I want to become a certified holistic nutritionist! What advice do you have?
I get this question a lot. The first thing I ask is what that person’s goal is after they become certified. The truth is, many of us have a passion for learning about nutrition. It’s an interesting topic! But, unless you plan on developing that passion into a paying business, you don’t need a certification. There are so many free (or inexpensive) resources out there you can use to learn more.
A couple I’d start with:
Watch the videos on nutritionfacts.org. I trust them because they’re based on unbiased research. So many of the studies you find online and in articles are funded by special interest groups. Follow the money and you’ll see evidence of that.
Next, become an avid reader. I’ve learned so much more from reading books than I did with my certification. Here are some of my favorites:
The China Study
Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition
How Not to Die
How Not to Diet
WHOLE: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
The Plant-Based Solution
The Blue Zones, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest
Next, ask yourself how you will market your business. Most of the accreditation programs out there do NOT give you much support in this area, and this is the big differentiator in how your business will grow. I find that most women who want to become CHNs want to learn, but don’t necessarily like the sales/marketing part. Realize that no matter how much you learn and how good you are at your job, if you don’t like self-promotion you likely won’t earn money from it.
Basically, my advice is to get realistic about your motivation for wanting the certification. If you aren’t going to be using it to back up a full-time or part-time business, chances are you have better ways to spend your time and money. Going through a legit program is lots of work. You’ll have to read stuff you’re not entirely interested in to get your credentials, which means it’s a big investment of your precious time. Then, once you do get them, you’re not guaranteed a job. You’ll also have to invest in marketing your business, collecting testimonials, and then keeping that cycle going. This can be an expensive endeavor if you’re not savvy about it.
The level of your ability to deliver results to your clients will speak louder than your credentials. That’s one of the reasons I chose a lesser-expensive, six-month program over a longer one. I wanted to get a respected certification, but I also didn’t want to invest tons of money and time on it. I’ve had friends go through IIN (Institute for Integrated Nutrition) and end up following a different career path out of frustration for not being able to turn it into a business. That’s something to consider when weighing the price of your certification.
Questions or comments? Post them below!