What is the real different between a certified nutritionist and a nutrition consultant? If you are looking to start a career in nutrition or dietetics, it is important to research all of the pathways that you can take to turn your dream job into your actual career. The title that you choose to pursue will dictate what type of formal program you need to take and how long you will need to attend school. If you fail to learn the difference between a nutritionist and a consultant, you can delay your mission to start your professional life and waste money taking the wrong courses and curriculum. Read descriptions of each job, and then you can decide which pathway to travel down.
What is a Certified Nutritionist and What Do They Do?
Certified nutritionists, who may also be called clinical nutritionists, are highly qualified professionals who structure diets for patients based on how food can affect the body biochemically. They may consider digestive problems, metabolic issues, immune function, how the brain responds to certain chemicals and how by-products can harm a patient’s health. They work with individuals and not just with the general public when structuring a diet. This is because each of their patients will have a health concern that affects what they can consume.
In order to become a Certified Nutritionist, you will need a four-year degree in clinical nutrition or a master’s degree in human nutrition, American Nutrition Association. In addition to possessing an accredited bachelor’s degree, you must complete no less than a 900-hour internship. After you have the hands-on clinical experience, you will then sit for a national board exam so that you can show you can effectively manage nutrition programs for patients.
What is a Nutrition Consultant and What Do They Do?
Some may use nutritionist and consultant interchangeably, but they are two very different positions. Nutrition consultants also need to be certified to land most jobs with reputable employers, but what they do on a daily basis is not the same, according to Wise Geek. As a consultant, you will need to know how food affects different systems of the body, but your primary role will be to educate clients about their dietary needs and how they can change their diets to improve their health.
Consultants will generally assess the current lifestyle of their clients to look for areas that need adjusting. Once they see how they eat, watch their activity, and review their medical history, they will help them make lifestyle changes that are practical. It is not about major dieting, but about creating a nutrition plan that can be maintained realistically. Some consultants will recommend supplements and offer guidance to help their clients stay motivated.
Becoming a nutritional consultant does not take quite as much time as becoming a nutritionist. You will need to earn a bachelor’s degree in dietetics or a related field. You may also need to take a certification program to earn your credential. This may be integrated within your degree program.
Related Resource: Holistic Nutrition
Jobs in human nutrition can be very rewarding. If you have a passion for helping people and you have always been concerned with dietary needs, this could be a great career path for you. Consider the difference between a certified nutritionist and a nutrition consultant, and then you can decide which role is best.