If you’re curious about the salary of a dietitian, you’ve come to the right place! In this post, I’ll provide a detailed breakdown of the EXACT earnings that dietitians can expect at different stages of their careers, as well as the variations in salary across different parts of the world.
For many people considering dietetics as a career, or any healthcare career, salary usually isn’t at the forefront of your mind. Helping people is your desire, and being paid for doing that is a bonus.
I certainly was one of those people. For me, a career doing something I loved was more important than money. It still is. However, it would be stupid not to consider it.
As a dietitian, you can work a traditional job and earn an average salary. But, there is also the possibility to earn a lot of money if you have a business mindset, take risks and seek opportunities! However, what a “good or average salary” is is subjective. So, in this article, I’m going to be as objective as possible and stick to the facts and figures.
In this article, I’m going to reveal everything I know about a dietitian’s salary. Hopefully, this will benefit you if you are considering a career in dietetics or if you are already working!
The information provided is based on personal knowledge, experience, and cited sources. All information is accurate as of January 2024.
For easy comparison purposes, I have converted all figures into USD using Jan 2024 conversion rates.
- 1 Setting The Scene – Average Salary Figures Across The World
- 2 Dietitian Salary In The Public Sector
- 3 Dietitian Salary in Ireland (HSE)
- 4 Dietitian Salary UK (NHS)
- 5 Dietitian Salary United States
- 6 Dietitian Salary Canada
- 7 Dietitian Salary Private Hospitals
- 8 Dietitian Salary Working In Industry
- 9 Dietitian Salary - Tax-Efficient
- 10 Dietitian Salary – Private-Work/Freelance
- 11 Dietitian Salary – Media Work
- 12 Dietitian Salary – Blogging, Social Media & YouTube
- 13 Opportunities in Business:
- 14 Closing Thoughts:
- 15 Other posts you may like:
Setting The Scene – Average Salary Figures Across The World
Firstly, to help put a dietitian’s salary into perspective against other professions and country norms, I have gathered the average salary data from several countries.
|USD (Jan Conversion Rates)
|79,362 Canadian dollars
Dietitian Salary In The Public Sector
The traditional route for many dietitians is working in clinical practice within the public sector (e.g. the HSE in Ireland or the NHS in the UK). These roles are often in acute hospitals or in the community. The benefits of these types of jobs are:
- Financial and job security (steady, reliable monthly income).
- Set salaries nationally; you won’t be underpaid compared to a colleague.
- Structured working hours (usually 9-5 style).
- Good annual leave.
- Public sector pensions.
- Low stress (in terms of income security as less financial risk).
- Set salaries nationally; work excellence can’t be acknowledged with financial rewards.
- No yearly bonus.
- Promotions based on hard work or achievements are not often possible.
- Limited scope for increasing earnings.
- Your manager often can’t reward you – they must abide by the public health systems.
As you can see, I have “set salary” as both a positive and a negative here as it will depend on your outlook, goals and personality. For some people, a role and salary structure like this is satisfactory. However, for some, it is frustrating, particularly if you are a very hard worker with high financial ambitions. You could be working much harder than another colleague, and you will have the same salary.
Dietitian Salary in Ireland (HSE)
If you plan to work as a dietitian in Ireland, you will most likely be employed by the national health service, which is the HSE. The HSE follows publicly available payscales, and I have included a link to the most recent payscales available as of March 2023 here. According to these payscales, an entry-level dietitian starts their career with a salary of 40,325 euros per year (44,104 USD). The salary increases gradually by approximately 2000 euros each year. If you remain on the entry-level dietitian scale, you will earn a salary of approximately 48,000 euros after five years (52,500 USD).
However, ideally, you want to jump onto the higher pay scale level. So, you usually have to spend three years on an entry-level or basic dietitian scale. But after three years, you should be eligible to move up onto a higher level pay scale.
The pay-scale levels are as follows:
- Entry-level Dietitian
- Senior Dietitian
- Clinical Specialist Dietitian
- Dietitian Manager
- Dietitian Manager in Charge 3
I want to be clear that you do not automatically move up the pay-scale ladder (if only it were that easy). You need to wait for a new job at that level to become available and then apply and interview against other dietitians who may also be wanting that role. So, after completing three years as an entry-level dietitian, you would hope to successfully start a new role as a senior dietitian where the pay scale starts at 58,600 euros and goes up by around 1.5 grand each year.
After the senior scale, you can move to a clinical specialist, manager, and “manager in charge” scale given you have the appropriate years of experience and if you are lucky enough that a job at one of these scales becomes available. The highest level is “Dietitian Manager In Charge 3” and this starts at 81,000 euro (88,590 USD).
The reality is there aren’t as many of these higher-level positions, and they can be competitive. For example, I know dietitians who stayed ten years on the basic grade pay scale, just hoping for a senior job to become available. Now, in recent years in Ireland, the job landscape actually massively improved, and there were 100s of new positions made. However, at the end of 2023, a hiring freeze was commenced again.
Dietitian Salary UK (NHS)
If you are in the UK, then you will likely be employed by the NHS, which follows a similar pay scale structure.
As per the NHS payscales, the starting salary for a Band 5 dietitian is ￡28,407 (36,173 USD). After two years, you can move up to the next level, which is band 6, where you start at a salary of ￡35,392 (45,068 USD). This can go up to ￡81,138 at a consultant level (103,321 USD). This is a general overview as they may vary slightly between different trusts.
Dietitian Salary United States
So, in the States, the Academy of Dietetics carry out regular surveys on the compensation of dietetics as a career.
According to the most recent 2021 Compensation & Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession, the median hourly wage among practising registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) is $33.65 per hour (as of January 1, 2021). If annualized, this equates to a full-time salary of approximately $70,000 per year.
As with any profession, salaries and fees vary by region of the country, employment settings, scope of responsibility and supply of RDNs. Salaries increase with experience, and many RDNs — particularly those in business, management, education and research — earn incomes above $90,000.
Dietitian Salary Canada
In Canada, they have a new grad survey for dietitians. According to the 2020 survey, 75% of newly graduated dietitians secured a job within the first 12 months and had earnings of:
$55-$65,000 22% (41,520-49,070 USD)
$65-$75,000 31% (49,070-56,619 USD)
$75-$85,000 21% (56,619-64,168 USD)
Dietitian Salary Private Hospitals
I have not worked in a private hospital, but from my knowledge, the pay is very similar to the public pay scales. However there may be slight other job perks, like the ability to join health insurance schemes, more flexible hours and better working conditions. However, this will, of course, vary between hospitals.
Dietitian Salary Working In Industry
Now, this area is a bit more interesting, and there can be more scope for salary negotiations here.
Firstly, what do I mean by “industry”?
Definition: Industry specialist dietitians work in an area of dietetics where the research, development and production of nutritional products, services, resources and communications are the main outputs. Industry can include both medical nutrition and commercial enterprises.British Dietetic Association
To break this down into an easier-to-digest format, think about companies like Abbott, which owns Ensure, or Danone, which owns Actimel or even Apple and Myfitness Pal. Hopefully, at least one of these products resonates with you. All of these companies provide nutrition products or services, and they need dietitians to help make the product, research nutrition trends and/or provide consultancy services. Your role could be anything from research, development, marketing, and sales to making social media content!
And you could be working for these companies at any level, all the way up to a medical director. Who knows, you could even build your own company and be the CEO or COO. So the earning potential in one of these roles can POTENTIALLY be much higher.
But I am saying potentially because I’m going to refer back to the public pay scales again; it’s very hard (but not impossible) to request a higher salary than a dietitian with a similar skill set or level of experience. For example, if you are a newly qualified dietitian with 1-2 years of experience, a company is unlikely to be interested in paying you way above the normal salary. They will often use the pay scales as a benchmark.
However, private companies can pay you whatever they want. They are not confined to these pay scales. So, you are in a position to negotiate. If you can argue that you will provide immense value with a high return on investment (maybe you possess unique qualifications and specialized expertise), then it may be appropriate to engage in negotiations. In these situations, it’s important to be assertive and stand up for yourself.
Additional benefits of working in industry may include:
- Private health insurance.
- Lunch allowance if you are field-based.
- Access to a company car.
Disadvantages: Working in industry may be less secure; for example, if the company performs poorly, there could be an increased risk of layoffs/redundancy.
Dietitian Salary - Tax-Efficient
This may not be an option for everyone, but you pay a LOT of taxes in most countries. There are parts of the world where you can get a very high salary, and most of it is take-home pay. You just need to be willing and have the flexibility to move to a paradise island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. e.g., Bermuda!
Dietitian Salary – Private-Work/Freelance
Another option is to work for yourself, and the INCREASED POTENTIAL EARNINGS here are huge! If this is of interest, let me know in the comments, and I can do a full article on my tips for venturing into the world of private practice. When you work for yourself, the sky’s the limit with your income. The harder you choose to work, generally, the more you make. As we have discussed, this is NOT the case when you work for a corporation or hospital. In those settings, you make a finite salary no matter how many patients you see in a day. But in private practice, the reality is much different.
And as you grow your business and more and more people become aware of the services you provide – the busier you will get. The more patients you see, the more money you make. Therefore, there becomes a somewhat linear relationship between your personal output in your practice and your income.
It may even be an option for you to start this as a side hustle as an adjunct to your 9-5 job. I will preface this by saying, though, that private practice is not for everyone. It certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted. I have seen some dietitians attempt to go private, and they have crashed and burned. You do need a high work ethic and a business mindset. If you don’t currently have a business mindset, you CAN learn.
Working for yourself requires a lot of commitment, particularly at the beginning, where you may be working long hours with minimum reward. However, with the right approach, there is potential to make a lot of money whilst scaling down your hours.
As a private practice dietitian, you can do many things:
- Working with patients.
- Hosting nutrition workshops/webinars.
- Provide consultancy services.
- Media work.
- Health writing.
- Learn more about what freelance dietitians do here.
Now, to be as objective as possible with facts and figures, I’m going to share the example of Katie Dodd, a private practice dietitian who openly shares income reports on the Internet. Her income report for 2021 was “$150,045.56. Now, this is pre-tax and expenses and the breakdown is below. But interestingly, she doesn’t see any clients. This just shows that there are so many things you can do as a dietitian beyond seeing clients.
Katie Dodds Income breakdown in 2021.
- Courses: $73,710.63 (48.22%)
- Affiliate Sales: $24,894.56 (16.59%)
- Ad Revenue: $22,981.73 (15.32%)
- Coaching/Mastermind: $20,226.00 (13.48%)
- E-Books: $3,033.53 (2.02%)
- Webinars: $1,980.30 (1.32%)
- Work with Brands: $1,320.00 (0.88%)
- Prizes from Coaching: $1,100.00 (0.73%)
- Digital Goods: $798.81 (0.53%)
Now, a downside to working for yourself is while your potential income can be MUCH higher, so is the financial risk.
When you are an employee, there is very little financial risk. You show up for work, do your job and get paid. Often, your employer contributes a portion of your health insurance; they assume responsibility for your liability insurance, and they even pay you for taking time off. Working for yourself often means no paid maternity leave, sick leave, etc.
In private practice, the scenario is much different.
Unfortunately, if your patients don’t show up for their visits, you don’t get paid. That is not to say that you cannot charge them if they don’t properly cancel; however, in order to make money in private practice, you may need to have a steady flow of patients. Also, if you have a slow month, you still need to pay your rent and cover the cost of your utilities. You will also have start-up costs like purchasing your own computer and software.
Dietitian Salary – Media Work
Next, I want to touch on income as a media dietitian. Whilst this is an area that may be hard to break into initially, there is also a huge opportunity for financial reward if you can do this well.
Again, take another example of dietitian Amy Gorin from Master the Media: “How I Earned $261,502.47 in Media & Brand Partnerships in A Year”
Dietitian Salary – Blogging, Social Media & YouTube
I also want to look at blogging, social media and YouTube in more detail.
These are all platforms that, if approached correctly, can make great income streams for dietitians. The internet is flooded with nutrition advice, but very little of it is actually coming from reputable sources.
- Having your own self-hosted website (FYI, this is not Wix or Squarespace) has the ability to earn you ad revenue.
- Some social media platforms like YouTube directly pay their creators.
- Many businesses are willing to pay a lot of money for sponsored posts and ads.
- And with an engaged following, you can make money through affiliate platforms.
A great example is Abbey Sharp, whose net worth is estimated to range between $1 million and $5 million.
Opportunities in Business:
Finally, as a dietitian, you possess great expertise and opportunities to start your own business, whether it is related to nutrition or not. Of course, this is not something you would jump into right after obtaining your dietetic degree. However, as you progress in your career, you will discover numerous opportunities in the nutrition industry. All it takes is one brilliant idea followed by action, and the possibilities are endless.
Take the example of the founder of “Dietitian Boss”, Libby Rothschild, which is now a one million-dollar business.
When we look at average salaries across the globe, a regular dietitian job will make you an average salary. But, there are many opportunities for dietitians to expand their earnings. However, many healthcare professionals are not very well educated in business or personal finance. We are taught about patient care and clinical work, not taxes. Many of us join employment pension schemes and never ask any questions.
In recent years I have spent a lot of time improving my financial literacy and my advice to any dietitian or aspiring dietitian would be the same. It’s not something you should push off until a few years down the line because if you understand anything about compounding, the sooner you start, the better.
This article was all about a dietitian’s salary.
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Hi there! My name is Maria, and I am a Registered Dietitian practising in Ireland and Bermuda. I have extensive experience in helping clients improve their health through the power of good nutrition. I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Additionally, if there are nutrition topics or recipes you would like me to make in future posts, please let me know. I would be more than happy to help.
Stay happy and healthy 💚
Your Registered Dietitian
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