April 15, 2015
Last Updated:
January 16, 2024

Nutrition Certification: What Are Your Options?

You love health and wellness and you feel like it’s time to take your passion to the next level and get nutrition certification, but where do you begin?

You may have noticed there are a ton of programs out there each offering something a little different. Rest assured, the right nutrition certification for you is out there!

There will be pros and cons to any direction you take; here’s what you should know about each so you can pick the best nutrition certification for you!

Registered Dietitian: Dietitians are medical professionals who take a clinical approach to nutrition. They tend to work in hospital settings and usually believe in a “calories in, calories out” approach to weight loss. This path might be for you if you are not afraid to dig into some heavy anatomy and are interested in helping people with often serious illnesses. Becoming a dietitian is a long process – you can expect to get a four-year degree plus spend an additional one to two years of training and take a board exam to receive this credential.

Nutritionist: While you can get a master’s in nutrition, there is no specific requirement or certification to become a nutritionist.  A nutritionist is similar to a dietician and often starts a private practice coaching their clients around health and the impact of dietary change. This term is used for many professions and many dietitians use it as well to identify what their focus is on.

Wellness Coach: A wellness coach works with clients around general well-being, without a specific emphasis on nutrition, in order to optimize their health. Wellness coaches provide motivation and tools to their clients in order to help them reach their goals, ranging from quitting smoking to lowering stress.  

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Health Coach: A Health Coach focuses on overall lifestyle change, wellness, and nutrition by helping their clients find the right foods to support them in reaching their health goals and a better balance in all areas of their life. They take on much more of a coaching role and their clients are a part of the process working in conjunction with their support to reach their goals.

At Integrative Nutrition, we teach you to support the whole person, looking at everything from career and physical activity to educating them on the power of nutrients and super foods. We don’t put anyone on a diet but instead teach clients to listen to their bodies and start understanding and identifying their triggers around food so they can develop better long-term habits around food. This might just be the right nutrition certification for you if you want to take a more holistic approach focusing on the whole person.

Have you ever worked with a dietitian, nutritionist, wellness coach, or Health Coach? Which approach was helpful for you? We’d love to hear – let us know in the comments below!


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