English Language Requirements

The Dietitians Board (the Board) is required by the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCA Act) to ensure that applicants are able to communicate and comprehend effectively in English in order to work as a Registered Dietitian in New Zealand (section 16 (a&b)).

If English is not an applicant’s first language, the Board requires an applicant to demonstrate proficiency in English before registration can proceed per the Board’s English Language Requirements Policy.

How is ‘first language’ defined?

‘First Language’ (native language/mother tongue) is defined as the language a person learns first, usually from their family.

Accepted English language tests

The Board accepts English language test results from either the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Occupational English Test (OET).

Information including locations, contact details and dates for IELTS examinations in New Zealand and overseas is available at https://ielts.co.nz/.

Information including locations, contact details and dates for OET examinations is available at http://www.occupationalenglishtest.org/.

New Zealand trained dietitians

To demonstrate proficiency in English, an applicant with a New Zealand dietetic qualification must submit a declaration from their Board-accredited education provider that states they are able to communicate and comprehend effectively in English in order to work as a Registered Dietitian in New Zealand.

Overseas trained dietitians

Overseas trained dietitians, including those who trained in Australia, who do not have English as their first language, must demonstrate the following level of achievement in one of the two tests accepted by the Board before registration can proceed:

  • IELTS at the Academic level with an overall score of 7.5 and a minimum of 7 in each band, OR
  • OET with A or B in all four sections.

All components of the test must be passed and dated within the 12 months preceding the Board’s receipt of the application form.

Request for additional documents

The Dietitians Board has discretionary power to require proof of English language competence at any time for any applicant.

The Board shall not approve registration where there is doubt about an individual’s ability to communicate effectively in English. Applicants in this situation shall be managed on a case by case basis. The Board reserves the right to make further enquiries by:

  1. seeking additional information from sources such as dietetic workplace training educators/supervisors, OR
  2. requiring the applicant to attend an interview with a Board nominated assessor.

If deficiencies in skills are reported after Registration, practitioners may be required to undertake remedial English language training and then pass one of the two tests accepted by the Board as outlined above.