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What Are the Top Benefits of a Nutritionist Certification?

Reading Time: 5 minutes 15 seconds

BY: ISSA

DATE: 2023-08-02


If you love learning, feel passionate about nutrition and how it affects health, and enjoy working with and helping people, you’re a good candidate for becoming a nutritionist. If you’re already a personal trainer, nutrition is a natural fit. If not, it’s still a great industry to join. 

Nutrition and health are growing fields. People are increasingly interested in overall wellness and how food and diet impact their physical and mental health. As you think about a career move, consider why it’s important to get certified. 

About Nutritionists and Nutrition Coaches

The terms nutritionist and nutrition coach can largely be used interchangeably. Both are professionals and experts in food, nutrition, diet, and how they impact health and fitness. They work with clients to set and achieve goals related to diet, nutrition, and healthy eating. 

What Does a Nutrition Specialist Do? 

The primary function of a nutrition professional is to help clients make positive changes. Many factors go into helping clients meet nutrition goals: 

  • Nutrition coaches educate their clients. 

  • They assess their current food habits and create strategies to help them meet related goals. 

  • They utilize behavior science to help clients find their motivations and make positive lifestyle changes. 

  • Nutritionists and coaches act as teachers, guides, coaches, and sometimes unofficial therapists. 

Do Nutritionists Have to Be Certified? 

There are no certification requirements for nutritionists or nutrition coaches. This means anyone can use these labels to provide services. One of the most important reasons to get certified if you are interested in nutrition is to show clients or employers that you are a credible, trained professional. 

How Is This Different from a Dietitian? 

Dietetics is the study of food and nutrition and how they promote good health and prevent or treat disease. There is a lot of overlap between the career of a nutritionist or nutrition coach and a dietitian, but there are also important differences: 

  • To be a dietitian, you must have a college degree, often a master’s degree. 

  • There are two levels of dietitian credentials: registered dietitian (RD) and registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). 

  • Most states require that dietitians are registered. 

  • Dietitians typically work in medical settings and are legally allowed to diagnose and treat conditions. 

  • Dietitians can create meal plans for patients. 

What about health and wellness coaching? Learn how to become a health and wellness coach

Benefits of a Nutritionist Certification

There are many benefits of going for it and getting a certification in nutrition and coaching. From adding to your personal trainer career to launching a totally new career, this credential opens doors. It can help you earn more money. Most importantly, it provides a solid education in nutrition, diet, and wellness so you can improve your own life and help others. 

1. Become a True Nutrition Expert

This is the first and perhaps most important reason to complete a nutritionist course. Regardless of any career goals, this is the way to become an expert in how food affects every aspect of your health and wellness. 

Reading about nutrition online is helpful, but the internet is full of false and misleading information. The best way to become knowledgeable on a subject is to learn in a structured educational setting. Nutrition education courses are developed and led by professionals and experts in the field who follow nutrition science. This is what qualifies you to give advice to others. 

Here are just some of the things you’ll learn in a nutrition program: 

  • Nutritional science, including dietary guidelines, energy balance, metabolism, nutrients, food preferences, supplements, and more.

  • Behavior science, such as why and how people make decisions about food and the psychology behind changing behaviors.

  • Dietary choices and how they affect physical health, chronic disease, athletic performance, weight, and mental health. 

  • Client skills, such as coaching, assessments, motivation, strategizing, professionalism, and more. 

As you get started in nutrition coaching, you might be wondering what to charge clients. Here is a handy rundown to help you figure it all out. 

2. Enhance Your Personal Training Services

A nutrition certification can be a launching point for a completely new career in health and wellness, but it’s also a great addition to an existing career. If you are already a personal trainer, a nutrition course can benefit your career. 

Many clients already ask their trainers for food advice. Without the proper credential, your scope of practice is limited. A credential allows you to answer those questions correctly and with credibility. 

By including nutritional information, you can also improve client success. As you know, fitness is just one part of the health and weight equation. With some food guidance, you can provide clients with a more well-rounded service that will get them to their goals sooner. 

A certification gives trainers the chance to add another service. You will be limited in how much information you can provide by talking about nutrition while working out. But, with a credential, you can add extra sessions solely dedicated to nutrition coaching. 

Thinking about becoming a personal trainer? Check out all the reasons you need a certification to work with clients. 

3. Pursue a Wider Varity of Positions

A lot of people get into nutrition with a vague plan of being a nutritionist or nutrition coach. They think maybe they’ll take on clients or start a small business. If you are already a personal trainer or other type of fitness professional, getting a nutrition credential allows you to offer more services. 

These are great choices, but there are so many more opportunities to consider. Qualified nutrition professionals are in high demand and can work for a range of employers and in many industries. Her are just a few examples: 

  • Corporate nutrition coach. More and more big companies offer their employees wellness programs, and they need pros to fill many roles. You can work as a certified nutrition coach for employees who choose to use the provided wellness services. 

  • Nutrition educator. Schools and community groups often hire nutritionists to teach groups about diet, food, and health. 

  • Nutrition consultant. Schools, hospitals, and residential facilities hire nutritionists to help plan balanced, nutritious meals for students, patients, and residents. 

  • Sports nutritionist. Consider working for an athletic team if you like sports nutrition. Universities and pro teams hire nutritionists to help keep their athletes eating well for health and performance. 

  • Weight management consultant. Wellness and weight loss companies hire nutritionists to work with clients on their diets and making positive changes to meet their goals. 

4. Certification is a Lot Faster Than a Nutrition Degree

Yes, you could skip the certification step and earn a four-year degree in nutrition or dietetics. The downside to that route is that it takes a lot of time to get started. It’s much more expensive too. 

Depending on how much time you can devote to it, you can complete a nutrition certification program in weeks to months. This gives you the flexibility to work while learning and to save money. It also allows you to start working in nutrition sooner. 

Certification is a smart place to start if you aren’t sure about your career in nutrition. It gives you a quicker and more affordable way to get into the industry. You can always go back to school later to earn a degree if you decide that this is definitely the right career path. Having a certification might make it easier to get into a competitive program. It will definitely help ease the transition into college courses. 

How to Become a Certified Nutrition Specialist

Does nutrition coaching sound like a dream career for you? A nutritionist certification is a great place to start. It will give you the credibility and knowledge you need to start working in the field in a matter of weeks. It’s also a great starting point for earning a degree in nutrition or dietetics. 

Become a Certified Nutritionist with International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and enjoy one of the most respected and recognized credentials in the industry. The online, self-paced ISSA Nutritionist Certification program is an excellent way to start your career in this field. 



Featured Course

ISSA | Nutritionist Certification

By becoming an ISSA Nutritionist, you'll learn the foundations of how food fuels the body, plus step by step methods for implementing a healthy eating plan into clients' lifestyles.



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