you may want to first check with your state’s laws about the scope of titles such as ‘nutritionist’ or ‘dietitian’ but it is my understanding that you cannot do that unless you are an RD.
However, that does not mean that you cannot talk about nutrition and give your clients sound advice. The latest issue with IDEA Fitness Journal has an entire addition on food which talks exactly on the issue of scope of practice for personal trainers.
I know that it can be quite tempting to want to give meal plans to clients but stepping into the minefield of nutrition in the presence of prescription drugs is almost dangerous in my opinion. Speaking for myself, I feel that I am becoming increasingly reluctant to address it the more I know about interactions and interrelations. The moment you put pen to paper and add your name to it, you create a responsibility (and liability) for yourself.
I’m in Florida. I was wondering how people and boot camps where offering nutrition advice without a license when the Department of Health says this,
“It is illegal to practice nutrition counseling
And/or nutrition services or to provide health care services to Florida residents and visitors without a valid, active license. The Department of Health has made the vigorous enforcement of licensure regulation one of its priorities.”
After doing a lot of research and dealing with people that truly need our advice I have decided to become a Nutrition Coach. One of the many places that I go to for advice and schooling is Venice Nutrition
They received great reviews and have a system in place so that you may legally offer advice to your clients. Any information that you may have about what we are legally allowed to say/advice and how others may offer this service without a license would be very helpful. The way I understand the way the law is written is that you must be licensed not certified. What are your thoughts? I have read some pretty serious fines have been handed out in FloridaÔÿ╣ I don’t advice at this time.
I hope this was helpful.
There are several nutrition certifications that you can acquire that are accepted as CEUs for different certifying agencies. They go through a thorough scope of practice as to what you can and can not do. www.precisionnutrition.com is an excellent one.
Another resource is to looking into becoming a health coach. The certifications tend to cover nutrition as well as behavioural change. As you know, its not enough to know what information to cover with a client, but how to help them make the necessary changes to help them reach their goals. Many of the top ranked health coaching certifications also cover scope of practice. www.wellcoaches.com or www.IIN.com are two well respected health coaching certifications.
I think it is increasingly important to be able to discuss nutrition within our guidelines to help our clients reach their goals. To simply not engage in the topic can leave our clients helpless and does a disservice to them. That is not to say that we should be providing specific micro-nutrient meal plans for various disease states, but there is a lot that we can discuss when it comes to macro-nutrients that will help a client get from point A to point B in achieving their goals.
To second what Jocelyn and Michelle said, there are many different organizations that grant certifications in the Nutrition area. Many of the organizations that certify Personal Trainers now offer Fitness Nutrition certs. I have heard that these are VERY basic courses, but it can’t hurt to look into.
I personally am enrolled int the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (www.IIN.com that Michelle mentioned) and loving it! It is very in depth, and you end the 48 week program as a Certified Health Coach.
Hello Dianne Della Ratta,
Being a personal trainer already gives you the tools to help your clients, but, adding nutrition certification would add to your toolbox. It is still the registered dietitian who may design meal plans.
I am also in the process of reading IDEA’s latest magazine with the supplement, “Food and Nutrition Tips”, November/December 2013.
NAPS 2 B Fit