Before you choose a distance learning course in Nutrition, it is best to ensure the qualification you will gain from the course is recognised on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) or The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).
The NQF sets out levels against which a qualification can be recognised in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The SCQF helps you understand and compare qualifications in Scotland. You can find out more about all the different levels of qualifications on DirectGov
These frameworks helps learners make informed decisions about the qualifications they want to pursue by comparing the levels of different qualifications and identifying different progression routes. The recognition of these courses means they meet standards set by the Qualifications & Curriculum Authority and the qualifications meet the needs of learners and employers.
What do these courses involve?
Distance learning normally involves internet based study. However, methods of study may vary between institutions. Check with the individual institutions when enquiring about any course. Courses are varied in length and workload depending on the level of qualification being studying for.
You should choose the course that suits you best: think about the study method you prefer, the amount of support you get, and whether it is recognised by employers and education institutions.
Who should take these courses?
Some speciality courses (e.g. weight management) maybe more relevant to those who have completed some form of higher education (e.g. BSc or MSc) in Nutrition or related subjects rather than those who are new to nutrition and/or science. This is because the course content may focus upon a specific area of nutrition such as sports nutrition, and not give a broad overview or much background information. In addition, some courses maybe more appropriate for those who are already working within the profession as the aim of the course may be to enhance and contribute to the individual’s continuing professional development (CPD). Please talk to the course providers to check if the course is suitable for you.
Once I have achieved a vocational qualification, can I become a nutritionist?
Though there are many courses specifically in nutrition mainly in the private sector, they lead to qualifications below the level of undergraduate degrees or their equivalent in the UK. There are very few vocational courses at the level or with the right volume of credits in the UK to lead to the award of a BSc degree or a BSc degree with honours. A vocational qualification alone is not enough to join the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists (UKVRN)
because you will not have enough underpinning scientific knowledge to meet our competencies. However, it is a good starting point and can help you progress towards undertaking higher level study such as a BSc.
What job prospects are there with a vocational qualification?
Vocational qualifications can help you get started in a career, for example, in the food industry (hospitality, catering and retail). To find out more about careers in this sector, try the website for the Food and Drink Sector Skills Council: Improve
To find out about work in a fitness or sports club, look at the Sport, Recreation and Allied Occupations Sector Skills Organisation, SkillsActive
To find out more about careers and work in health and care, contact the Sector Skills Organisation, Skills for Health