Precision Nutrition is a Coaching certification, not aimed at being a nutritionist, or RD. It is extremely well known, as mentioned above about their marketing tactics. I can not speak to the other certifications, however I assume that the ACE is a good one as well as ISSA, and a few other accredited ones.
None of us here can do anything but give an opinion on the course we went through, everything else is just speculative opinion without experience to back it up.
With that being said, the PN Level 1 Cert goes pretty deep into the biology side of things. You will learn things you think are way too granular for you as a coach or trainer trying to give sound nutrition advice. However having that information allows you to have a better understanding of the practical information supplied as well. One of the benefits of the PN course is that they go into a bit of change psychology which is a big deal in adherence to any program. Especially for those who already admit that they have problems with staying motivated and on track.
As far as using the PN Cert to get a job, with it not being accredited that may not help you get a job. However Precision Nutrition is quite well known and would still be seen as a plus anywhere a trainer, or nutrition coach might be needed.
In the end, I think most people who go the PN route are trainers or online coaches, and not people trying to become Nutrition professionals / dieticians, same with ACE or IIN. So in that aspect it is really the public opinion that is going to matter. If you have people who love Precision Nutrition they will be all over it. If you have people who love ACE they will be all over that. Bottom line none of these 3 give anyone the legal right to prescribe meal plans. That is the job of a Nutritionist or RD. So having any of them does not benefit you, should benefit you as a trainer or nutrition coach considering all 3 are relatively popular.
If you want to be a true nutrition professional then get a degree.
I am currently taking the Precision Nutrition Certification and I am finding that I like the layout of the information, testing structure and the general nutritional information that they present. The program is taking me more than just a weekend to complete. It is taking me a few months. Will this make me a nutritionist? Absolutely NOT! Precision Nutrition teaches us to refer to a medical professional whenever it is needed. Since exercise and nutrition go hand in hand, it is great to have a basic nutrition knowledge base as a group ex professional and a trainer.
That being said, I think that it has sparked an interest for me to take more nutrition courses and find out more about how and what my clients are eating. The program has also encouraged me to venture out of the fitness field and find more coaching resources to inspire and guide my clients. I do not think that I will be putting the PN credential after my name, however, the cert is making me a more educated trainer and that is one of the reasons that we take CECs, right?
You can take the PN cert to learn about nutrition if you don’t want to go to school, but it is not equal to going to school and being a real nutrition professional such as a registered and licensed dietitian or a CNS (they require extensive science work and a graduate degree and some sort of supervised practice, like an RD, but they are a minority yet still a legit credential). The training you have to complete to be an RD or CNS (both can get licensed) is just like that of any medical professional but they just do nutrition. Like others have said, PN does great with marketing and getting gyms to count it as a credential that raises pay, but it honestly has no merit for getting you a job in nutrition and you will lack credibility against the 80k+ RDs. You will be competing against people who are RDs who are looking for jobs, people who completed a BS in nutrition and are looking for jobs, dietetic technicians, etc. There are a lot more of them than there are people who have the cash to pay $1000 to John Berardi’s new certification who are likely more qualified.
Those who say that RDs only have medical nutrition training must not be familiar with the program. There are many rotations. 8 weeks are clinical in the hospital, but there are community, counseling, private practice, sports nutrition rotations as well. There is also a CSSD credential for those who have 1500 hours of work in sports nutrition and eating disorders. To go into the field of nutrition and not know when you are working with an eating disorder is not good for the client and puts you at very high liability.
I attended IIN and agree that it doesn’t take a scientific approach, but it DOES provide a ton of wonderful information and resources for clients.
I’m an ACE-CPT, NSCA-CSCS and Yoga Teacher and the tools that IIN provided are very helpful in discussing nutrition with my clientele because they covered so many diverse approaches to nutrition including cultural differences and food choices based on belief systems. I’d recommend IIN to anyone who is open to exploring nutrition through a less traditional lens, but I’d also suggest taking a few nutrition and/or food science courses that provide a more scientific approach. Community College course can be great low cost option.
I researched background information and reviews on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Every review that I read was negative…curriculum based on opinions and little on scientific, medical or proven facts; legal problems; bias and prejudice toward female employees (of IIN); extremely poor employee morale; high employee turnover…to name a few. Most reviews that I read stated that the “expensive” program does not adequately prepare anyone for any health related career. After “graduating” one is not adequately prepared with the education and background to counsel or coach anyone. I would not trust my health, concerns or needs with a so called “Health Coach” from IIN. Be very careful….do your homework and research this organization thoroughly.