Are you passionate about nutrition and wellness? Pursuing a career as a nutritionist or health coach might be for you. There are many nutrition certification programs out there but the biggest benefit of choosing an online program is that it offers more flexibility for you. Instead of in-person fixed class times, taking the course online allows you to fit your coursework around your work schedule and other obligations. Plus, you get the comfort of completing the program at home.
It’s important to do your research to find the right nutrition program for you. Search online and weigh the pros and cons of each program to ensure it fits your goals, budget, and current lifestyle. To help, here are 5 of the best online nutrition certification programs for 2023.
Best for Budget: International Sports Science Association
The one barrier that holds many people back from receiving continuing education is money. Luckily, there are affordable nutrition certification programs available. If you’re on a budget, consider enrolling at the International Sports Science Association (ISSA). The cost of certification is just $66.58 (USD) plus tax per month for 12-months.
The ISSA Nutritionist course is an online program that will teach you the science of food intake as well as a deep look into the mental aspects involved in client behavior change. The program explores topics like trending diets and myths, macronutrients, and micronutrients, dietary guidelines, supplementation, and more. Along with being budget-friendly, it’s also flexible as you can also study at your own pace. Though, you do need to make sure you can finish the entire course within a year.
Best for Sports Nutrition: National Academy of Sports Medicine
Fitness professionals looking to understand nutrition and health to better support their client’s goals should consider enrolling in the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). They offer two online certification programs to become a nutrition coach, including The Certified Nutrition Coach (CNC) and the Certified Sports Nutrition Coach (CSNC).
The CNC course focuses on strategies to address issues like body composition, obesity, aging, and lifestyle changes for disease management. The CSNC course, on the other hand, focuses on personalized nutritional coaching to improve athletic performance and recovery.
NASM’s nutrition program costs $899 (USD) and is completely online and self-paced. You can access it via computer, phone, or tablet. Once you start the program, you’ll have 1-year to complete the course and take the final exam. That said, if you aim to study about 8- to 10-hours per week, you’ll likely be able to complete the course within 10-weeks.
Best for Plant-Based: eCornell
Individuals looking to specialize in plant-based nutrition should consider Cornell University’s online Plant-Based Certificate program. This is one of the few online programs available that are exclusively for plant-based eating, which features a research-heavy curriculum.
To complete the certification, you’ll need to take three 2-week online courses. However, courses begin every 2-weeks so you can start whenever you’re ready! You can also take the courses back to back, or take time off in between — your choice.
Students typically invest 5- to 7-hours per week on coursework and if you choose to complete the courses back to back, you can earn your certificate in as little as 6-weeks. Lectures, text transcripts, readings, and presentations are accessible 24-hours a day for 3-weeks each. The program costs $455 (USD) per course or $1250 for the entire certificate.
Best Self-Guided: Precision Nutrition
If you work full-time or have a busy schedule but still want to earn your certificate, then consider Precision Nutrition’s program. Though you can finish their program in about 5-months, they give access to their program for an entire year. There are also no deadlines so you can work at home, at your own pace.
The full program costs $119 (USD) per month for 12-months or you can pay $999 up-front. Precision Nutrition’s program is recognized by select US colleges and endorsed by NASM, ACSM, ACE, CrossFit, CIMSPA, and EREPS. Better yet, to make your career path even easier, interviews are available (for those who qualify) with select health and fitness companies in the U.S.
Best Overall: Health Coach Institute
Health Coach Institute offers a great program for both beginners in nutrition and registered dieticians alike. Take your knowledge to the next level through their 6-month online course.
During this program, you’ll learn foundational skills to help others thrive on a holistic level. Their curriculum is based on behavioral psychology, neuroscience, intuitive listening, habit change, and healthy lifestyle design. You’ll also learn about the art of health coaching and how to run a business to help you launch a successful coaching career.
The Become a Health Coach program is CCE-accredited by the International Coach Federation and recognized as an approved training provider by the Canadian Health Coach Alliance, the Federation of Holistic Therapists, and the International Institute for Complementary Therapists. The program costs $5,450 (USD) or you can opt for a monthly payment plan of $850 per month.