All you need to know about working as a dietitian in the UK

What is a dietitian?

A dietitian plays an important role in the NHS working with other allied health professionals as part of a multidisciplinary team. They may carry out a range of roles from providing advice in the community to work toward a healthier lifestyle to ensuring patients in intensive care receive the correct tube feeds. A dietitian starts as a band 5 on qualification, moving up to band 6 typically after a couple of years. There’s the opportunity to move up through the NHS banding system as you develop your experience.

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What is a dietitian’s salary?

In the NHS for permanent staff the salary bands work as follows, outside of London, London salaries do attract an uplift:

  • Band 5: £28,407 to £34,581
  • Band 6: £35,392 to £42,618
  • Band 7: £43,742 to £50,056

Please note that dietitians working in and around London may qualify for Higher Cost Area Supplements (HCAS) rates. You can find HCAS pay scales on NHS Employers.   

To work as a dietitian, you must be registered with the HCPC as it is a protected title. To register you’ll need an accredited degree in Nutrition and Dietetics or similar (BSc or MSc). For Band 7 roles, a master’s degree is frequently required. It is also advisable to register with British Dietetic Association (BDA). 

Locum dietitian pay rates

For temporary (locum) assignments, the rates are paid hourly and can be more than you would earn in a permanent salaried position. Pay rates vary depending on your contract, here are estimates for each band:

  • Band 5: £18-20 per hour
  • Band 6: £21-26 per hour
  • Band 7: £25-30 per hour

To work as a locum in the UK you’ll be asked to complete a range of documentation including health screening forms and criminal record checks. Pulse have a dedicated compliance team to help with this process. We will help with any aspect of the registration process including providing free training courses.

The main benefits of working as a locum are:

  • Flexibility: take assignments around travel and holiday plans.
  • Variety: gain experience in a range of different UK cities and cover a range of different caseloads.
  • Money: locums typically earn 30-40% more than their permanent equivalents.
  • Security of work: although the typical locum contract is around 3 months initially, many are offered extensions. With the high number of vacancies, there will always be opportunities.

There are typically 40+ different locum dietitian opportunities (link to filtered job search) available through Pulse across the UK.

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The top four cities to work in are

  • London: While it is the most competitive city to find work in, this bustling metropolis has something for everyone. Including many of the UKs most famous private and NHS hospitals.
  • Birmingham: Britain’s second largest city. Pulse run sole supplier (Master Vendors) with the biggest NHS Trusts in and around the city, so you’ll have access to a regular stream of vacancies.
  • Leeds: Located in the heart of Yorkshire with easy access to the Yorkshire Dales and historic city of York and town of Harrogate. A large number of roles in acute and community settings are available in and around Leeds.
  • Manchester: Home to two world class football teams. Opportunities are frequently available to work in one of the UK’s leading heart centres and other prestigious private and NHS hospitals.

We also cover work in rural locations and small towns, so whatever your interests or preferred location, we’ll have options for you.

Dietitian opportunities with Pulse

If you want to stay up-to-date on locum and permanent dietitian roles, register your interest with our recruitment specialists. Our friendly and knowledgeable recruitment specialists will discuss your requirements to help you find a job that’s right for you.

Ready to apply now? Search and find dietitian jobs on Pulse.

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Register your interest and we will be in touch to discuss your work preferences.

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