Institute for Integrative Nutrition

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), along with some other health coaching and nutrition programs, realize the importance of approaching health holistically, striving to find balance in all areas of our lives, from the food we eat to the environment we live in. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to health and wellness, despite what the food industry wants us to believe—quick-fixes, detoxes, and diets are being marketed to the public more than ever before. When it comes to finding what foods and lifestyle practices work best for you, a Health Coach can help guide the way to optimal physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

The Health Coach profession has evolved and grown into a credible career path that many people are now considering. Whether they’ve always had a passion for health and nutrition, many are looking for a career that offers more work-life balance and flexibility, or both! Health Coaches can work in their own private practice; integrate their Health Coach services in physicians’ offices, hospitals, wellness centers or a private company. As chronic disease prevalence continues to rise in the U.S. and around the world, there’s never been a more critical time for Health Coaches and we even see other health and wellness professionals adding a health coach certification to their credentials.

As the profession continues to grow, the need for credible institutions and regulation around how one becomes a credentialed Health Coach is key for trust and credibility. Many programs can claim they certify Health Coaches, but they are not all created equal. To make the most informed decision based on your education and career, we’ve outlined how IIN compares to AFPA to help you find what’s best for you!

The Basics

Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN)

IIN’s mission is to play a crucial role in improving health and happiness and, through that process, create a ripple effect that transforms the world. Founded in 1992 and with 110,000 students and graduates in 175 countries, IIN's focus is on holistic integrated health. IIN Health Coaches are trained to empower others to transform their health and find the diet, nutrition and lifestyle practices that work for them.

IIN is also dedicated to advancing the profession as a whole. Through their advocacy efforts in the U.S. and around the globe, IIN aims to highlight the value of Health Coaches and their work, improving health outcomes and contributing to global health and wellness.

American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA)

The AFPA is an organization focusing on the education and credentialing of fitness and health professionals, with multiple education options to choose from, whether you’re interested in nutrition, fitness, health coaching, or all of the above.

Accreditation and Reputation

Accreditation means that a program or school has been evaluated by a third-party organization for certain criteria. In this instance, accreditation refers to outside agencies validating that IIN and other health coaching programs are providing the education necessary for their Health Coaches to practice in a professional manner.

IIN is licensed by the New York State Education Department and the Ohio Board of Education as a vocational school, and the Health Coach Training Program curriculum is audited on a regular basis. IIN has been recognized by The Balance Careers as the number one Health Coach certification program in the United States and is an approved program provider by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) and the International Coaching Federation (ICF). The AFPA is not licensed by any education department, but is accredited by organizations in the wellness field, including the NBHWC.

This verification is important to consider in your search for the best health coach training program for you, especially if you desire to use your health coach education in a traditional healthcare setting, such as in a doctor’s office or alongside dietitians and nutritionists. Not only will choosing an accredited program work in your favor as you build your career, but it will also benefit your clients! Receiving a quality education will give you the tools you need to help spark change in their lives, and they can be assured that they are working with a qualified Health Coach.

When it comes to reputation, IIN’s 30 years in the industry and graduates from all over the world have created a strong, passionate community of Health Coaches who love sharing their educational experience:

From IIN Grads

IIN vs AFPA Grads Testimonials

Program Comparisons: Certification Types

Now that you’re familiar with each of the institutions and what to look for when it comes to accreditation, let’s dive into each a bit deeper:

Program Comparisons: Certification Types

IIN's Health Coach Training Program and Coaching Intensive Practicum 2.0

IIN’s Health Coach Training Program is conducted online and can be completed in six or 12 months. The curriculum is split into major content categories such as integrative nutrition and nutrition science, coaching methodologies, business-building, and personal development, and is taught by over 90 experts in the health, wellness, business, and coaching fields.

IIN emphasizes the importance of taking a holistic approach to health – it's not just about the food on your plate, but your relationships, career, spirituality, physical activity, environment, and much more that impact your well-being. Through their teaching of IIN core concepts, students learn what’s best for them in order to experience health transformation, and how to pass that knowledge on to others.

Graduates of IIN’s Health Coach Training Program go on to create their own private coaching practices, as well as create wellness products, author books, launch podcasts, work with doctors, dietitians and nutritionists, participate in local government, open wellness centers, and much more. Graduates are eligible to pursue higher education through IIN’s partnerships with colleges and universities in the U.S., as well as personal and professional development with affiliated organizations in the U.S. and internationally.

IIN’s Health Coach Training Program provides a pathway to certification by setting graduates up with the knowledge they need to enroll in IIN’s Coaching Intensive Practicum 2.0, which is approved by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC). Graduates of this course are eligible to apply and sit for the NBHWC’s board certification exam to become a National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC).

AFPA’s Holistic Health Coach Certification

This AFPA certification is a six or 12-month program that focuses on health coaching concepts, motivational strategies, and how to promote holistic health, including creating personalized plans for clients to achieve optimal nutrition and how to prevent disease through diet and lifestyle. The curriculum also covers herbology, homeopathy, and alternative therapies. Enrollment is on a rolling basis, and can be done online.

AFPA’s Holistic Health Coach Certification is recognized by the NBHWC, allowing AFPA graduates to sit for their board certification exam. AFPA is associated with additional organizations that enable their graduates to earn continuing education, in addition to other types of board certifications.

Which One to Choose

At the end of the day, you must consider what’s best for you, and your education needs and goals. It's a big decision to go back to school and earn a certification, so putting in the time to research the programs you’re interested in will go a long way!

At the end of the day, you must consider what’s best for you, and your education needs and goals. It's a big decision to go back to school and earn a certification, so putting in the time to research the programs you’re interested in will go a long way!


Consider things like budget, how the course content is delivered, whether you want to pursue continuing education, if you want more support along the way or prefer to be more independent, or if you want to work in a more traditional healthcare setting versus start your own practice.

The two certification programs we’ve outlined will provide you with knowledge on how to improve your health, but each has their own unique approach to training Health Coaches, so depending on your career goals, one program may be better suited for you!

To learn more about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s Health Coach Training Program, check out the IIN website. IIN pioneered the field of health coaching and is still recognized today as a leader in the industry. The Health Coach Training Program has evolved with the growing Health Coach industry, and graduates are well-prepared to enter the job market where Health Coaches are in high demand and employers seek out IIN graduates.

Call Now

If you’re interested in learning more about how IIN is different from other health coaching schools,
give us a call today to speak to an IIN Admissions Representative who is also an IIN grad!

US: (877) 730-5444
International: +1 (212) 730-5433

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