I am new to the industry and have recently discovered my love and passion for fitness and nutrition over the last couple of years. I have a bachelor’s degree with a major in sociology and a minor in psychology, and I currently work in retail.. but now I want to head in the direction of fitness, nutrition, and wellness. After researching, there seems to be so many options for certifications, I don’t know where to begin! What is the most accredited online certification program for nutrition and wellness? So far I have looked at ACE, NASM, AFPA, and Institute for Integrative Nutrition (which cost a lot more than the others and takes more time, but may be worth it?) I would love all the advice I can get!
No one mentioned becoming a registered and licensed dietitian. This is the professional that got an actual accredited nutrition degree, supervised practice hours (1200), and took an exam. Everything else is much easier to get and less esteemed. “Coaching” certifications are what people use to get around the licensure requirements to give out nutrition advice required by real nutrition professionals (most states require you be an RD or CNS, and RDs are numbered 80,000, whereas CNS are under 500…). If you call yourself a coach, you can do whatever you want without legal implications because you’re not doing nutritional counseling, you’re just “coaching,” (as though there is a difference). Don’t jump on this loophole because you just look like a charlatan and no one will take you seriously in the professional world. Coaching certifications will just take your money. There are WAY too many certifications out there because it is a good business to create a curriculum and make payers take a test and then call you “certified.” This is not regulated yet, but you can see there are too many out there because most of them are scams to take your money and have no gravity on whether people consider you a professional or not (and like I said, unless you’re a licensed dietitian/nutritionist [depending on your state what they call it], why should they listen to you about nutrition?)
I also recommend getting a degree in kinesiology rather than just getting a personal training certification. The cert is a starting point, but there is a clear difference between wannabes with weekend certifications and people who devoted their education to learning about nutrition and fitness and know what they are talking about.