Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration as a Dietitian

The previous version of this updated article has been featured on the HCPC website.

Hi everyone! Today I'd like to share the complete registration process with the HCPC as a dietitian, while working in Pakistan.

If you are a dietetics student or a dietitian from Pakistan or from any part of South Asia who wants to register then this post might be of help to you.

I always admired dietitians working in the UK with the National Health Services (NHS) or those in the US and the fact that there are proper national level registration bodies like HCPC etc. and organisations like British Dietetics association UK (BDA) which provide professional support and indemnity insurance to all its members which was lacking in Pakistan.

I started looking into the HCPC registration process but I wasn't sure if I'd ever be able to get registered with them. Though I was qualified enough but I didn't get my hopes up.

So I went through their registration criteria. I have to say, it is very important that you go through all the standards before applying. They also have downloadable guidance document available on their site.

Since 2022, HCPC have moved registration process online with a few exceptions. You can find all the information on HPC website.  

So let's move on to what you would need to apply and how your application will be processed.

Apply for IELTS Academic Exam

The first thing to do would be prepping for IELTS academic exam. I know that sometimes the fear of not clearing and fulfilling the HCPC IELTS test criteria can make us loose hope and we might drop the whole idea of registering with an International organisation. But I can tell you if I can do it, so can you.

It all depends on understanding what the marking criteria the examiners use to mark your exam and then practicing on those points. So there are 4 parts of an IELTS academic test:

  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Reading

Each part has different marking points. Usually its the writing part which can be a bit difficult to understand. I know I found it challenging.

I was really serious and wanted to prepare well and pass all parts with a band 6.5 or above and overall band 7. So I searched the internet for credible resources and came across a group on facebook called IELTS Advantage by Chris Pell. He offers free mini courses and paid lifetime access courses. I read reviews for his IELTS VIP academy lifetime access course where he offered detailed explanation of each of the four parts along with practice material and coaching sessions. People were really happy with this course and have actually passed in the first attempt after taking it. I bought it and believe me, I scored overall band 7.5 with none below 6.5!

If you are interested in not being scammed or fooled around then trust me you should enroll in this course. I know its a lot of money but you get lifetime access and you won't regret it and there's a 30 day money back guarantee. You can check out his other courses as well, the links of which are given below:

Once you're ready, book your test by registering at British Council website. You can choose a date that suits you. You can either give it on a computer or paper. I went for the computer one which was pretty straight forward and easy.

Just a heads up! On the exam day, don't forget to take a couple of ID card copies, confirmation email printout for test date and the credit card details, if you used one to pay for the exam. I remember when I went for the exam and they asked for these documents. And there was no mention of these documents in the confirmation email.

Proof of Identity and Address

You need to provide proof of your identity, so make sure your ID card is up to date and not expired.

Also, if you are married and there is a change of name then you need to provide additional documents like marriage certificate.

I would advise you to get all your documents translated into english and verify them before starting the application.

My marriage certificate was in both languages; Urdu and English, so I didn't have to get it translated.

You would be asked to provide proof of the address where you live. For this, you can use any utility bill under your name with the current address, or house ownership papers or your bank statement-which should be a recent one. I used my bank statement but make sure the address matches the one where you live.

Attested Degree and Course Form

A piece of advice- as soon as you get your degree and transcript, get it attested by the Higher Education Commission Pakistan! I had a really bad experience as my bachelor's program title on the degree differed slightly from that on the transcript which took me more than a month to get corrected as my college had been given the status of University by that time.

You can sign up on the HEC portal. Upload your degrees and transcripts in your account. Then you can book for degree and transcript attestation either by going to their office personally or via TCS. The safest way is to go their personally, you'll have to wait for a while but you won't have to worry about your original documents being misplaced.

You can find the complete procedure on the HEC website.

You'll have to scan and upload all documents while applying online for HCPC registration. 

In addition to degree attestation, you'll have to fill a course form for each of your qualifications. This was the most annoying and time taking part of the application as some of my institutes were really cooperative while others, not so much. You can download the course form from HCPC website.

You will either have to request your admin via email to provide you with the course details which you can copy and paste or type. Make sure you add the subjects you studied and mention all the projects you did. HCPC wants to know which courses you took rather than the general outline. After carefully finishing the form, get it signed and stamped by the respective institution.

You'll also need to provide references from each educational institute, where you studied. It can be either a teacher or head of the department. Make sure you have their official email address (given at workplace) to submit with your application as personal email addresses are rejected by the HCPC.

Be mindful when filling the 'course start date' and 'degree awarded/ issued date'. Counter check these from admission card and degree. Also let your references know the exact dates which you mention in the application.

Submit a copy of the signed and stamped course form to the institute for record keeping.

While you're at it, request for a character certificate as well.

Proof of Training, Internship and Job

For this, you'll need to show letters or certificates you receive from the respective organisations. You can also attach recommendation letters from your employer or mentor.

You'll have to provide references for this part too.

You'd also need to write a description of what you did in the application. Make sure to add the most important bits- your roles and responsibilities.

If you are a member of an organisation, mention it here and attach proof.

Professional registration proof

If you are registered with any body like Pakistan Nutrition and Dietetics Society, mention it in this section. It always help if you are registered with your country's professional body, however, it is not mandatory.

Submitting application

So after completing all parts of the application and carefully rechecking, sign it, scan and attach all required documents with the online application. Don't forget to keep/print a copy of the application for yourself. And then submit it!

It will take a week or so for the application to reach them. I posted it on 23rd December 2019 and it was received by them around the 2nd January 2020. You can email or call them to ask if they got your application or not but it will take between two to four weeks before you hear back from them as they are quite busy.

Paying the Scrutiny fee

Once your application has been checked for completeness, you'll receive an email requesting payment of £539.65 scrutiny fee at a given link. This fee is non-refundable and your application processing won't begin until you have paid this fee.

Hope you find this article useful! :)