Clarifying the confusing path to nutritionist status
If you're finding the path to choosing where to study to become a nutritionist confusing you're 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', that's in part why you see the term used so loosely in so many course names. Having said that, one of the central reasons you're wise to 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 gain public liability and indemnity insurances so you can practice safely.
What is the minimum requirement?
The simplest (and we are not judging it to be the easiest) way is via an Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine, but and there may be a but, we'll come to that soon. These were commonly offered by private colleges and not something you would find at TAFE or uni.
HOWEVER... yes here's the 'but', there appears (there's nothing formal as yet) to be an industry shift away from a two year diploma to a minimum of a three year bachelor degree. Makes sense when you're dealing with peoples health! Most of the private colleges now offer a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine). For example:
Many colleges offer degrees or diplomas via face-to-face, but also recognising that geography shouldn't be a limitation they also offer distance options. Now, it's important to make mention of two considerations:
A blended option is a popular way to go which is another reason we have chosen Endeavour College as our pathway partner for health degrees.
How much will it cost?
Courses cost in the vicinity of $22,000 - $40,000, so it's quite a commitment in time and money. Most commonly you will have four subjects each semester (8 p/y), so about 24 subjects covering various aspects of nutrition, physiology, anatomy, chem and biochem, practice management, pharmacology, and maybe counselling.
If all the science scares you and you are looking more to coach people in health you have option of our Nutrition & Health Coaching program. The Nutrition & Health Coaching program can be a gentle way of moving into the health field as well as a potential income while you study.
Some colleges offer fee help, though not many. Again Endeavour College stood out from the rest in making paying fees off much easier, and don't forget if you take your Accredited Certificate of Nutrition with you, you'll have a whole unit exemption saving time and money!
What's the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian?
Good question. Nutritionists refer to themselves in the following ways:
Endeavour College is the only private college which has a pathway to registration with the Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA). Can you tell we have done our homework on who we have chosen to pathway to?
Apart from the ways above you can also use healthy eating and nutrition in allied occupations such as personal training and health coaching:
Fast track courses that make it sound like you are a nutritionist
You have probably found all manner of courses offering all manner of nutrition training, even suggesting you can work as a nutrition consultant in as little as nine months. Ask yourself how you would feel going to a 'nutritionist' with a serious medical condition who has just nine months of training. Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
You might also have seen a number of diplomas and accredited certificates in various health or allied health courses. We recommend you read over the units of each course to see just how much nutrition you will learn. In a number of cases you are being trained to support nutritionists and dietitians hence you will learn more about that than nutrition itself. In addition there is not likely to be a pathway to a degree option.
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're still stuck on where to start feel free to call us. While we believe our courses are the best, we also know they sell themselves so you won't get hard sell here. We promise to give you unbiased information to help you in what we know is a very big decision, no catches!
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.