Studying & Working in Fields Related to Dietetics

There are several universities in Germany that offer Bachelors and Masters degrees in Nutrition, Home Economics & Food Science (Ecotrophology), Public Health Nutrition and other nutrition-related study programs.  Please note that none of these programs leads to a registration in dietetics in Germany according to the Dietitian Law.  The following link provides a comprehensive list with all study programs offered in Germany: 
www.hochschulkompass.de/en/degree-programmes/search.html 

In addition to state registered dietitians other professions (e.g. ecotrophologists and nutritionists(2)) work in the field of dietetics and nutrition too, e.g. performing counselling in nutrition and dietetics.  This is possible due to the fact that the dietitian law regulates the professional title, educational program etc. for dietitians.  The work fields for dietitians, such as counselling in nutrition and dietetics, is not regulated and protected by law. 

Since 2001 legal regulations have been established to protect clients and patients from frivolous nutrition consultants. These regulations only concern the refund of expenses through the statutory health insurance (SHI) (Krankenkasse) in regard to participation in courses in preventive nutrition. Refunds for counselling in special diets are not regulated and depend on the SHI. 

In 2000 the German Dietitian Association brought a legal action against the fact that dietary intervention is not a therapy like physiotherapy.  In 2000 the "Federal Social Court" (BSG) declared that dietary intervention is a therapy.  Now the "Federal Joint Committee" (G-BA) has to decide if dietary invention will be adopted in the "Guideline on Remedies" (Heilmittelrichtlinie).  In the case of the adoption in the "Guideline on Remedies" a dietary invention has to be paid from the SHI if necessary.  The G-BA has not made any decision to date.

However, if ecotrophologists or nutritionists offer counseling in nutrition and dietetics they must have further training in dietetics due to its differences to other fields.  Clients cannot claim a refund for expenses for counselling in nutrition if the practitioner has not had this further education.  Dietitians have to prove their continuous further education by showing the SHI a specific certificate from an accredited association, such as the German Dietitian Association.

**********************

(2) Ecotrophology (germ. Oecotrophologie or Ökotrophologie) is only known in the German speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland). It´s a university level course which leads to a Bachelor or Master degree. Due to the Bologna declaration in all European countries Bachelor and Master degrees have been launched. Before this, there was also the option of obtaining a "Diplom" at a German university, which took 4-5 years. 

Ecotrophologists (germ. Oecotrophologe or Ökotrophologe) study Home economics, nutrition and food science. They can specialise in dietetics or in nutrition but there is no "state registered program" or other quality criteria for the university education in this field. This makes it very difficult to give a statement about the practical and theoretical knowledge of an ecotrophologist because, the states in Germany (Bundesländer) together with the universities independently regulate university education.