Teresa-Boyce | A day in the life of a health pro | PICTURE | Women's Health & Fitness

The nutritionist: Teresa Boyce, The Health Whisperer

My days are filled with face-to-face consults, formulating diet plans, sending follow-up emails, writing nutrition articles or blogs and researching for upcoming nutrition presentations. On clinic days, I’m usually up to see my first client at 7am and my last client as late as 8pm.

Whereas dietitians have more of a medical approach, naturopathic nutritionists are holistic with their views on health and healing. We will recommend foods in their most natural state, organic and biodynamic where possible, and assess the whole person, not merely the numbers on the scales.

I didn’t go to university. I obtained an Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine from a natural therapies college, which took five years part time. It was a heavy workload with lots of science, including chemistry and biochemistry, but I loved every minute of it. We had an on site student clinic where we consulted with clients face to face. There is a lot of work setting up a private practice and I wish I had had the opportunity to move into an internship post college.

In Australia, there is no legal protection over the term nutritionist. Unfortunately, this can be very misleading. A fully qualified naturopathic nutritionist will be government accredited with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). A qualified naturopathic nutritionist will also be registered with professional associations such as the Australian Traditional Medicine Society, enabling their clients to claim nutrition consultations with private health funds.

Your earning capacity depends on your qualification and where you decide to work. As a guide, the starting salary is around $40,000, the average is $60,000, and a senior salary $80,000.

As a naturopathic nutritionist, I went straight into private practice. I am not going to lie, the first few years were long hours, tough financially and it took a couple of years to build my clientele. Once you are established and seeing 20-plus clients a week, you can earn a comfortable income. It’s like any career. How much you earn is up to you and how hard you are willing to work.