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!
Congratulations on wanting to join the Health, Fitness and Wellness industry. As you’ve already learned there are a lot of ways to get started and a lot of different paths you can follow. All of them will help people to live healthier lives.
If you’re not quite sure where you’d like to start or where to focus, don’t worry, most of us don’t! A great place to start is to talk to local fitness professionals (personal trainers, fitness instructors, gym managers, etc), health professionals (physical therapists, nutritionists, exercise physiologists, etc) and coaches (life coaches, health coaches, sports coaches, etc) and ask them what their day in day out job entails. What do they like? What do they dislike? How did they get started? What education do they need? Are there continuing education requirements? What advice would they give to someone just starting out?
You’ll get a lot of great information and it may help you to narrow your focus. It will also be a great connection for you to work with like minded professionals who can quide you along your journey. I often work with new trainers in this capacity. I find we all learn and grow from the experience.
Good luck in your search!
I’m probably far too late to the party to help you on this one, but another option that is accredited by both the ACSM and the NATA Board of Certification is the CWC certification offered through the Catalyst Coaching Institute (www.CatalystCoachingInstitute.com). They require the face to face training too, which while not as convenient, adds a very important component to the training. They have an article that was published by WELCOA (Wellness Council of America) posted on their website that may be of interest.
All the best to you in your journey!
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.
I agree with Joe Fitness, no one will be able to answer your question on the what coaching certification should I get. There are too many, and the under-appreciated field of health and wellness needs to regulate health coaches, and wellness coaches in order to save us from the confusion of what is what. My recommendation; go for either a degree in nutrition or kinesiology, and you will have an upper hand, and don’t settle for working at the local gym get with other health care professionals. I did this and I am much happier as I can work either individually or with a team of professionals who value my opnion.