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How to Become a Nutritionist: Degree & No Degree (UK)

How to become a nutritionist header image

Want to learn how to become a nutritionist, but baffled by the conflicting information out there? 

Some sources will claim that you need to be qualified up to degree level to earn your title as a nutritionist, while others will try to sell you unregulated short courses in nutrition that will get you nowhere. 

That’s why we’ve put together a full guide on the different routes that you can take when becoming a nutritionist, whether you’re looking to complete a BSc (Hons) in nutrition or you simply want to know whether there is a shorter route. 

Interested in an Ofqual Regulated and REPs accredited award in Advanced Sports Nutrition that can be studied entirely online? If so, check out our course page before you carry on reading to find out more or download our latest prospectus here!

What is a Nutritionist? 

what is a nutritionist

To get straight to the point, it’s important to understand what the term ‘nutritionist’ actually means before we answer the question of 'how do you become a nutritionist?'. 

A nutritionist is someone who can give advice on nutrition and dieting to both groups and individuals. A holistic view of their role includes an overall promotion of good health, alongside preventing diseases through positive lifestyle changes when it comes to nutrition. 

To clear things up further, those who operate under this title may able be referred to as a certified nutritionist consultant, nutrition advisor, nutrition coach, etc. so it doesn't matter whether you're looking up how to become a nutritionist consultant or want to know more about becoming a nutrition coach, it's all the same information! 

We’ll discuss the different roles that are available in this area later on in the article, as well as who hires nutritionists, as this will no doubt give you a better idea of who nutritionists are and what opportunities are available to them. 

For now, let’s take a look at this definition from medicinenet.com for further clarity: 

what is a nutritionist definition

This may seem confusing if you didn’t already know that those operating under the title don’t necessarily need to be trained (or even licensed), but not to worry; we’re about to explain exactly what this means. 

Difference Between a Dietician and Nutritionist

What this information boils down to is the blurred lines between these two different career paths. Their names are often used interchangeably, which is incorrect as there is one main difference between the two: 

  • The title ‘nutritionist’ is not protected here in the UK, meaning that those using it aren’t currently required to hold certain qualifications (more on this later) 
  • The title ‘dietician’ is in fact protected, and only those holding an approved BSc (Hons) degree may register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), and then practice under the title 

Hopefully this clears things up a bit, and helps us to provide a better nutritionist definition! 

If you’re still a little confused over this protected term business (especially if you’ve read unreliable sources online that state you that you need a degree to become a nutritionist), check out this information from the official GOV.UK website:

how to become a certified nutritionist

This shows that although the term isn’t protected, which means that there are probably nutritionists out there without relevant knowledge or qualifications, it’s still possible to register as a nutritionist with the AfN and begin a fulfilling and reputable career. 

Of course, those that don’t have relevant qualifications or knowledge in nutrition and practise under the title will be found out pretty quickly, and struggle to find a job or gain any clients for their own business. Just something to keep in mind! 

Also, most jobs will only hire those who have either a degree in Dietetics, or those that have an equivalent vocational qualification that provides them with the knowledge and expertise that they would need to aid their clients. 

 

Enquire to Become a Nutrition Advisor

Gain the knowledge and expertise needed to become a nutritionist!

Another of the main differences between the two titles is that dietitians can work alongside doctors and health professionals to aid those with health problems, whereas nutritionists are there to provide diet plans for their clients outside of a health setting. 

We’ll cover every aspect of nutritionist careers later on in the article, but we hope this leaves you feeling reassured and clears up your initial question of ‘what is a nutritionist?’ before we dive into the good part… 

What Qualifications Do I Need to Become a Nutritionist? 

As you may have guessed from the title of our article, there are two main routes to becoming a certified nutritionist. 

While you don’t necessarily have to gain relevant qualifications to earn the title (as you will have learned from our previous section), you’ll certainly struggle to gain employment without them. 

Route 1: How to Become a Nutritionist Without a Degree

Despite a lot of the false information out there, it is definitely possible to become a nutritionist without holding a BSc (Hons) degree. 

The main thing that you need to be aware of if you do decide to choose this route though, is that the course that you choose to enrol on is run by a reputable course provider, and covers a variety of relevant content that will truly help you to grow your knowledge in this area. 

Step #1: Researching possible career paths 

nutritionist career options research

Before enrolling on the first course you stumble upon, you should definitely have a think about the kind of career that you want. The qualifications that you choose will directly affect your employability when it comes to specific job roles. 

If you’re already working as a fitness professional for example and you’re looking to add to the services that you already provide for your clients rather than pursuing a full-time career in nutrition, then a sports nutrition course would be all that you needed, and learning how to become a holistic nutritionist isn't such a difficult route! 

If you were thinking of becoming an Online PT and providing meal plans as part of a paid service online (so you would become an online nutritionist), a course in this area would also cover you for this, as well as being able to provide meal plans to your regular gym clients. 

In short, if you wish to advertise yourself as a qualified nutrition advisor or become a nutrition coach then there really is no need to complete a degree, although it’s not a waste of time if you do have one already. 

Stick with us to find out more on nutritionist careers later on in the article! 

Step #2 - Finding a course provider 

This links directly to our previous point, as the role or additional expertise that you wish to gain is affected by the area of nutrition that you study, e.g. sports, health-related, etc. 

We do actually run a specialist course in obesity and diabetes control here at OriGym that compliments nutrition expertise nicely, if you were looking to move into the sports nutrition field. 

So, what things should you look out for when choosing your course provider? 

Accreditations 

Before you even look at course content, the first thing that you should do is scrutinize their website from top to bottom and find out whether their course is:

  • Ofqual regulated
  • REPs recognised (if it’s a sports or exercise related course) 
  • Recognised or accredited by all necessary bodies in the sector that your course falls under 

If you weren’t already aware, Ofqual is a government department here in England that regulates all qualifications, including school examinations and tests. 

They’re essentially there to ensure that the qualifications that people receive are high-quality and provide them with the knowledge that they need to fulfil any duties post-qualification. 

They also provide the clients of those who take these qualifications with reassurance that they’re receiving a service from someone who is adequately trained and skilled in their area, and chose to become a certified nutrition coach in the right way! 

Delivery Methods & Location

Depending on how busy you are and whether you’re currently working full-time or not, one of the biggest deciding factors for you right now might be whether the course is time-consuming or not. 

Location ties into this if the course can’t be fully completed online, as it means that you will have to travel to take part in any workshops or assessments that need to be completed at the course provider’s venue. 

Ask yourself:

  • Can the course be completed online? 
  • Do I have to attend any workshops/assessments? If so, where are they based?
  • Do the delivery methods of the course suit me? (e.g. online lectures, online portfolios, etc.)
  • How much support will I get? Will I have direct contact with a tutor?

If you can’t find the answers to all of these questions on the course provider’s website then don’t hesitate to contact them and ask. It’s better to find out everything now before you make the decision and purchase a course! 

Course Length 

This is related to the previous point, as it can be one of the most important deciding factors for those who are incredibly busy. It also answers the question of ‘how long does it take to become a certified nutritionist’ if that’s your aim through completing a course! 

The time that it takes to complete a course is also a huge indicator of course quality. 

If a course is only a few hours long, for example, then there’s no way that it’s going to teach you  everything that you need to know when becoming a nutrition advisor, and we doubt that a course of this length would ever be able to qualify for Ofqual approval. 

The course that we run here at OriGym takes an average of 12 weeks to complete, and this is because it covers all of the expertise that you will require if you’re looking to become a professional nutritionist. 

It’s not an incredibly long time for the sake of getting properly qualified, and it’s much shorter than completing a 3-year degree!  

You also get unlimited free career support, and you can start the same day that you enrol (as it is a course that can be completed fully online). 

Cost & Payment Plans 

Just like course length, the cost of a course is not only an indicator of its quality, but it’s also something to factor in depending on your budget. 

If you enrol on a free course, or one that is ridiculously cheap, then it’s safe to say that you’re not going to be completing an adequately accredited or regulated qualification. 

At the end of the day, this is something worth investing in since it’s a part of your career, and if you’re on a limited budget then we’d highly recommend saving up for a qualification or spreading the cost by finding a course provider than has a payment plan to suit you. 

For example, here at OriGym we realise that not all of our students are able to pay for their courses upfront, which is why we offer the option to spread the cost with 0% interest. 

While an accredited nutrition course may not seem like a cheap investment, it’s certainly cheaper than university tuition fees, so if you don’t require a degree for the types of roles that you’re looking at then we would suggest keeping an open mind! 

Reviews 

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Last on our checklist of things that you should look out for when searching for a course provider are reviews. 

It’s so important to get an insight from other students, as they are the only people who can give you a completely impartial and honest review of the course that you’re looking to complete. 

If you’ve found a course that ticks all of the boxes for you so far, then you should definitely check if they’re signed up with Trustpilot

It’s the best review platform in terms of having genuine reviews, as each review has to be from a verified customer of the company before it is approved and published online. Reviews are incredibly difficult to forge on the platform, meaning that the course providers can’t dupe you into believing that they’re better than they are.

In our opinion, any course provider that is proud of their overall reputation and takes it seriously will be signed up to this platform. 

Step #3 - Beginning your career!

Once you’re qualified, it’s time to refer back to your initial research and begin your career as a nutritionist. 

There are a variety of settings that you can work in with this under your belt, and a number of ways that you can use your newfound expertise to provide a new service to your existing clients (and boost your income), so feel free to skip ahead to find out more! 

Route 2: Approved BSc (Hons) Degree 

If you’re considering completing a degree in nutrition, or any degree at all, it’s important that you make an informed decision when it comes to finding the right university course. 

It is especially important for courses surrounding nutrition, however, as the main career in this area that requires a degree is that of a dietician, and there are a limited number of courses that you can complete here in the UK that actually lead to this (despite popular belief). 

But we’ll get to that in a moment! 

We’ve put together a step-by-step process for becoming a nutritionist with a degree, although you don’t require one, just in case you’re wondering whether this is a good option for you. 

Step #1 - Determine whether a degree is the best option 

This isn’t just something that we’re saying specifically for when you’re considering becoming a nutritionist, but making the decision to study towards any degree is a huge commitment, both financially and with the time that it takes to complete. 

We covered ‘researching possible career paths’ as part of our section on how to become a nutritionist without a degree, and this is what we’re getting at here. 

Before you commit to studying for three years and taking out student loans, you should have a think about the kind of career that you want to pursue. If you simply want to work under the title ‘nutritionist’, ‘nutrition coach’ or ‘nutrition advisor’, then it’s good to know that you don’t need a degree to do so. 

However, if you want to become a registered dietitian then it’s a different story. 

Choosing the wrong course could mean that you’re no more qualified to work as a dietician (if that’s what you eventually want to become) than someone who has completed a short course to become a nutritionist, which leads us into… 

Step #2 - Finding a university course 

If you’re intent on completing a degree in nutrition, then the most important step to getting qualified is finding the right degree course. 

OriGym’s list of the best sports universities might be useful to you if you want to know more on how to compare different universities when you’re still in the searching stage, especially since we go pretty in-depth when it comes to running background searches. 

You should have a go at putting together your own comparison for the universities that you’re considering, and structure it in a similar way! 

To narrow down your search, you should check out The Association of UK Dieticians website for their list of university courses that lead directly to either an AfN registration, or to starting a career as a dietician rather than a nutritionist. 

The MSc courses are also listed here, which is useful if this is something that you’re interested in or want to find out more about.

They’re actually the only courses that are accredited by the BDA (British Dietetic Association) anyway, which shows how much of a niche this is… 

So, if you do decide on a degree in Dietetics, what should you look out for? 

Accreditations

If you’re going to complete any degree in nutrition to practise under the title ‘nutritionist’, then you may as well ensure that the degree that you’re completing would allow you to practise as a dietician also, should you decide to go down this route in the future. 

As we mentioned above, you can check the list of courses accredited by the Association of UK Dieticians on their website. 

If this isn’t important to you, then you should at the very least ensure that the course leads to AfN registration, as even available short courses in nutrition can lead to this. 

The reason we’re telling you this is that we wouldn’t want you to complete a degree, only to find out that it doesn’t add any benefit to your career progression!

If a degree course is accredited, then this should be stated on the institution’s webpage, but you can always refer back to the BDA website if you’re in doubt. 

Delivery Methods & Location

The delivery and study methods of a university course are probably one of the most important things to research before enrolling. 

You’re going to be studying the course for at least three years, and you don’t want to end up struggling to pass because you’ve picked a course with a study method that doesn’t line up with your individual learning style.

After researching the BSc (Hons) courses on the BDA’s website, the course locations in the UK are as follows: 

  • Coventry University
  • King’s College London 
  • Leeds Beckett University 
  • London Metropolitan University 
  • University of Chester 
  • University of Plymouth 
  • University of Surrey 
  • University of Hertfordshire 
  • Ulster University 
  • Glasgow Caledonian University 
  • Queen Margaret University 
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University

It’s important to consider the location of the course that you wish to study as well as the study method, especially if you will need to relocate for the 3-year duration. This is a pretty big commitment, and requires some thought! 

Reviews & Rankings

Finally, if you’ve decided to take the degree route and you’ve shortlisted some courses, it’s time to see how they compare to one another according to both current and past students.

Not only this, but universitycompare.com is just one of the fantastic resources that you can use to gain an insight into how a specific course ranks against its competitors. The interface is incredibly easy to use, and looks like this:

how to become a nutritionist without a degree screenshot

You can also get a holistic oversight of the university, and how good it is for:

  • Overall course quality
  • Accommodation 
  • Social life 
  • Post-graduation career opportunities

Studentcrowd.com is also a great platform for viewing reviews from students, from the course itself to campus facilities and the careers service. It also gives information on offer and acceptance rates, which is always good to know before making your final UCAS shortlist. 

We suggest using a variety of the top ranking review platforms on Google before making your decision, to get a well-rounded idea of each course before making any commitments!

Step #3 - Applying to jobs!

how to become a nutritionist online image

After your three years of studying on an accredited university course in Dietetics is up, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice and begin your career in nutrition. 

If you want to practice as a dietician, then that’s a topic for another day. Since this is a guide to becoming a certified nutritionist, we’re going to cover everything that you need to know about nutritionist careers, right after we talk about…

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How Much Can I Earn? 

The reason that we’re covering this before we go into the careers that are available to you is that we know from experience that it’s one of the most important things to find out before beginning a new career path. 

Everyone has different goals, dreams, and ideas about what their perfect career would entail, which is why it’s important to know the truth before you dive into anything! 

We want to be as transparent as possible so that you can decide what is right for you and your career aspirations. 

So, before we go into what we know to be true for fitness professionals, what do the career websites say about salaries for nutritionists? 

how long does it take to become a certified nutritionist

While this isn’t a bad average wage, it certainly doesn’t reflect the salary that you could be earning through approaching your career a little differently. 

Most nutritionists here in the UK are already working in the fitness and nutrition sector in closely related roles, and use their qualifications and expertise in nutrition to supplement their current income.

These include fitness instructors, personal trainers, and online fitness and nutrition coaches to name a few. 

Many fitness professionals earn a hefty salary by centering their business around aiding others with their physical fitness, and then branching out into other areas. Luckily for you, nutrition is one of the most profitable of these areas, along with sports massage therapy and strength and conditioning.

This is for two reasons. For one, clients who pay to have their fitness fine-tuned will pay extra to get a personalised meal plan, as nutrition makes up around 70-80% of weight loss success. 

This helps with client retention as well, which you can read more about in our personal trainer client retention strategy, as they’ll always pick a PT that includes a meal plan as part of their packages over a trainer who doesn’t! 

The second reason is that the online fitness coach business is booming at the moment, with fitness professionals making an absolute fortune from selling their services online as well as in-person. 

You guessed it; a huge part of this business is nutrition, and expanding your knowledge in the area before advertising yourself as a nutrition advisor online is the best way forward. 

You can sell personalised meal plans and exercise plans to thousands of online clients and make a salary that far exceeds that of a clinical dietician, all without a degree!  

Check out our list of the 9 highest paying fitness jobs to see how becoming a nutrition coach compares to other roles that fitness professionals can financially benefit from the most. Or, see how you can join the top 2% of fitness professionals that earn 60k and above by reading our article on personal trainer salary and how it works! 

Nutritionist Careers

Now that we’ve gone through the salary that you can expect through working in this field, it’s time to take a look at the different nutritionist career options that are available to you once you’re qualified. 

Before embarking on any kind of career path, it’s important to understand the demand that exists for your chosen role and put it into context. 

According to the House of Commons Library:

28.7% of adults in England are obese. A further 35.6% are overweight but not obese. 

While the statistics are shocking, the silver lining here is that there is a lot of work to be done for those who want to dedicate their career to tackling these figures. 

There is clearly a demand for nutritionists out there in a generation that is struggling to take back the reins with their health and fitness. After years of widespread misinformation, it’s their job to get the world back on track! 

Who Hires Nutritionists? 

Due to the shift in focus onto nutrition over the past few years, you’ll be glad to know that there are a variety of roles in this sector. They’re pretty wide-ranging too, so there really is something for everyone. 

Once you become a nutritionist, you’ll find career opportunities in:

  • Public health 
  • Private health 
  • Clinical nutrition 
  • The sports and exercise industry
  • The food industry

From planning meals in schools and hospitals to conducting research for the government, there isn’t much of a limit that can be applied to a role in nutrition, as long as it isn’t a role that requires a degree like that of a dietician. 

While working in the private sector can see you earning a higher salary, many of those who work in the public sector claim that their roles are extremely rewarding, and that they feel as though they are making a real difference in people’s lives. 

When it comes to the question of who hires nutritionists, the best way to get an insight into the demand surrounding the job title as well as how many roles there are in each of the different settings is to literally look up the jobs that are currently available. 

Luckily, we’ve done that ourselves below to save you the hard work! 

Nutritionist Career Options: Job Websites & Freelancing

We searched on some of the UK’s biggest job sites using the keywords 'nutritionist’ and ‘nutrition’ to come up with the following figures (that are correct as of April 2020):

nutritionist career options graphic

As you can see, there are plenty of nutritionist career options available online. 

If you take the time to scroll through the sites and read individual job posts, you’ll be able to find out more regarding the average salaries of the advertised positions and the settings that they are based in. To give you an example, here’s a job post from Indeed:

nutritionist careers screenshot

Not only is the salary decent, but you’ll be glad to know that you can apply to this role without holding a degree, as long as you’re registered with the AfN and can display relevant experience in the area. 

This is actually the second role that appeared in our search, and is certainly a good sign when it comes to uncovering career prospects for those who have recently qualified. 

This particular role is with the government, which suggests why the salary is so high, but from just that one search we saw opportunities with Holland & Barret (the health food chain), private health companies and gym chains to name a few. 

As we mentioned earlier in our section on how much you can earn once you learn how to become a certified nutritionist consultant, some of the best career options for those looking to start a career in nutrition involve freelance work, rather than applying to salaried roles. 

So, what would a career such as this look like? And how can someone looking to work under the title ‘nutritionist’ take things to the extreme when it comes to getting their name out there and earning a killing from helping others improve their health? 

The answer is simple, and somewhat unsurprising; learning how to become an online nutritionist. 

You can find out more on the actionable steps that you can take to make your business successful in our guide to personal trainer marketing (which can also be used as a holistic resource for those looking for tips on putting together a marketing strategy in the health and fitness sector). 

Or, you can take a look at the Backlinko website for a range of information surrounding SEO and content marketing, which is essential for anyone looking to become an online nutritionist.  

However, the point that we’re trying to make here is that the ‘best’ career options for nutritionists aren’t always those that require a degree, or those that are in clinical settings and appear as the highest paying jobs on job sites. 

If anything, you can make triple the salary of these roles if you put your all into your own business, and use the correct marketing strategies and overall approach when dealing with prospective clients. Not to mention, you’ll get to benefit from the added bonus of being your own boss! 

If building a database of clients whose lives you are actively changing while making enough money to sustain yourself without a salaried role doesn’t make for a fulfilling career, then we don’t know what does. 

Armed with the proper marketing knowledge as well as being clued up on nutrition, you can certainly go on to achieve what others in the industry already have, and beyond. 

You don’t even have to go online if you don’t feel ready for that yet; you could build a brilliant health and nutrition career from working out of your local gym! 

We even run a business and marketing CPD here at OriGym to encourage our students to push themselves further in their careers, as we ourselves have seen a great deal of success in the industry from continued professional development. 

Skills Needed to Become a Nutritionist

skills of a nutritionist graphic

As working as a nutritionist can be a pretty diverse role depending on the environment that you’re working in and whether or not you’re doing it full-time, we’ve put together some holistic skills that every nutritionist or nutrition coach should have if they’re going to embark on a successful career. 

There may be extra skills required or listed in a nutritionist job description for a certain role, but these are the ones that you should build on during your training (and possess as part of your disposition!). 

#1 - Friendly and Approachable  

Whether you’re intent on becoming a nutrition coach in a one-to-one setting or online, it’s important that your demeanour is consistently friendly and approachable. 

Unsurprisingly, nutrition can be a touchy subject, especially if you’re working with those who are struggling with health conditions or addictions to certain types of food. This is incredibly likely considering that one of the main skills of a nutritionist is to promote good health and prevent disease.

You should put yourself forward as someone who will guide them through their journey with nothing but kindness, and someone who they will feel comfortable seeking help from. 

You should maintain a positive attitude throughout the entire process from building rapport with prospective clients the first time that you connect with them, all the way to having a warm and encouraging approach in each session to help them stay motivated. 

Not only will this help you to fulfil your job role by boosting your client’s success rates, but it will also have a positive impact on sales, which is great news for your business. 

#2 - Non-judgemental and Patient 

skills of a nutritionist image

Let’s face it, no matter how long someone has been practicing good nutrition for, everyone is going to slip up at some point. It’s all about good balance and sustainability, which is impossible to achieve by eating perfectly 24/7. 

This is why one of the most important nutritionist skills needed for success is to be non-judgemental with your clients. 

Even if they slip up a lot at first despite your efforts, you won’t get anywhere by losing your patience with them or acting stern. They need to want to help themselves, and they’ve enlisted your help to keep them motivated and pick them up when they fall, not so they will be shamed into eating better. 

If shame comes into the equation then you may as well tell your clients to try another nutritionist, as that’s exactly what they’ll do! You should work only on boosting their confidence and motivation, never the opposite. 

It’s also important that you make your clients feel comfortable in your presence, and never intimidated by the fact that you automatically know more about nutrition than them. 

You don’t want to come across as condescending, as this is something else that could put them off altogether. You need to be a great listener, and good at remaining neutral at all times! 

#3 - Knowledgeable

This goes without saying, but without being knowledgeable in your subject you can’t expect to properly fulfil your role. 

As we mentioned earlier, it’s obvious that there are people out there who will exploit the fact that the word ‘nutritionist’ isn’t a protected title, and they will name themself an expert without having the relevant knowledge or expertise. 

Our message is simple: don’t be one of these people. 

Get yourself a qualification that is Ofqual regulated, and ensure that you have the correct knowledge skill set to provide a quality service to your clients. 

If you fail to do so, you could land yourself in a whole heap of trouble, especially if your clients question you about the qualifications that you hold, if they don’t see their desired results, or worse; they have a health condition and you’ve advised them without proper authority to do so. 

The most important skills needed to become a nutritionist center around the principles that you’ll learn during a properly regulated course, that will usually last around 12 weeks as opposed to a few hours. 

Keep this in mind when choosing the qualification that you’ll complete, and remember to study hard once you’re enrolled, not just for your clients but to enhance your own skills! 

#4 - Organisational and Communicative

skills needed to become a nutritionist

If you’re currently working as a fitness professional or any kind of health coach, you’ll know that a role in this area involves a lot of organisation and effective communication, especially since you’re working with clients on-one-one as well as part of a group. 

Organisation is something that any role in health and fitness demands, and there’s no room for being unpunctual. You need to focus on increasing your client retention to make your business a success. 

One of our top tips to aid you with organising your business would be to invest in a good piece of nutrition software for professionals. That way, you can store all of your client information in one place, as well as cutting down the amount of manual admin tasks that you need to perform!  

Since it’s your client’s health that you’re aiding, it’s also important that you’re constantly available to them should they need your help. It’s imperative to have great communication skills in this industry to keep your client’s engaged, especially if you only meet one-to-one in person or via video once or twice per week. 

It’s not just about the service that you deliver, it’s how you deliver it. If you give your clients the right information in the wrong way, it can easily be forgotten or misconstrued, and this only leads to frustration on both ends. 

You should strive to put every piece of information across to them in the most concise yet effective way, so that they remember what you’ve instructed. 

Nutrition software can help with communication as well as organisation, as most software allows you to run online video calls/webinars, which is especially helpful if you coach your clients online! 

#5 - Business Minded

While it’s important to have a skillset that directly relates to how you deliver your services, as this will benefit your clients the most (which is arguably the most important aspect of working in the health and fitness industry), it’s definitely a great idea to ensure that you’re clued up on all things business related. 

If you’re a freelance nutrition coach and you don’t practice within a gym environment, then it’s even more crucial that you’re able to market yourself effectively. 

With the rise in online services and how competitive the marketplace has gotten, it really is sink or swim, and the best thing that you can do to avoid sinking is educating yourself through a relevant Ofqual regulated business course to enhance your skills in:

  • Marketing 
  • Advertising 
  • Selling your services

If you don’t already possess these skills, then it’s likely that you’ll find it completely overwhelming to set up your own business, especially when faced with your competition. It’s a great idea to get the upper hand early on, before they get a chance to compete! 

If you want to learn more about the skills needed to become a nutritionist, go check out some more nutritionist job descriptions and see what employers are asking for when it comes to the area that you’re looking to apply to. 

Registering as a Nutritionist 

While this is something that you don’t actually need to do to practice under the title, and it’s certainly not necessary if all you’re looking to do is provide nutrition advice and guidance for your clients, it’s still important to a lot of people getting qualified in the field. 

The most common misconception about registering as a nutritionist, however, is that you need to hold a degree in the subject. 

We can assure you that this isn’t true, and that if it is important to you that you register with the AfN, you can do so by completing an AfN approved course in nutrition. 

The registration process can seem overwhelming when you first take a look at their website, but not to worry! We’ll quickly break it down for you.

Here’s are the two registered nutritionist categories as they appear on the AfN site: 

registering as a nutritionist

The first one is pretty self explanatory, and clearly requires a BSc (Hons) or an MSc from one of the approved university courses that we discussed earlier. 

However, the second can come across as vague. It essentially means that if you complete an AfN approved course in nutrition, which is classed as ‘degree-level practice’, then you’ll be able to register with them no problem!

That being said, completing a course such as this is only necessary if you’re intent on working in a health environment, rather than providing meal plans and nutrition advice to clients. 

Nutritionist Insurance 

Finally, once you’ve decided on your career path and you’ve become a qualified nutritionist, it’s time to get yourself insured so that you can safely aid others with their diet and health. 

Not only does having relevant insurance cover yourself when it comes to client claims, but it also re-assures prospective clients that you’re a trustworthy individual who they can rely on.

Any nutritionist or health professional that doesn’t insure themselves comes across as extremely unprofessional, and could land themselves in a dangerous position. 

So, what kind of nutritionist insurance do you need? 

If you’re not already familiar with the types of insurance that health and fitness professionals should look out for, they are as follows: 

  • Public liability insurance 
  • Employers liability insurance (if you run your own facility and hire employees). 

Public liability insurance or professional treatment liability insurance will cover you for any clients that claim that your advice has caused issues for their health or wellbeing, and also covers you in the event that a client’s personal property is damaged. 

We know it’s uncommon, but say you spill a coffee on a client’s laptop or mobile phone… it’s great to know that you’re covered for this! 

This is definitely the first type of nutritionist insurance that you should look out for as part of your policy, as it could mean the difference between your business crumbling or staying afloat should any unwanted claims arise. 

Next, you should always ensure that your policy comes with employer’s liability insurance if you employ anyone else as part of your nutrition business. You’ll need this to cover them should any clients make a claim against them, especially since it will cover your company simultaneously. 

Finding Nutritionist Insurance Providers

The best way to go about finding the right insurance provider for you is to scour the policies of each of the top providers listed on Google, and then cross-reference this information with the company’s reviews. 

A great place to find out how trustworthy a company is, as we mentioned earlier in our section on finding a nutrition course provider, on the TrustPilot website.

Here, you’ll be able to see reviews from approved customers, and the company’s star score out of 5. 

We performed a quick search on Google, and know from experience that the following providers are popular amongst those who become nutritionists: 

nutritionist insurance image

Hopefully this gives you a helpful starting point in finding the right nutritionist insurance provider and policy for you and your business! 

Conclusion

We hope that you've found our guide on how to become a nutritionist without a degree (as well as with a degree) helpful! We know how confusing the information spread across the web can be, especially if you're new to this field. 

Hopefully we've cleared everything up regarding the difference between learning how to become a 'holistic nutritionist' or becoming a 'nutrition coach', as it's true that these terms are used interchangeably and basically mean the same thing. The only thing that you should remember to keep separate is the term 'dietician'. 

Ready to take the next step in becoming a certified nutritionist? If so, don't forget to enquire below, or download our FREE prospectus to find out more about what you could be learning.

Our course takes 12 weeks to complete, and provides you with everything that you need to know to kick-start your career as a holistic nutritionist!

References:

  1. William C. Shiel. (). Medical Definition of Nutritionist. Available: https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=4603. Last accessed 6th April 2020
  2. Carl Baker. (2019). Obesity Statistics. Available: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn03336/. Last accessed 6th April 2020

 

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Written by Chloe Twist

Fitness Content Manager, OriGym

Join Chloe on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Chloe graduated with a BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University and prior to OriGym worked at J&R Digital Marketing Agency on the Liverpool 'Female Founders' series. Since joining the company, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer and advanced Sports Nutrition Specialist. Chloe’s professional interests intersect content-development and the world of online fitness, especially across social media and YouTube, and Chloe has herself contributed pieces on fitness and weight loss to sites including the Daily Star and The Express. Outside her day-to-day role, Chloe enjoys playing the guitar, gaming and kettlebell training. 

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