Nutrition certification is very popular, and for good reason. Having a nutrition certification helps you to find work in any field that requires a basic knowledge of food and nutrition, and can also help you to take your nutrition knowledge to the next level.
Nutrition certifications can be thought of as a specialized certification within the larger sphere of nutrition. Nutrition certifications are also known as certification in dietetics, nutrition, or food science.
Anyone who wants to open a business in the food industry, or want to become a foodie, or just want to try a new nutrition certification, must first understand what it means to be certified as a nutritionist. Before taking any certification program, you need to be sure that your resume is ready to be accepted by any prospective employers. The certification itself is certainly not a diploma that makes you qualified for the job, but it does give you a seal of approval, the minimum qualifications to prove that you have a greater knowledge and understanding of the food industry than the average person.
What do a doctor, a nutritionist, a certified clinical social worker, a nutrition coach on the side, and a personal trainer have in common?
This isn’t the start of a bad joke…
The answer: We spoke with individuals who worked in each of these fields, and they all agreed that obtaining a nutrition certification was worthwhile.
Is a nutrition certification, however, worthwhile for you?
We’ll look at that question in this post.
The reality is that the value of a nutrition certification is determined by your circumstances.
We put up this thorough guide, along with a free self-assessment form, to help you evaluate all of the benefits and draw your own conclusions.
You’ll also find the following information in this article:
- The most important things to ask yourself before pursuing a nutrition certification.
- There are five surprising advantages of being certified.
- Why does having a nutrition certification typically lead to more client success?
- How a nutrition certification may help you earn more money.
- Seven successful certified nutrition coaches from a variety of fields share their tips.
5 things to consider when deciding whether or not a nutrition certification is worthwhile
It may be difficult to determine if a nutrition certification is worthwhile. Partly because we all have varied definitions of “worth it.”
Is a nutrition certification, for example, worthwhile if you:
- Obtain the information you’ll need to reach your professional objectives?
- As a result, you’ll make more money.
- After that, do you expect to get additional customers or new opportunities?
- Do you want to learn something that will alter the way you think about nutrition?
- Make relationships with individuals in your industry who share your interests?
Consider the following questions to help you define what it means to you to be “worth it.”
How can you utilize this quiz to help you make a decision?
Each section below has a question at the conclusion of it. You’ll rate your answer on a scale of 0 to 5 on a scale of 0 to 5. (At the conclusion of the quiz, just click the number on your screen, and your scores will appear.)
You’ll receive a worth it/not worth it result once you’ve completed all five questions.
You’ll discover boxes labeled “dig deeper” with suggestions for additional contemplation if you’re not sure how to answer one or more of the five questions (or simply want to think about it from other perspectives).
Our recommendation is to have a diary on hand. Make a mental note of your ideas so you may go back to them while making your choice.
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Question 1: Does a nutrition certification cover a knowledge need for you?
According to the coaches we spoke with, a nutrition certification is worthwhile if it aids in the acquisition of essential information or abilities.
Here are a few instances of how a nutrition certification may help address knowledge gaps in the real world.
The personal trainer who aspired to be a nutrition expert
Personal trainer Tyler Buckingham, PN1, PPSC, saw the true magnitude of nutrition misunderstanding after the publication of a hugely successful Netflix nutrition video and the ensuing flood of client inquiries.
He wanted to get a deeper understanding of the conversation and be able to authoritatively respond to customer queries. Buckingham, who coaches a group of former athletes, adds, “It’s time to become certified in nutrition.”
Since being certified, he’s become a lot better at addressing customers’ dietary concerns, particularly the ones that aren’t easy to answer.
“I like having that freedom and being able to suggest, ‘Hey, you could try this or that.’ What are your plans? Let us have a discussion about it.’
Buckingham is confident that his customers are receiving answers to their concerns as well as the practical guidance they need to keep moving ahead.
The doctor who wanted to provide greater guidance
Kristina Hines, DO, PN1, a family medicine resident and CrossFit Level 1 coach, felt comfortable discussing fitness with patients. However, the few hours of dietary training she received in medical school were insufficient.
“I didn’t know what to advise them about nutrition,” she admits.
Her patients often inquired about how to eat, if certain diets were appropriate for them, and which foods relieved their problems.
Dr. Hines chose to seek a nutrition certification in order to get a better knowledge of nutrition.
Dr. Hines now feels confident in addressing almost any dietary issue that patients may have as a result of the certification training.
The qualified dietician who wants to learn more about changing one’s habits
When Jennifer Broxterman, MS, RD, received her nutrition certification, she was already a dietitian. But she was interested in learning more about behavior change psychology and motivational interviewing.
She adds, “As a university lecturer, I like seeing various teaching techniques and learning styles.”
Obtaining a Level 1 certification allowed her to acquire a better understanding of how behavior change works in order to effectively apply it with her customers.
Will you be able to bridge a knowledge gap with a nutrition certification?
have a significant knowledge gap already know everything
Look into it more.
- What do you want to gain by obtaining a nutrition certificate? What role will the certification play in your learning?
- What abilities would enable you to reach out to more people or enhance your interactions with them? Could obtaining a nutrition certification be beneficial?
- When it comes to dietary questions, how do you react? What does it feel like in comparison to how you want to feel?
Question #2: Will obtaining a nutrition certification provide you with extra and beneficial advantages?
People often claim advantages of certification that go beyond their original motivation, such as:
- increased trustworthiness
- greater self-assurance
- communication abilities have improved
- chances to learn from industry peers and professionals
- a more positive attitude about food
We’ll go through each of these advantages in detail below so you can determine if they’re worth it for you.
The first benefit is that it gives you more credibility.
Vivian Gill, MA, RN-BC, CPT, discovered something unexpected after earning her nutrition certification: “My credibility increased,” says the registered nurse, personal trainer, and lifestyle coach. “My clients are aware that I am evidence-based and not prejudiced, and they have seen the difference.”
Gill saw that many other trainers in her area emphasized diets, macro tracking, and detoxifying. Her nutrition certification assisted her in recognizing that a different approach would be more appealing to her customers.
She continues, “I’ve chosen to be the voice of reason and grace.”
Benefit #2: Increased self-assurance
What, in Buckingham’s opinion, is the most underappreciated advantage of certification? He adds, “Definitely the confidence I have today.”
A customer just approached him with the desire to reduce weight. Buckingham discovered the customer had already dropped several pounds throughout their intake. Clearly, the individual was doing a number of things correctly.
Buckingham would have felt pushed in the past to offer a totally new curriculum just to be distinctive. But, armed with what he’d learned from his certification, he confidently advised his client to continue with some of the same tactics.
Buckingham also feels more at comfortable discussing the murky areas of nutrition.
Instead than pretending to know everything, he prefers to say things like, “Hey, I don’t know the solution to this subject, but I’ll find out,” or “How about we try it?” Then we’ll see what occurred after a week and go from there.”
Improved coaching and communication skills are the third benefit.
Some nutrition certification courses, such as Level 1, include both nutrition science and the art of coaching. To put it another way, a portion of the training teaches you how to communicate more successfully with your customers. (Want to see what we’re talking about? Check out our Nutrition Coaching e-course, which is completely free.)
A certification trained Josh Chang, PN1, a nutritionist and proprietor of Mycro Nutrition, how to speak to customers about their obstacles.
“Dietitians are taught to utilize a little bit of motivational interviewing and sympathize with clients, but it teaches you to go one or two steps further—to get to know the client and how to delve into why they say or do what they say.”
“If you need a little assistance improving those communication or rapport-building abilities, a nutrition certification may be worth it,” he says.
Opportunity to learn from peers and professionals in the area (benefit #4)
Some nutrition certification programs include Facebook groups, online forums, and even live events. Coaches may use these tools to interact with like-minded health professionals, receive feedback on problems from others, and, in certain instances, get access to top nutrition specialists.
One of the most surprising advantages for Chang was having access to a huge network of instructors.
“When you sign up for PN Level 1 or 2, you will be invited to a Facebook group. I love watching how various instructors react to questions when they are posted. Some coaching ideas are completely unexpected, in a positive way. “I would never have thought of it, but it’s great,” I say.
Benefit #5: A more positive attitude about eating
After overcoming disordered eating, Jenna Ashby PA-C, PN1, an oncology physician assistant, chose to become a nutrition coach.
Though Ashby utilizes her nutrition certification mainly in her side work at Breathe CrossFit in Derry, New Hampshire, she also gained some personal insights from the process.
“It helped me clarify what I had been working on for the last several years, and it helped me find greater peace with myself,” Ashby adds. “I now know, without a doubt, that I can love, accept, and feed my body appropriately.”
“That’s significant because I used to believe that if I wanted to eat, I had to exercise, and vice versa. That attitude has now been reversed: I must feed myself in order to be and feel powerful. “It was the PN certification that really cemented it for me,” she adds.
Will obtaining a nutrition certification provide you with extra and beneficial benefits?
not in the least bit valuable colossally valuable
Look into it more.
- How do you want your customers to perceive your nutrition expertise, and how do you believe you’re presently doing?
- When dealing with customers, how confident are you in your dietary recommendations? What do you do when you’re not sure about something?
- How would you rank your coaching and communication abilities right now? How do you think your nutrition message is perceived when you speak to people?
- Where do you go to network with peers and professionals in your industry right now? What other possibilities may you be able to take advantage of?
- What is your current nutritional philosophy and relationship with food like? Is there any way to make this better?
Question #3: Does obtaining a nutrition certification align with your professional objectives?
You may give dietary suggestions to otherwise healthy customers if you have a nutrition certification.
With a nutrition certification, you’ll be able to do the following:
- Give the appropriate dietary recommendations at the appropriate time.
- Create an action plan that your customers will really follow.
- Assist individuals in changing their bodies and their health.
These credentials are applicable to a wide range of occupations.
What job options do you have if you get a nutrition certification?
Many people question whether they need to go (or return to) university to begin a career in nutrition. A specific degree and training are required for some professions (such as certified dietician).
However, you can do a lot with only a nutrition certification. Coaches in our community have positions such as:
- a nutritionist
- Coach for sports nutrition
- Coach for weight loss
- Consultant for weight loss
- a corporate wellness trainer
- Manager of a gym’s or other health facility’s nutrition program
- Consultant with a high level of performance
- Part-time nutrition coach and stay-at-home mom
There may be alternative job possibilities if you already have other certificates or degrees (or intend to get them). Coaches that are PN-certified are also:
- Dietitians with a license to practice
- Nutritionists for athletes
- Nutritionists are personal trainers and strength coaches that specialize on nutrition.
- Nutritional therapists are physical therapists that specialize on nutrition.
- Nutritional counselors include doctors, nurses, and physician assistants.
- Nutritional coaches include psychologists, psychotherapists, and social workers.
What do you think you’re not qualified to do?
It’s worth noting that unless you’re explicitly MNT-accredited, medical nutrition therapy (MNT), which is providing dietary recommendations to treat or cure illness, is out of scope. You won’t be able to accomplish this with only a nutrition certificate, and you shouldn’t attempt.
The laws and regulations governing what individuals with nutrition certificates are permitted to do differ depending on where they reside.
In certain states in the United States, licensed dietitians are the only individuals who can offer meal plans. However, nutrition coaches may still assist individuals with their eating habits in these stages as long as they aren’t instructing them what they should and shouldn’t consume.
If you get a certification, you’ll discover that meal planning, declaring items “off-limits,” and telling people what to eat aren’t really our style. You’ll discover how to achieve results without these methods in our nutrition certification.
Is a nutrition certification a good fit for your professional objectives?
They don’t line up at all, yet they do line up perfectly.
Look into it more.
- What role does nutrition coaching play in your present position? Or are you interested in starting a new career in nutrition?
- Take a look at the above-mentioned job titles. Which ones pique your interest and/or align with your professional objectives?
- Do you need a nutrition certification to be competent for the job titles you mentioned in the preceding question (or to feel confident in your abilities)? Why do you think that is?
Question #4: Will obtaining a nutrition certification benefit the people you now deal with (or wish to work with)?
A nutrition certification, according to our graduates, may help you offer better service to your customers (or potential clients). This service may concentrate not just on what people consume, but also on how they think, feel, and go about their everyday activities. (This is referred to as “deep health” coaching.)
This enables you to determine what is preventing customers from making the long-term improvements they want.
That’s significant because many individuals pursue a nutrition certification, at least in part, because they want to assist others—even if it’s just their friends or family. So think about how becoming certified will benefit the individuals you work with (or eventually want to work with).
Buckingham, for example, now offers nutrition counseling to his personal training customers as an additional benefit. “When you meet me in person, I often say, ‘Hey, let’s discuss nutrition.’ Let’s make sure you receive answers to those inquiries,’ he says.
Obtaining a nutrition certification may also help clients have a better experience. Dr. Hines adds, “I believe it’s made me a better practitioner.”
She believes that honing her motivational interviewing abilities helped her approach nutrition discussions in a manner that made patients feel more at ease.
“Now I can meet my patients where they are rather than making them feel like I’m lecturing them,” she says. I make every effort to ensure that patients understand that they have a voice in this process. It isn’t simply me who tells them what they must do.”
Finally, obtaining a nutrition certification may assist customers in achieving better outcomes.
Kelly Lynch, LCSW, EMT, CPT, PN1, a therapist who specializes in treating first responders, for example, started recommending that clients talk to their doctors about blood work and other diagnostic tests when she suspected their mental health symptoms were caused (or exacerbated by) nutritional deficiencies, GI dysfunction, or hormonal issues.
Lynch remembered a disease she’d heard about during her certification that might contribute to similar symptoms when one of her clients reported increasing sadness and digestive problems (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). She advised the customer to consult with their doctor about it.
Testing confirmed Lynch’s suspicions, and the client’s melancholy improved after the SIBO was addressed.
Will obtaining a nutrition certification be beneficial to your clients?
will not help at all will greatly assist
Look into it more.
- What added value would you provide to your customers if you obtained a nutrition certification?
- How will having more knowledge and improved coaching/communication skills help clients have a better experience?
- In what ways might your nutrition and coaching knowledge assist your clients in achieving greater results?
Question #5: Will obtaining a nutrition certification increase your earning potential or offer you with additional financial advantages?
Coaches with a nutrition certification make somewhat more per hour than coaches without one, according to our study of 1000 nutrition coaches and additional independent data.
Coaches with two to three certificates make $12 per hour more on average than those with just one.
Coaches who have earned a certification earn 11 percent more than those who have not.
As a result, it’s fair to assume that qualified coaches make more on average.
Obtaining a nutrition certification provided Chang with the motivation to launch his own coaching company, allowing him to leave the hospital nutrition environment and take control of his own career and earning potential.
Lynch’s treatment services drew more attention when she said that she’d completed a nutrition certification. It also aided her in starting a coaching side company, which provided her with a second source of income.
A nutrition certification may be a way for some people to save money. In addition to allowing her to establish a side business as a nutrition coach, Ashby adds that being certified removed the need for her to pay for nutrition advice from others. She now has complete confidence in her ability to change her eating habits.
Will obtaining a nutrition certification increase your earning potential or offer you with additional financial advantages?
No way, no how, yeah, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes
Look into it more.
- Will obtaining a nutrition certification enable you to charge your customers more or provide additional services?
- How can obtaining a nutrition certification boost interest in your services? Is it possible that it may assist you increase your clientele?
- In terms of services you won’t need or outsourcing you won’t have to perform, how might obtaining a nutrition certification possibly save you money?
Is it thus worthwhile to get a nutrition certification?
– – – – – – – – – – –
Now you can determine whether a nutrition certification is worthwhile based on your score range.
20 years old and up: Yes, you should get a nutrition certification.
Based on your responses, it seems that obtaining a nutrition certification would be beneficial. By being certified, you will be able to improve your:
- understanding of nutrition science and coaching
- coaching services and job possibilities
- ability to assist customers
- earning potential
- plus a whole lot more
From the ages of 6 to 19, you may find that obtaining a nutrition certification is worthwhile.
Based on your responses, it seems that obtaining a nutrition certification will benefit you in some areas, but not in others.
The most important issue to evaluate is whether the anticipated benefits exceed the costs.
Take another look at your quiz answers, particularly the ones where you get a 4 or a 5.
Compare the advantages of certification against the expense of obtaining it.
Let’s suppose you scored well for a certification that both fills a knowledge need and is likely to increase your salary. Perhaps you already have the funds and time set up to attend and complete a course in terms of expenses. You’ll probably conclude that a certification is worthwhile in such scenario.
Let’s suppose you choose 5 for a certification that aligns with your professional objectives. You choose a 3 or lower for all other questions. You’d also have to take out a loan to pay for the certification. Furthermore, you are already working two jobs. Oh, and you’re expecting a child. A certification, on the other hand, may not be worth it to you right now.
5 and under: A nutrition certification does not seem to be worthwhile for you.
Based on your responses, it doesn’t seem like obtaining a nutrition certification is worthwhile. There are, however, always exceptions.
You may be interested in obtaining a certification only for your own personal gain, rather than for the advancement of your profession. It’s also OK if you don’t want to work with customers, make money via nutrition coaching, or change professions.
Whatever you choose, it’s critical to have a clear understanding of your rationale. Hopefully, that’s what you’ve learned from this self-evaluation.
What is the next step?
If you decide to pursue a nutrition certification, you have a number of options.
Check out this in-depth post for more information: How to Choose the Best Nutrition Certification Program for YOU.
It’s both an art and a science to guide clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a manner that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.
Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both. The next group will begin soon.
It’s no secret that everyone is always looking for a healthier lifestyle, but unfortunately, a lot of people are not taking the time to learn what in their food is actually good for them. However, it is not too late to take a nutrition certification course. For those who do not know, a Nutrition Certification is a course that teaches you the benefits of eating certain foods and how to make healthier, more effective food choices.. Read more about nutritionist certification vs degree and let us know what you think.
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