How do I get Nutritionist Training?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2018
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There are four ways to get nutritionist training: post-secondary education, online schools, self-directed learning, and continuing education programs. A nutritionist provides advice on preventative nutrition and diet. The title of nutritionist is not protected in the United States and some parts of Europe. It is important to ensure that you have the academic credentials and training necessary to be eligible for certification, should this occur in the future.

The most effective way to get nutritionist training is to register for training at a university, community, or career college. Nutritionist training is typically three to four years in length. Admissions to this type of program are based on a combination of high school marks and a personal interview. High school courses should include biology, chemistry, calculus, statistics, and English. Although credits in physical health and education are useful, they are not usually required.

There is a slight difference in the nutritionist training available at the university and college levels. At the university level, courses are very theoretical in nature, with a great deal of focus on statistics, human behavior, and the impact of nutritional theory on society. At the college level, the focus is typically more client based. Courses are designed to provide nutritionists with methods to translate nutritional guidelines into practical steps that people can implement in their daily lives. It is also important to note that graduate studies in nutrition are only possible with a university degree.


There are wide ranges of online schools that offer nutritionist training opportunities. The first thing to check is that the school is accredited. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent third party. This agency compares the academic and administrative policies against a minimum standard. Only courses completed at accredited schools can be transferred to other programs.

Self-directed learning through books, videos, and part-time courses can provide a certain level of nutritionist training. It is important to note that this type of learning is suitable for someone who wants to expand his or her own knowledge of nutrition. It is not appropriate training for anyone who wants to start a professional nutritionist service or accept clients.

Continuing education programs for nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and other health care workers often include nutritionist training sessions. These programs provide opportunities to build on your existing experience and education and expand your career to include nutritional services. This is a very popular option for trained health professionals. Nurses and other front line staff can provide nutritional information to patients, in addition to standard medical advice and support.



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