Five career success tips for internationally-trained dietitians in Canada
Published March 6, 2023.
Estimated reading time: 3.5 minutes
- Registered Dietitians (RDs) are in demand in different parts of Canada.
- There is currently a shortage of registered dietitians and as a result, there is a growing demand for RDs in various health-care settings, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, community health centres and private practice.
- It’s important that internationally-trained dietitians ask questions and leverage the information and insights, available from resources around them, to take advantage of Canadian career opportunities.
They can be helpful resources guiding our nutritional decision-making, and overall health, but there aren’t nearly enough of them in Canada.
Registered Dietitians (RDs) play a critical role in promoting healthy eating habits and preventing chronic diseases. They are highly skilled professionals who have completed a four-year degree in nutrition, a supervised practice program, and a provincial certification exam. RDs have the knowledge and expertise to provide evidence-based recommendations that help individuals make informed decisions about their nutrition and lifestyle choices.
In Canada, there is currently a shortage of registered dietitians, which is impacting the healthcare system's ability to provide adequate nutrition care to Canadians. According to a report by Dietitians of Canada, there are only about 13,000 RDs in the country, and the demand for their services is growing. This shortage is attributed to various factors, such as an aging population, changing demographics and a lack of awareness about the role of RDs in the Canadian health-care system.
The ongoing labour shortage of registered dietitians has significant implications for Canadians' health and well-being. Diet-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, are on the rise, and the health-care system needs more RDs to help prevent and manage these conditions. As a result, there is a growing demand for RDs in various health-care settings, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, community health centres and private practice. The need for more RDs highlights the importance of this profession and the role they play in promoting and maintaining healthy eating habits in Canada.
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It also highlights the growing opportunities for internationally-trained dietitians to find career success in Canada. The growing demand for these regulated professionals in many parts of Canada is why the Windmill Microlending blog interviewed Alka Chopra, a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and self-care advocate based in Toronto. Chopra’s career has been diverse. She’s worked in academic and corporate settings, in communities and clinical environments. For the last 11 years, she has worked in the clinical space focusing on individuals living with chronic disease. Chopra came to Canada from India in 2006 with her husband and two young children. She upgraded her education and skills to practice as a registered dietitian in Canada by completing the Canadian RD licensing process. Today, Chopra has achieved many of her career goals and attributes her success to having the right attitude, acceptance and willingness to learn all that was needed to move forward.
Registered Dietitian Alka Chopra arrived to Canada from India in 2006 and offers career success tips to internationally-trained dietitians who wish to reach their professional goals in their new country.
Chopra shares her career advice for other internationally-trained dietitians below:
Chopra’s Success Strategy #1: Be prepared to learn
Be open to learning and accepting the new processes, rules and regulations of the country you are now calling your home. Do not criticize or belittle them. This is your new reality in Canada. Understanding these processes will help you better serve your Canadian clients or patients and do so in a way that follows the rules of the land.
Chopra’s Success Strategy #2: Explore financial supports available to you
Research bursaries and scholarships so you can make the best use of the financial resources available. There are several. It’s a matter of finding them. Windmill Microlending, for example, is a Canadian charity offering microloans to immigrants and refugees, of up to $15,000, that can be used to pay for the costs of credential recognition, licensing, training courses or qualifying exams.
WATCH: Alka Chopra, Registered Dietitian, based in Toronto, shares three career success tips for internationally-trained dietitians.
Chopra’s Success Strategy #3: Ask questions of the resources around you
Never be afraid to ask questions of your growing Canadian professional network. Maybe you’ve made a new connection on LinkedIn or developed a strong rapport with a professor in a professional development course you’re taking. Be respectful of their time. Leverage the information and insights they offer you. Never ask for favours and make sure to listen carefully to their knowledge and experience. Especially, those who were once immigrants or refugees themselves. They speak from life experience and can help you avoid costly mistakes.
Chopra’s Success Strategy #4: Maintain a positive outlook
If you are required to take some courses to upgrade. Don’t complain about this. Negativity will not get you anywhere. Be the best version of yourself in professional development or training environments. You never know when a connection you make in these settings could lead to your next career opportunity. The Canadian dietetic world is small, and you want to develop a strong and positive reputation from the outset of your career in Canada.
Chopra’s Success Strategy #5: Demonstrate confidence in yourself
Believe in the skills you have brought from your home country but also in your own capacity to succeed in your new one. Part of succeeding in any profession is being confident in your skills and abilities. As an internationally-trained dietitian, you have already shown, in your career, you can learn and achieve success. You’ve done it before and now you can do it again in Canada. You must trust in your abilities and be confident in your ultimate success. There is certainly no shortage of opportunities for registered dietitians across the country, today, and this is expected to continue in the years ahead. You can take advantage of these growing opportunities!
Find more information about Canadian dietitian careers for internationally-trained professionals below:
About the Canadian dietitian licensing process
Career resources for internationally-trained dietitians in Canada
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