How to Become a Certified Nutritionist

Do you want to become a certified nutritionist? It may look like a lot of work. However, if you have the right skills and the best nutrition certification, you may find it much easier than you think.

Read on to see what you need to do to become a certified nutritionist. 

Know the Skills You Will Need on the Job 

Being a nutritionist can come naturally to some. But others who don’t have specific skills may find it difficult to sustain. Aside from a working knowledge of nutrition, there are three main skill sets needed to become a successful nutritionist. Here they are: 

  • People Skills

First, you need people skills. Nutritionists work one-on-one with individuals seeking to further their health, often with several people in one day. Being able to show empathy and relate to people will benefit you and ultimately help secure your clientele in this profession. 

  • Organizational Skills 

Most nutritionists are freelancers. This means they must be organized and essentially run their own business. So, if you have difficulty staying on top of your schedule, you will need to learn to develop organizational skills before taking on clients. This will also help in many other areas of your life. 

  • Problem Solving Skills 

Lastly, you must be good at problem-solving to become a successful nutritionist. People will come to you with specific issues they wish to address. You need to have a good enough understanding of nutrition and fitness to assess the problem, quickly come up with a solution, and help your client work through the issue. 

  • Get An Education 

Next, you need an education. Many nutritionist jobs in this field do not require an education higher than a GED or high school diploma. However, the more impressive your resume looks, the easier it will be to get jobs and/or clients. With that said, you should consider getting a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or a related field. This will help you in the long run.

  • Get Certified 

The big obstacle standing in the way of you becoming a professional nutritionist is certifications. You will need licenses and certifications to practice this profession, and each state has different requirements. So, research the state(s) you wish to practice in to discover what is required of you. 

How to Choose Your Certification 

Once you know what kind of certifications you need to practice the type of nutrition work you wish to practice, it is time to decide which is the best nutrition certification for you. This may come as a surprise, but many different types of certifications can all serve similar purposes. However, each comes with its own pros and cons. Ultimately, your specific situation is the only way to tell which one is best for you. 

Here is a little bit on the eight most recognized nutrition certifications. 


The NASM nutrition certification is relatively new. So there are a few kinks to be ironed out. However, NASM is one of the most recognized names in certifications and specializations, so you can rest assured that this will help you get where you want to go. 

NCSF Sports Nutrition

This is the perfect certification for fitness professionals that want to branch out into nutrition. If you have already developed a strong clientele in the personal training profession, this could be the extra boost you need to become more valuable to your current and future clients. 

ISSA Nutritionist 

The ISSA Nutritionist program is one of the more complex programs. This is for people who wish to work with a wide variety of people and spend their days problem-solving more specific issues. 

AFPA Nutrition

If you are already a working nutritionist with a few certifications or planning on climbing the ladder after you get your bearings, the AFPA Nutrition certification is perfect for you. This certification proves that you mean business because of its high requirements for recertification.  

PN Level 1

The PN Level 1 certification is not the most recognized certification of this group. However, it does provide nutritionists with practical experience in business and nutrition. So, while this may not be the only certification you need, the information it provides can do wonders for your career.

NESTA Nutrition 

NESTA Nutrition is great for beginners. It opens the door with simple information and does not require recertification. 

ISSA Sports Nutrition 

If you plan on getting the ISSA Nutritionist certification and want to move on to sports nutrition, this is a great certification for you. This will help you apply your knowledge to athletes and become a specialist in that field. 

ACE Fitness Nutrition

ACE Fitness Nutrition gives you all the info you need to become a sports and fitness nutritionist while teaching you a bit about the business side. Additionally, staying informed about new products and supplements like SPM Active can help you provide more personalized advice to your clients.

The Bottom Line: Work Hard 

Becoming a certified nutritionist is not easy. You need the right skills, education, and certifications to prove to the world that you know your stuff. Ultimately, you just have to work hard, set goals, figure out the best nutrition certification for those goals, and don’t stop working until you reach them! 

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