturing, and workshops (I love working with teenage females and find this interactive environment is incredibly beneficial for them). I have also started to merge my two passions of sport (particularly getting kids/teenagers involved in sport) and nutrition, and now work at an all-girls school in the sports department not only helping organise and facilitate sport but also working to implement various nutrition strategies and offerings to the students in the sports environment. For example, regular nutrition talks with the different sporting groups/teams, one on one nutrition consultations offered to students in our elite sporting pathways, developing knowledge and understanding around easy breakfast/recipe options students can make before a game or training, and other basic sports nutrition education.
I think that’s the beauty of being a Nutritionist. It provides the opportunity to merge and blend your skills with many other fields or interests you have. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and there is space for all of us in this industry!
Anything not answered here please don’t hesitate to reach out – I love answering your messages on Instagram! Otherwise, the Endeavour team are just a call or email away and always happy to help!
Leilani – known as Lani to most – is an accredited Nutritionist (BHSc) passionate about teenage/adolescent health and female wellbeing. Located in Cronulla, Sydney, she offers in-person and online consultations at her By Lani Nutrition Clinic and also frequently visits schools for workshops, as well as doing group talks and online cooking sessions. She also works as the in-house Nutritionist and Content Creator at SWIISH, a leading Australian wellness and lifestyle brand.