Clarifying the confusing path to nutritionist status: nutrition courses and Nutrition & Health Coaching options
Well if you are finding the path to choosing where to study to become a nutritionist confusing you are not alone. As one of the most common questions we are asked we completely understand your confusion!
Why is it so confusing?
Currently in Australia and NZ there is no strict control over who can use the label 'nutritionist'. Having said that, one of the central reasons you must undertake a relevant course is so that at the end of it you are:
a) Accepted by a reputable industry association and;
b) You can then gain public liability and indemnity insurances so you can practice safely.
In essence anyone can call themselves a nutrition consultant, weight loss consultant, nutrition coach and so on and unless you check you won't necessarily know if they are accredited or registered or associated to an industry body who will have ensured a certain level of academic and clinical proficiency (current and ongoing); mental note to self to check these things...!
What is the minimum requirement?
The simplest (and we are not judging it to be the easiest) way is via an Advanced Diploma of Nutrition Medicine. These are commonly offered by private colleges.
Most colleges offer the diploma via face-to-face, but also recognising that geography shouldn't be a limitation they also offer distance options. Now, it is important to make mention of two considerations:
What do you mean by different type of 'nutritionists'?
Good question. Well you will see nutritionists refer to themselves in the following ways:
We have numerous nutritionists and dietitians who work with us, all with different expertise and backgrounds. And as you can see from the points above, there is no one type of 'nutritionist' that is necessarily better than the other. Instead, ensure a practitioner is registered with a body, has current insurance and try to find one who has long specialised in the area you require help with. Word-of-mouth is an excellent referral system and select a person you feel comfortable with. Don't be too swayed by the seemingly impressive long lists of qualifications someone tacks on their website or business card, you can find sometimes half of them are in fact only memberships... tricky!!!!
Don't forget the new Nutrition & Health Coaching course!
The only courses that allow you to use nutrition professionally apart from the ones above are:
Career advice - not sales
Yes, we hear you! You have tried calling a few colleges and all you get is ill-informed reception staff whose main aim is to sell 'bums on seats'. If you are still stuck on where to start feel free to call us. While we believe our distance and online courses are the best, we also know they sell themselves. We promise to give you unbiased information to help you in what we know is a very big decision, no catches!
Read more on our dedicated page about how to become a nutritionist!
We all have a role to play in community health, the only question is how do we play this role? Through intelligent, evidence-based inquiry we can understand how to health coach to support others in taking on positive behaviour change.