Country – Hungary
In Hungary currently there are two higher education institutions providing dietician courses, one of them in the capital city, Budapest and the other in the town of Pécs, which was designated the European Capital of Culture in 2010. By the end of the four-year BSc programme undergraduates become experts of nutrition and provisioning. However, besides theoretical knowledge some years of work experience is also essential to turn into a real and recognised expert. Having done the BSc training, qualified dieticians can choose from a number of opportunities; those in search of taking up a career as a nutritionist can primarily find a job in health care institutions, public or private hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, pharmaceutical or manufacturing companies. Dieticians who want to enter into public catering can take up a job in day nurseries, kindergartens, schools or catering companies. As preventive healthcare has come to the forefront, dieticians have more avenues for a job ranging from the National Public Health Service, municipalities, hotels to spa salons. After a few years of professional/work experience, the specialist can also become self-employed. Health website visitors and internet users may ask dieticians for guidance on lifestyle, well-being or anti-ageing, and if necessary they can make an appointment for personal consultation. Dieticians have an important role in dispelling nutrition myths, for which their appearance in various specialist journals and daily newspapers and in the media is a good chance.
To fulfil the need for life-long learning, MSc in Nutrition and Food Sciences is offered as a university degree. This course is available in Budapest, Pécs and Debrecen. Due to the Bologna Process, this two-year course can be chosen by not only dieticians but also by biologists and food engineers for instance, which is not so favourable concerning the boundaries of professional competence. Having done the MSc training dieticians become specialists of Nutrition and Food Sciences. As a result, their job opportunities expand further allowing them to apply for positions in food companies, research institutes, national, international and EU research and development companies, and last but not the least organisations dealing with food inspection and supervision.
Experts who prefer research work can take up their field of interest as early as their college years. Participation in the work of Scientific Student Association is an excellent opportunity. Attending a doctoral school after graduation gives an opportunity to be further involved in scientific work. Getting a doctoral degree requires three years in theory, but in practice this period is often extended. A good command of a foreign language – primarily English - is essential for this work. In Hungary, an intermediate level language exam is required for graduation, but anyone with the intention of improving their language skills has the opportunity to attend a postgraduate training called translator-interpreter specializing in health sciences.