The food we eat directly impacts our health and well-being. Across the United States, a number of health problems are linked to dietary practices. Additionally, more and more people are becoming aware of the need to eat better, healthier foods. As a result, the job of a nutritionist is becoming more important.
What Do Nutritionists Do?
Nutritionists are professionals who work with clients to assess their dietary habits, and modify them to help the clients achieve certain health goals. For example, clients may want to lose or gain weight, or they may be worried about developing high cholesterol. In each case, a nutritionist will first determine the foods they eat for their nutritional value, and then suggest changes to their diet which could help them achieve their goals. The job requires a thorough understanding of different foods, and the best combination required to address specific concerns. Before you become a professional nutritionist, you will have to undergo training to learn the necessary knowledge. While most people choose to pursue a bachelor's degree, you may also consider enrolling in an online nutrition certification program.
Why Choose Online Education?
Some individuals may find the cost of a bachelor's degree too expensive, and may only be interested in getting a preview of the field itself. For these people, completing an online certificate is an option that may meet their needs. As long as you have a reliable computer and internet connection, you will be able to access course material from anywhere and work through it at your own pace. This flexibility also makes online education a great option for professionals who are holding full-time or part-time jobs.
What Will I Learn?
The primary aim of these certification programs is to help you ease into higher learning programs, and offer training that teaches the fundamentals of nutrition. You will learn how to communicate with clients, and help them outline their expectations. You will also learn how to conduct a thorough assessment of their food intake, and then evaluate it for its nutritional value. Some courses will help you sharpen your understanding of the various food groups, and you could apply this when drafting customized diet plans for the client's needs. Additionally, you will be taught how to conduct progress reviews and properly document all your findings.
Licensing and Continuing Education
Once you have completed your online nutrition certification, you will have to demonstrate your capability and knowledge to obtain a license. This will allow you to practice your profession legally in the US. The Commission on Dietetic Registration, the -credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, allows applicants to obtain a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential. Another option is to earn the Certified Nutrition Specialist, offered by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists. You may want to consider completing a bachelor's degree in the field as well, to further your understanding of it. With the enhanced skill set and added degree, you may be able to apply for higher positions within hospitals and fitness centers, which are usually primary employers.