Nutrition is such a valuable part of every person’s day-to-day life, proper eating keeps humans healthy and happy. If you have found yourself passionate about helping people heal their bodies through food then it is important to get the appropriate education.
Becoming a certified nutritionist requires accreditation from a nationally recognized association. There are many online courses, but these offer the best ones for proper nutrition studies:
- Stanford Nutrition Science
- ISSA (Partnered with Precision Nutrition)
- National Academy of Sports Medicine
From learning scientific information behind food to managing schedules and clients, finding an effective course will allow you to kickstart your career as a nutritionist. Having the appropriate qualification will give you the confidence to take charge and be effective. Read on to learn about nutrition certifications and the best courses you can take to become certified.
What Is a Nutrition Certification?
Choosing the right certification is important and dependent on what your career as a nutritionist will look like. Getting a certification means you have gone through the appropriate courses and studied nutrition science to a point that you can guide others in their health journey. Here are some things to consider when getting a certification:
- What type of nutrition coach you want to be
- If the programs values align with your perspective on life
- Ensuring that the certification covers the topics you feel you want to deal with
It is important for you to review your priorities when it comes to getting your certification so you can focus on the information you need to learn.
Aligning the Program with Your Values
Maybe you want to make meal plans for people and align them with their workout program or you may be more interested in the psychological aspect of food and how you can help people change their behaviors. Whatever your goals may be it is imperative that you align them with your certification so your clients can be trusted that their needs are being met.
When searching for the correct program, look at the coaching exercises they teach, the food science information, and how they support you in building relationships with clients. From there you can align with your needs to make the best decision.
Nutrition Certification vs. Nutrition Degree
There are many routes to take to ensure you have the appropriate knowledge to guide others in their nutrition. Many people get confused about the difference between getting a degree versus a certification.
Receiving a degree in nutrition whether that be an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, will provide you with extensive knowledge on the subject due to the fact that you will spend a minimum of two years in the classroom. Getting a degree means you will become a certified nutritionist upon graduation.
Degrees in nutrition are immensely valuable and provide a basis learned from experts and a nutrition program at a school. Unfortunately, this option is lengthy and can be very costly.
A certification is a simpler and more cost-effective way to become a certified nutritionist. These programs usually take eight to 24 weeks to complete and are done online. Certified professionals can counsel clients on meal planning, food choices, and other health goals just like practitioners with a degree.
Once you start working with clients it is imperative to stay on top of your nutrition education. Though certifications do not expire, the food and health industry is ever-evolving from a scientific perspective. There are options to take other online courses to stay on top of your knowledge and be able to most effectively coach clients.
Whether you continue to acquire certifications or take courses on websites like Skillshare or Udemy, you can continue to learn so you are providing clients with a valuable and high-level experience.
What Can I Do with a Nutrition Certification?
The value of studying nutrition is that there are a variety of paths that you can take and many industries need experts to guide clients and patients in their health journey. It is time to discuss the daily responsibilities of a certified nutritionist and some options you can pursue after gaining your nutrition certification. Some job responsibilities of a nutritionist include:
- Explaining the benefits of good nutrition
- Determining and reviewing the client’s health and dietary needs
- Developing appropriate meal plans for the client that brings budget and need into account
- Continuous assessment of how the meal plan is affecting the client
- Presenting good nutrition ideas to groups of people
- Raising awareness about health issues that the world is facing today
There are a few online nutrition jobs that nutritionists pursue after they have gained their certification. Many of these roles are based on the course you choose to take and the goals you have for your nutrition career.
Weight Management Consultant
If you receive your certification in relation to the weight management aspect of nutrition you can focus on serving clients in a one-on-one or group setting. Many gyms, weight loss programs, hospitals, and wellness spas hire weight management consultants to evaluate nutrition guidelines and consult clients on dietary best practices.
Hospitals and therapy practitioners point patients who struggle with eating disorders to weight management consultants to help their perspective with food and allow a nutrition expert to guide their meal plan. This direction is with the intention of supporting people who struggle, if helping others is something you are passionate about then this option might be for you.
Sports nutrition can be applied in many settings, from supporting college athletics to professional teams or seeing clients in a gym or fitness aspect. Physical therapy offices also need nutritionists as this can be a vital part of recovery for clients.
Many sports nutritionists work as independent consultants by offering services to athletes and fitness buffs of all kinds. This type of consulting is for people who want to push their health to another level and get personalized attention.
Corporate Nutrition Coach
Corporate companies know that healthy employees are more productive employees. Corporate nutrition coaches work in a variety of roles from guiding meal options for the cafeteria and implementing food initiatives to get employees to eat healthier.
Nutrition coaches are also used in other areas of business like spas, restaurant kitchens, and assisted living homes to guide meals and help ensure what is being served is ideal for employees and clients.
If you don’t have your certification already, you can become an online nutrition coach in no time! Just check out that article to learn how!
With the rise of a health-conscious society, many businesses are looking to offer more credible information around nutrition to their customers. Many places like kitchenware stores, farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and even private events bring in nutrition consultants to give presentations on healthy eating and meal plan options.
What’s the Average Salary of a Certified Nutritionist?
The average salary in the United States for a nutritionist is $52,785 per year. This salary can depend on many factors including where you live, your experience, and your education. Salary can also depend on what field you are working in and the number of years you have been practicing.
After you receive your certification and begin to progress in your career it is important to evaluate what you are charging clients and if that amount reflects the value you are providing. It is okay to increase your prices as time goes on and you have more to offer.
The 3 Best Programs to Get Your Nutrition Certification Online
Now it is time to choose the nutrition certification that will align with your goals, values, and budget. As you review our top recommended courses, think about what career path and knowledge you want to come out of the certification with.
These courses are highly recommended in the nutrition field and will provide you with extensive knowledge on coaching others through their nutrition journey.
1. Stanford Nutrition Science
The Stanford Nutrition Science certification takes a holistic approach to the science of food. In this course, you will learn about the molecular makeup of food and how it affects our bodies.
This certification will guide you in understanding the relationship between food and nutrition and how to develop nutrition plans for different individuals and their lifestyles. You will also learn how to interpret nutritional research based on nutrition labels, fad diets, and the effects of macronutrients on the human body.
Here are the details of the Stanford Nutrition Science certification:
- 8-week online course
- 8-10 hours per week
- Costs $2,400
- New cohorts start every three months
- Flexible learning through weekly modules that can be paused and revisited
- A detailed look at how each macronutrient works
- A detailed look at health and disease as it relates to nutrition
- Optional pediatric and adult malnutrition topics
The Stanford course is ideal for nutritionists who want to focus on meal plans or work in a hospital or health setting. This is also a great plan for those who are interested in working with children. You can visit their website for an informational brochure.
2. Precision Nutrition
The Precision Nutrition certification offers a high-level approach to nutrition and is ideal for those seeking an overall, intensive education on nutrition. When signing up you will receive a textbook that outlines your coursework to achieve a level 1 certification in nutrition.
Here are the details of the Precision Nutrition certification:
- Not a set timeline, go as can model
- Costs $999
- A high level look at the science of nutrition
- A detailed look at coaching clients in nutrition
- Enrollment in an online community with other PN nutritionists
The Precision course is ideal for people wanting to become nutrition coaches and guide people in their fitness journey. This course looks at the business of working with clients as much as it does the science of food, which is valuable in building relationships and gaining experience.
3. National Academy of Sports Medicine
The NASM certification is ideal for nutritionists who want to help in the field of athletics or helping from a behavioral perspective. You will learn a mix of science nutrition as well as an understanding of how to work cognitively with clients.
Here are the details of the NASM certification:
- Self-paced, but if working 8-10 hours a week it will take 10 weeks to complete
- Costs $629
- 100% online
- A detailed look at nutritional science
- A detailed look at behavior change strategies
- A detailed look at nutrition coaching
The NASM course is an overall valuable certification that will prepare you to work with clients and give good insight into the psychological aspect of the nutrition field. This is also a cost-effective course for anyone who wants to pursue their certification.
It is a rewarding and stimulating career path to work with clients in the field of nutrition. Now it is time to find the certification that fits your goals and needs for a career.
Once you have your accreditation you can hit the ground running with acquiring clients or searching for a job in the nutrition world. It is an ever-changing field that will challenge you to be your best and inspire people to become healthier and happier.
Once you complete your nutrition certification, there is still more learning to do. You can study nutrition on your own, or you can enroll in an online nutrition Master’s program. Just make sure you continue to develop your craft!