If you are sitting here wanting to get started in the world of plant-based nutrition, you are probably wondering how the heck you even start to find the right program for you. There are a variety of programs out there that can help you to become a certified plant-based nutrition coach, a holistic nutritionist, and more. But what option is right for YOU!? In this post, I want to cover the things I took into consideration when looking for the right plant-based nutrition certification course.
A few years ago when I was ready to dive into the world of nutrition as a “professional”, I found myself going back and forth about a few different programs. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with my credentials and that would be a huge deciding factor. All I knew is that getting certified in plant-based nutrition, in some way or another, was what I wanted to do so I began to research.
Here are the 5 things to take into consideration when choosing a plant-based nutrition certification course.
How to Choose a Plant-Based Nutrition Certification Course
1. Length of Time
“How long will it take you to finish this program?”
As a mom with a full-time job (and a newborn at the time that I took my course), I knew I had to have something that was not a long term commitment. I didn’t see 4-6 months or longer as doable for me at the time. I wanted to get in and have a taste of what plant-based nutrition entails, but also have high quality, scientifically-backed, education.
Each program is a different length from 6 weeks to 6 months.
If you are wanting to get started with something quickly and to be able to get through the program efficiently, I definitely recommend the Plant-Based Nutrition Certification program I did through the T Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.
“What is the financial investment into this program? Can you work it into our budget?”
This may be the largest deciding factor for many and I know it was one of the important ones for me. We did not have a lot of extra money in our budget so I knew I would have to save in order to take this course.
When doing the research I found that the courses I looked at were anywhere from $900 – $1500 approximately. But then there was also the college nutritionist or dietician courses that were exponentially more. (And we’re what I was needing or wanting right now)
3. Credentials and How They Can Be Used
“Once you are done with this course, how can you use the credentials professionally?”
Not all nutrition courses are created equal and you aren’t able to do the same things with each different credential. Some courses give you a certificate in that field, which is what I received doing the Plant-Based Nutrition course through eCornell and T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.
If you are wanting to practice in a hospital or own a practice, you will likely need a degree vs. credentialing. However, this can differ state to state.
This certificate does not allow me to practice in a medical setting or as a nutritionist.
4. In-Person or Online
“Do you need to attend in-person classes or are they online?”
Majority of the program’s I found were online with the exception of the college courses. However, even some of those were online.
If you are considering getting certified in plant-based nutrition, I highly recommend deciding which option would be more desirable to you and how those work with the other needs you have (like cost, or length of program).
5. Pace (self-led or scheduled times)
“Will you be able to complete the lessons on your own time? Will it fit into your current life schedule/routine?”
How much time do you have to dedicate to your course? This can absolutely play a huge role in which course to choose. I would imagine that no matter which course you took you can plan on dedicating at least 2 hours to reading, studying, or other work related to your course.
If you are balancing another job or a gaggle of kids, you may find a course like the one I did would be the best option.
The future you envision with your certification will play a big part in the program you choose. I encourage you to research and ask questions to anyone you can find who will take the time to answer them. And not just those who work for the companies but those who are not affiliated and have taken the course (like me for example!).
If you have any questions about which nutrition certifications is the best option for you, I’d be happy to share my experience with the one I took and the one I plan to take.
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