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How to become a dietitian in the UK

Hello everyone, for my first blog post, I want to tell you a little about my journey as a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist from Brazil living in London and obtaining dietitian registration in the UK.

I arrived in England in December 2021, recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in nutrition from Faculdade Federal de Lavras (UFLA), Brazil, and it all started while I was still in university. I already had well-laid plans to move to Europe, initially considering going to Ireland. With that in mind, during my final year of graduation, I began preparing all the necessary documents, and this is the first tip I would like to give to those who plan to validate their diploma and work as a dietitian overseas.

The second tip is to thoroughly research how the field of nutrition operates in the country where you intend to move. I mention this because here in the UK, we have different categories such as "Nutritional Therapists", "Nutritionists" and "Dietitians", with dietitians being the only professionals qualified to provide care and work with both healthy and/or sick individuals. Dietitian is the professional title in the nutrition field that is regulated by law and governed by a code of ethics, equivalent to the title of Nutritionist in Brazil.

During my final year of graduation, I contacted the coordinator of the Nutrition course, the undergraduate department, the department of international relations, and professors responsible for internship supervision to inform them that I would need documents in English for the international diploma validation process. All the necessary documentation was found on the HCPC website (The Health and Care Professions Council), the governing body for healthcare professionals in the UK, including:

  • Arts therapists.

  • Biomedical scientists.

  • Chiropodists / podiatrists.

  • Clinical scientists.

  • Dietitians.

  • Hearing aid dispensers.

  • Occupational therapists.

  • Operating department practitioners.

  • Orthoptists

  • Paramedics

  • Physiotherapists

  • Practitioner psychologists

  • Prosthetists / orthotists

  • Radiographers

  • Speech and language therapists

Before January 2021, the entire process was done using printed paper, which had to be sent by post to the HCPC address. After January, it was updated, and now it is done online. I started my application in May 2022, and everything was done within the HCPC platform itself. However, it is necessary that ALL documents to be printed copies with the "certified copy" stamp, scanned, and uploaded to the HCPC website.

Documents for the Dietitian process in the UK:

  • IELTS test with a minimum overall score of 7 and no section below 6.5.

  • College/University diploma.

  • All course syllabi in English (if from your own University, no translation is required; otherwise, it must be an authorised translation).

  • HCPC registration form to be filled out with all University courses, grades, and syllabi. It must be signed and stamped by the University (available for download on the website).

  • Personal documents (passport or BRP/ID card, proof of address).

  • Letter from your employers with a signature or letter from your internship supervisor, if you have recently graduated (as was my case).

  • Letter from CRN confirming your active registration without pending matters.

Additionally, it is important to note that the process can only be undertaken by those with a European passport or a valid visa allowing legal work in the UK.

The third tip I would like to share took me a long time to understand how it worked, and I would like to help others who may need it. All the documents must be in the form of a copy + certified copy, meaning they need to have a stamp that guarantees the copy is identical to the original, which would be equivalent to a notarised copy (cópia autenticada - in Portuguese) in Brazil. However, in the UK, we don't have this type of service as it is done in the registry office. The people who can certify a document are: a bank or building society official, councillor, minister of religion, dentist, chartered accountant, solicitor or notary, teacher or lecturer, and this person cannot be a relative or acquaintance, they cannot have any kind of relationship, and they cannot live at the same address. Healthcare professionals like dietitians and doctors can also provide this type of certification.

Let me share a little bit about my case. The first thing I did was to arrange for all the course syllabi to be in English. My college provided some already translated documents, which saved me a lot of money as I didn't have to get them officially translated. 99% of the syllabi were not fully translated, so I offered to do this work myself and sent the documents to the International Relations Department for review and signing. This process took about 4 to 5 months because I had to format the documents, translate nearly 100 documents in total, save them as PDF, send them to the relevant department, and wait for a response. I had my diploma and transcript officially translated in the UK to avoid the need for apostille (which is required for Brazilian documents to be used in another country).

When I arrived in London, I took a few days off to explore and then dedicated my time to the process after a month. I started my IELTS preparatory course in February and studied intensively for two months. My course was in-person from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 12:45 pm, and every day there were homework activities to be completed and submitted the next day. Additionally, I chose to have one-on-one classes focused on speaking and writing once a week with a private teacher, so my English study amounted to over 6 hours per day. I really wanted to feel well-prepared for this test because it's not difficult, but rather tricky. At the end of March, I took the online test, which usually takes 3 to 5 business days for the results to be released or 2 weeks for the paper-based test. Mine took 1 week (online).

With the test results in hand, I started following up with my employers, professors, and project supervisors at the university to request the final reference letters, and this also took some time. With all the documents ready, I printed them and took to my English teacher to sign and certify. The signed and certified documents were then scanned using the iPhone's built-in tool and uploaded to the online platform on the HCPC website. At the end of this process, a fee of £495 is required for the application review. The process takes around 60 business days from the submission of complete documentation. The result can be approved, denied, or they may indicate the need for additional study based on their assessment.

To summarise the process with dates to give you an idea of the timeline:

  • Application submitted on 10/05/2022 through the platform.

  • Email received on 07/07/2022 - Application accepted, awaiting verification by email from my previous employer and the university.

  • Email received on 20/09/2022 - Asked to confirm a date which, unfortunately, I mistyped, causing a delay in the process. I contacted them on the same day and corrected the error. However, I had to call every day to ensure they received the email and reviewed the date.

  • Email received on 11/10/2022 - After calling in the morning to follow up, I received an email in the afternoon confirming acceptance and providing a link to pay the £196.24 fee for Dietitian registration with the HCPC (I will include a screenshot of the fee below).

After confirming the payment, I received my dietitian registration number via email.

Please note that the information provided here is based on my personal experience at the time I went through the process, and it may vary over the years. If you have any other questions about the process or documents, please leave them in the comments, and I will try to help, or you can directly contact the HCPC.

For more information:

HCPC website:

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