6 Best Nutrition Certifications For Fitness Professionals in 2019

Hey everyone and welcome to my guide on the top nutrition certifications (as well as the best online nutrition certifications) for fitness professionals in 2019. This is for anyone that wants to become a certified nutrition specialist.

If you have searched google with the goal of finding the right nutrition program for you, you probably came out more confused than you did when you went in. That is why I created this guide. I want to give some clarification on the different nutrition certifications that are available. In the end, I suggest checking out the NASM FNS site, the ACE FNS site, and the ISSA nutritionist certification. (or the elite trainer deal when they are running this special).

I highly recommend that you Take the quiz to get an estimate on which nutrition certification is the best fit for you overall. This is just an estimation, read the article to get the full understanding. The menu at the top of this page will answer any question related to Nutrition/Training that you have. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment here (I’ll respond within 24 hours). Also, visit the home page for the most recent and popular articles.

You should also take a look at my article on the top health coach certifications and best group exercise certifications.

There is also a widespread confusion between holding a nutrition certification and being a dietitian and the schooling/requirements for both of these. In addition to this, there is widespread panic for who can give nutrition advice.

As a fitness professional, are you allowed to give nutrition advice? Will you get sued? The overall answer is, no you will not get in trouble. I will talk more about this down below.

By the end, you will have a clear idea of what each certification is about, in which one would be right for you. Let’s stop dillydallying around and get right into the best nutrition certification reviews!

Nutrition Certifications

The Six Best Nutrition Certification programs

This list of the best nutrition certifications are mainly meant for individuals in the fitness industry such as personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, corrective exercise specialists or group instructors etc. So if you are looking for a fitness nutrition certification, these are fantastic choices.

1) NASM CNC Certified Nutrition Coach

NASM CNC Certified Nutrition Coach

The NASM CNC or certified nutrition coach certification is the newest certification to the NASM family here in 2019.

This certification is going to be replacing their old FNS or fitness nutrition specialist certification. There are multiple differences between the two as I will be explaining in a second.

As a certified nutrition coach, you will be able to deliver quality nutrition information and behavioral change strategies to your clients.

You will be able to use this knowledge to increase the likelihood of a successful lifestyle change of your client so that they can lose weight, gain muscle or achieve their health and fitness goal.

Some of the things that you will get from the NASM CNC are:

  • The most cutting edge nutrition information related to wellness, building muscle and losing fat.
  • You will learn a ton about the psychology of mental plateaus with diet and nutrition and how to get past them.
  • Gain the skills on how to combine behavioral change with nutritional science so that your real-world clients can see the results that they deserve.

Cost:

Currently, the cost for the NASM CNC is $899. I have seen it drop to as low as $699 while on sale.

Although this certification is a little bit pricier than the other ones, it provides an excellent well-rounded approach towards nutrition and behavior change that are both very helpful towards your client’s success.

Check the current cost of the NASM CNC here.

Curriculum and study materials:

The NASM CNC does everything online through their study portal. This is one downside if you are a type of person that loves to have a hard copy of the textbook.

The e-book is interactive and contains 24 chapters.

Within each chapter, you will find infographics, downloadable templates, interactive videos, mini quizzes (knowledge checks), chapter quizzes ( with 15 questions per chapter) and a 100 question practice exam.

The 100 question multiple-choice exam is done online and you have three full attempts to take it before purchasing a  retest fee. You need 70% in order to pass. From the date that you purchase the CNC you will have one full year in order to take and pass the exam.

Currently, in 2019 this is one of the best nutrition certification options, but it has some fierce competition with the other certifications on this list. Here is a link to the NASM CNC as well as a link to the old NASM FNS.

Here is the official video for the NASM CNC:

Differences between the NASM FNS and new NASM CNC

There are two primary differences between the old nutrition certification and the new one. The old NASM FNS was simply a credential that was mostly used to gain continuing education credit as well as useful information on diet and nutrition principles.

The first difference is that the new NASM CNC is a full-fledged certification that you will need to get recertified with every two years.

The requirement to get recertified every two years is essential in a field that is constantly changing with new discoveries on nutritional science.

The second difference is that the NASM CNC includes a ton of information on behavioral change and how to implement and combine this information with the nutritional advice you give to clients.

The NASM FNS did not have this information. Changing your client’s daily habits is just as important as giving them nutritional advice.

The new CNC is kind of a combination of a nutrition certification in a health coach certification.

The fact that it is a completely online nutrition program makes it not only one of the best programs overall, but also one of the top online nutrition certifications.

Check out my full review on the NASM CNC or check out the NASM website here for more info.

2) ISSA Nutritionist Certification

ISSA Nutritionist Certification

The new nutritionist certification from the international sports sciences Association is a relatively new fitness nutrition certification.

In this nutrition certification, you will learn all about nutrition as well as be able to master the psychology as well as the science of nutrition coaching.

This nutritionist certification has been completely backed up by peer-reviewed articles and has been deployed and tested on more than 100,000 nutrition clients.

With the certification, you will be confident that you have the knowledge to answer any nutritional question that your client throws at you. You will have the level of knowledge of a Masters degree in nutrition without needing to get an actual nutrition degree.

On top of being able to help all of your clients of fitness/nutrition, you will also be able to better your own personal nutrition in order to achieve your own personal goals.

Overall the program should last between two and eight months long depending on how much you study every day. This is another fantastic online nutrition certification.

It seems like there is a theme with six months of study time after signing up for the certification. ISSA is no different.

This is currently one of my top ranked nutrition certifications because frequently there is a deal to get their nutrition certification for free with the purchase of their regular personal training certification.

So whether or not you want to become a personal trainer, you can at least have the option to become one. And, their CPT + free nutrition certification is the same price as the nutrition certification alone, so there is really nothing to lose. Definitely the best bang for your buck.

Cost:

Currently, the value of the ISSA Nutritionist certification is $799. I frequently see this drop-down as low as $699. ISSA offers a 0% interest payment plan for the certification. They also have a fantastic deal called the Elite trainer program. I’ll explain more.

The elite trainer program includes their nutritionist certification, their personal training certification, and a third certification of your choice Much cheaper than each certification alone. If ISSA is currently running this deal, do not miss it. They also have a fantastic nutritionist certification + training certification deal that they run frequently. For the elite trainer program, I usually recommend to my nutrition students to choose the ISSA sports nutrition certification as their specialization, but you have the option to choose from any of the following specializations.

6 Best Nutrition Certifications For Fitness Professionals in [year] 1

Note: you do not need to become a personal trainer if you do not want to. You can simply study for and pass the nutrition certification/s and have those as standalone certifications. Only if you want to become an elite trainer would you need to pass their trainer exam. But still, the value for both nutrition certifications is worth it.

Curriculum and study materials:

Let’s talk about all of the study materials that you receive with the Nutritionist certification. All of the study materials were curated by Dr. John Berardi ( the creator of Precision Nutrition).

  • A hard copy (and online textbook) of the Nutrition the complete guide (479 pages)
  • An online and home study exam (can be taken in person or online)
  • Online practice exams and quizzes
  • Study guide and workbook
  • Online exercise lab (with more than 30 worksheets)
  • Unlimited support from ISSA professionals (24 hours a day)
  • Access to a student forum
  • A free professional website to build your professional career

I like how you can ask ISSA professionals if you ever get stuck on a topic while you are studying. The online discussions are also helpful for bouncing ideas off other students studying the same issue.

I currently have free study guide for the ISSA training certification I recommend you check out if you get a multiple certification package. Stay tuned for the free nutritionist study it as well!

Bonus Info on this online nutrition certification

Because ISSA has a shared textbook with the Precision Nutrition level I certification if you can obtain the Precision Nutrition certification as well for a greatly discounted price. Without any additional testing, you can achieve the PN level I certification for only $299. This is an option, but to be honest, you will not learn anything additional. This is simply just to receive an additional online nutrition certificate for your resume.

The best thing about the certification is that most the time you can get it for free with their general personal training certification. This is a very powerful combination as is one of the best online nutrition certifications out there.

3) ACE (American Council on exercise) Fitness Nutrition Specialist

The ACE (American Council on exercise) Fitness Nutrition Specialist (FNS)

The American Council on exercise is an incredibly well recognized certifying agency in the health and fitness industry. For that reason, it’s no wonder why their fitness nutrition specialist certification makes the number two spot on my list.

In this fitness nutrition certification, you will learn all of the essentials of nutritional science. You will learn the strong correlation between nutrition and body weight and how to change your clients perspective with evolving behavioral tactics.

The ACE nutrition certification focuses half of their efforts on changing your client’s behaviors as they do on the nutrition aspect.

This is an excellent approach to nutrition overall. You can teach your clients all day long about food, but if they don’t put it into practice when they are alone, it was useless.

After purchasing the ACE certification, you will have six months to study for and take the test. There are no requirements for the ACE nutrition certification.

Cost

There are two separate options for purchasing the ACE fitness nutrition specialist program.

The first is the e-book only option which costs $249

The next option is the hardcopy plus e-book textbook for $299.

Check out the current price for the ACE nutrition certification here.

When I personally purchased the ACE nutrition certification, I got the hard copy. But I just love the feel and smell of real paper.

Curriculum

  • The fitness nutrition manual
  • A four-part video series on fitness nutrition
  • A three-part video series on how to integrate fitness nutrition with your existing clients
  • Coaching behavior change book
  • Coaching behavior change podcast

The curriculum and study materials that ACE provides are excellent for different styles of learning. I got great use out of the coaching behavior audio as well as reading materials.

They also have a strong emphasis on business practices and how you can make more money with the addition of this nutrition service. This is very beneficial especially for those of you who are strong business minded.

This is a decent option for an online nutrition certification program.

Here is a link to the ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist.

Right now you can save on the on the NASM CNC certification!
Here is the link to the NASM CNC sale
Here is the link to the ACE nutrition certification sale
Get a FREE apple watch with the purchase of the ISSA sports nutrition certification
Here is the link to the ISSA sports nutrition deal

4) Precision Nutrition Certification level 1

Precision Nutrition Certification level 1

Precision nutrition is the brainchild of Dr John Berardi. John is a professor and experienced coach that is also a former bodybuilding champion.

This is an exercise and sports nutrition certification designed for fitness professionals to use with their clients. Here are some of the things you will learn in the procession nutrition coaching level I:

  • You will teach your clients to diet and eat better without feeling totally deprived
  • You will be able to teach her clients how to avoid fad diets and ditch food rules that are misguided.
  • You’ll be able to teach your clients how to integrate fitness into their lives without completely dominating their lives.
  • Teach clients how to set achievable goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle even when life tends to get out of control.

Overall I really like what is presented in the precision nutrition certification.  The information that they provide is definitely top-notch. There are only a couple downsides that I will explain in a second.

Cost

The cost of precision nutrition is based on two different purchasing times. The regular non-presale list is listed at $999. If you join the presale list you can get a 20% discount and have it only cost $799. Shipping for the project cost $11 so you contact that on either to the presale list or regular sale list.

Overall definitely one of the more expensive certifications. But they provide an excellent service, excellent information and a great way to integrate this knowledge with new or existing clients.

Some things to note: The precision nutrition certification only opens up two times a year (three times if they are in high demand). This means that you may have to wait up to six months in order to get this credential. Which is something that I think should be opened up year-round. This is a legitimate online nutrition certificate, but this bugs me.

Check out the presale here for Precision Nutrition 

Curriculum

With the purchase of the precision nutrition certification level 1 you will receive:

  • The textbook
  • Video lectures
  • A workbook and study guide
  • Additional assessment forms and questionnaires for your clients
  • Online access to the study forum

Overall the curriculum for the precision nutrition certification is quite good. I really like how you get a physical textbook as opposed to an e-book.

At the end of completing all of the study materials provided, you will need to pass the 18 chapter exams that each contain 10 questions each. So essentially, the final exam is 180 questions.

Check out Precision Nutrition here.

Here is the official video for Precision nutrition:

5) NESTA (National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association) Fitness/Sports Nutrition Coach

The NESTA (National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association) Fitness/Sports Nutrition Coach

There are two different nutrition certifications offered by NESTA.

The first is their fitness nutrition coach certification which is meant for the general public or general clients of personal training.

The second is their sports nutrition specialist certification which is intended only for athletes or those looking to boost their athletic performance.

Overall these are some of the more basic fitness/sports nutrition certification options out there. They will teach you some of the essentials in regards to making your clients healthier and more fit.

NESTA has a decent section on doing nutritional assessments for clients and lending practical advice for performance enhancement for athletes.

Both of these NESTA certifications also have a strong emphasis on building your personal training business and increasing your earning potential by offering nutrition advice in addition to your regular training.

There are no prerequisites for this nutrition certification, and you will be given 12 months to take the test after you sign up.

This is yet another all online fitness nutrition certification.

Curriculum and study materials

  • Online textbook in e-book format
  • Multiple training videos
  • Access to the test

Overall, the study materials did not blow my mind. They do however have everything available to you online and are very easy to access and study. Videos and the textbook are sufficient but are not optimal.

Cost

The cost for the NESTA fitness nutrition coach certification is $297.

The cost for the NESTA sports nutrition specialist certification is $347

They also have the option to purchase and study for both nutrition certifications for only $449. This will save you $195 compared to buying both separately. This is a very reasonably priced online nutrition course.

Check out NESTA here.

6) AFPA Nutrition and Wellness Certification

The AFPA Nutrition and Wellness Certification

The AFPA nutrition and wellness consultant certification teaches you mostly how to apply nutrition information for weight management, fitness performance and overall health enhancement of your clients

You will learn how to be motivational and be able to change the lifestyle habits of your clients. This involves how to communicate effectively with your client’s nutritional concepts and teach them the importance of habit building.

After purchasing the nutrition certification, you will have six months to take the test. There are no prerequisites to sign up for the AFPA. This is another 100% online fitness nutrition certification.

Curriculum and study materials

There are two separate ways you can receive study materials. The first is the 100% digital access. This gives you access to the interactive e-books, full textbook, student practice activities, assessments and nutrition assignments.

The textbook only version allows you to have a physical copy of the book, physical assignments but without the online learning platform.

Both the digital access and textbooks are available as well.

Cost

The current cost for the AFPA nutrition and wellness consultant certification is $599. This is an average price for an online nutrition certificate.

You can see the AFPA here. 

Who’s allowed to give nutrition advice?

The short answer is, it’s legal to give nutrition advice!

This is especially true if you have some knowledge on the topic (i.e., a certification).

What you are not allowed to do is prescribed a diet that is meant to treat an illness or disease for a client. Prescriptions are intended for registered dietitians (an RD) or medical doctors (MD).

So if a client comes up to you and asks for advice on the best diet for their celiac disease, you’re not legally allowed to advise on this.

On the other hand, if you are a personal trainer or strength and conditioning coach, for example, you can give nutritional advice for losing weight, eating balanced/healthy or advice on macronutrients for building muscle.

All of these are acceptable nutrition advice that can come from someone holding a nutrition certification.

You are allowed to talk about overall healthy nutrition practices, provide strategies to improve nutrition and offer tools so that they can incorporate this nutrition advice into their lives.

Not only are fitness professionals in personal trainers allowed to discuss nutrition advice with their clients, but they are also absolutely encouraged to do so.

This is due to the hugely increasing obesity epidemic that we are suffering in the United States (and in the world in general).

As personal trainers or fitness professionals, the only problem is, lots of them don’t feel qualified to give this nutrition advice. If this is how you currently think, the logical next step for you is to obtain an accredited nutrition certification program.

What you will learn from a nutrition certification

sports nutrition certification

If you are a certified fitness professional such as a personal trainer or strength and conditioning coach, you probably learned a little bit about nutrition from your general CPT certification.

These nutrition certifications go into a lot of the same topics of study but anyway more detail. You will learn all of the nutrition science fundamentals and how to apply them to your clients.

You will go into how nutrition plays a role in sports performance, body composition and body weight. You will learn all about digestion, absorption, food intake, micronutrients, and macronutrients.

By the end, you will be a full-blown expert in all of these areas.

These nutrition certifications will also teach you a lot about habit building and habit changing, how to integrate nutrition into personal training/coaching as well as the business benefits you can receive from offering these new services.

Speaking of studying for a nutrition certification, Here at PTPioneer, we are currently working on free study guides for the majority of personal training in nutrition certifications. Currently, we have finished the free NASM FNS study guide, and are working hard to complete the study guides for all of the other major certifications. Stay tuned!

And finally, dun dun dun, here are some excellent accredited nutrition certification programs!

Conclusion on Online Nutrition Certifications

Well, there you have it ladies and gentlemen, my article on the top nutrition programs. I hope you guys walked away knowing the difference between a dietitian and a certified nutritionist. For now, I suggest that you check out my top three nutrition certifications below.

If you have not done so yet, Take the quiz to get a better overall idea of which nutrition certification is the best match for you.

Overall my top three accredited nutrition certification programs are:

These three are the three best online nutrition programs.

You will come away from either one of these three online nutrition courses with a great new toolset of knowledge! 🤓

accredited nutrition certification programs

Remember, it’s not illegal to give clients nutrition advice! In fact, it is wholly encouraged! As long as you are not “prescribing” a nutrition or diet plan toward somebody attempting to fix a disease that they have.

As trainers and coaches, we are responsible for helping our clients maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight. If we keep our mouths shut, we are accomplices to this epidemic.

This is why it is essential to have knowledge of a certified nutrition specialist.

Let me know what you guys thought of my top six nutrition certifications.

Have you guys tried out any of the certifications? What were your experiences with them? Make sure to leave me a comment down below! 🙂

152 thoughts on “6 Best Nutrition Certifications For Fitness Professionals in 2019”

  1. Hi
    Great Info

    Ok…my confusion
    So if one gets a PT Certification from NASM or ACE

    Then can one go and get Fitness and Sports Nutritionist certification from the other

    Example:
    PT Certification from ACE, then an certification NASM FNS ?

    Is their any benefit from keeping both certifications from the same program?
    Cost?
    Go w one in program bundle, cheaper ?
    one accreditation better than the other?

    Are The others like NESTA and ISSA
    “ interchangeable “ as well

    Sorry for the long post
    Hope this makes sense

    *So overall, what would be your path or program recommendation for one that would like to be PT trainer and a Fitness and sports nutritionist*

    A general cost vs value
    If possible 🙂

    I’m winded now
    Lol

    Thank You!

    1. Hey Troy,

      Great questions for sure. In general, if you want to get an advanced certification you only need a general cpt cert under your belt. That means any accredited cpt cert would do. Do you have a nutrition cert in mind? If someone wants to get a specific advanced cert from a provider I usually recommend getting the general cert from the same provider. For example, If you want to get the PES or CES from NASM I recommend getting the general cpt from NASM cause they all use the OPT training model for building programs. I know that the fitness nutrition cert is a lot different than the general cpts though. In terms of cost-benefit I Dont think it really matters. Simply whichever one is the cheapest at the time. Did I answer your question fully? haha if not, keep on asking 🙂

  2. What are your thoughts on other “ Functional Medicine “ programs out there?

    Yes, Thank You Tyler!
    Great blog, by far, one of the best in this field and topics
    PS
    I sent you over an email as well

    Thanks again

    1. Hey Troy,

      Thanks for the shout out for the blog I am glad you are getting some good use out of it. To be honest I do not know too much about functional medicine certs sorry I cannot help more on that topic. Best of luck in your search!

  3. Hi Tyler. I’m a follower of your posts. Iam very interested in doing a cert on nutrition. Iam not a CPT certified. So cannot take ACE as as a prequesite to be called specialist by then one needs NCCA accredited cert beforehand. So m torn between NASM or NESTA ( more economical). So can u give me n idea in terms of learning about nutrition and helping clients how different is one from the other. How much would I benefit form NESTA? Thanks !

    1. Hey Samrat,

      Honestly I believe that the NASM is the better of the two certifications. Not just in terms of the curriculum but also in the way that NASM structures all of their certifications as well as the reputation that they have within the industry. When it comes to the nuts and bolts of the information though, most of the nutrition certifications are similar. I just like the layout of NASM.

  4. Great read, thank you!! I’m trying to decide between NASM and ISSA. My fiance is a personal trainer, mainly with male athletes as he’s a football player. I have had many requests from teammates as well as females I work with to help design meal plans and macro #’s as well as the best supplements to take. I read and a lot and know what works for me, but have decided to aid in the business and get certified. I like both courses for the nutrition but see ISSA assists in supplementing as well. Is there one program you like better or recommend?

    1. Hey Sara,
      I think that both certifications are packed with helpful information and that you would get great use out of both ISSA and NASM nutrition certifications. That being said, in the personal training industry NASM is a little bit more recognized. For example if you are a personal trainer as well as trying to offer nutrition advice, potential employers might recognize the NASM brand name slightly more. If this is not make any difference to you, I think both are very close to one another in terms of the information you’ll gain and the quality of their study materials they provide.

  5. Hi! I love your posts! they are really helpful.
    have you ever heard of The Precision Nutrition Certification? i’ve heard so many good reviews and i wonder why you did not mention it in your post. how is it compare to NASM??

    thanks again!

    1. Hello,
      Yes, I indeed have heard of the precision nutrition certification. It does have good reviews and I am in the process of doing a full review on it as we speak. I will be adding it to this list in the coming week or so and I will also have a full review on it that will go a much more in-depth talking about the features. I am also doing this for the new NASM CNC certification as well that just came out a few weeks ago. Make sure to stay tuned and thanks for stopping by to drop off a comment!

      1. Hello Tyler,

        I have been a massage therapist for 10 years. I’ve always been fascinated with the body. I’d love to learn everything I can without going through a formal college education. Back when I was 17 I studied and took the test for NASM CPT self taught. I didn’t pass at the time, but with all the information I know now I’d like to study and give it another shot. I have two questions.

        One. How much has the information changed for the NASM CPT since 2007. I would assume enough to where I’d have to reorder course material?

        Two. I’m looking into both training and nutrition more from the position of curiosity. I have done a lot of research on both topics. I’d like to formally learn the information to better educate my clients and apply to myself. With this in mind. Would a cheaper nutrition cert like ACE be good for this?

        Thanks in advance for any incite on this.

        1. Hello Joe,
          To answer your first question, the curriculum has changed since 2007. Approximately every 3 to 4 years NASM will change their primary textbook to be the most up-to-date with the physical education information that they are teaching their students. That being said, I do recommend you reorder the new study materials as you don’t want outdated information. To answer your second question, although aces slightly cheaper, it seems like you have already done a good amount of studying for NASM. I also think that the NASM CNC (their new nutrition coach certification) is superior to the nutrition certification from ACE. So if you wish to combine the nutrition certification with a personal training certification, this would be the route I recommend for you. Good luck with all the studying!

  6. Hi –
    I don’t have any formal training in the nutrition or sports field. My background is a BA in Psych and I’ve worked in the HR field most of my career. I have spent the last 2 years training in the gym and eating mostly ‘clean.’ I have learned what my body responds to solely on my own. I’m proud to say I have lost 40 pounds and I’m in the best shape of my life. Would a nutrition certification be of any benefit to someone like me? Could I use it to teach others or do I have to have the personal training background?
    Thanks

    1. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on losing 40 pounds! That is an incredible feat and I’m so glad that you are in the best shape of your life. Absolutely, a nutrition certification can benefit anybody. Even if you do not end up charging for your nutrition services, the knowledge that you will gain from these certifications will help tremendously in your own pursuit of health and fitness. You can absolutely use these principles to help others with their nutrition even if you do not have a background in fitness or are a personal trainer. I hope this helps!

  7. Hi
    From what I reaf about NASM, it doesn’t actually help with detailed meal planning for customers. But it provides more infor about food science. Am I right ?

        1. Hey Kyle, I know! Looks like a fantastic nutrition coach certification. I wonder if they will be phasing out the FNS now. I will be updating this article as soon as I get some more information under my belt on the new NASM CNC!

          1. Hey Domonique,
            I am in the middle of doing a full review of the new NASM CNC certification. I will update this article as soon as it is done as I know that they are phasing out the FNS. I will have a full review coming out soon as well as update all of my old articles so it better portrays the nutrition certification offered from NASM. Stay tuned!

          2. I wanna know about the Nasm CNC program also. I cant decide between the PN level 1 cert ,and the CNC program by Nasm. Thanks!!!!

          3. The CNC is a fantastic certification that kind of blends all of the good aspects of in nutrition certification with certain characteristics of a health coach certification such as behavioral change strategies. I believe this combination is fantastic together because what good is a good nutrition plan if you can’t get your clients to change their behavior and follow a diet? I also like the precision nutrition certification as well but they only offer it twice a year which for me makes it difficult to recommend over NASM.

  8. Hi Tyler, Thank you for all the help with all the diveristy of certifications. 1. I am a register medical assistant in FL do I qualified to be certified with any of your favorite 3 or I need prerequisite? Thanks! 2. Do I have to be a CPT or become one with any of them? Thanks!

    1. Hey Noemi,

      Yes you are qualified for any of these nutrition certifications. You do not need a general personal training certification. Good luck with all the studying and let me know if you have any other questions.

  9. Hi, I am more interested in nutrition certificate, I found that ISSA and NASM are more on fitness training. What course should I take for the certified nutritionist? Is AFTA suitable for me to study? Would really appreciate if I could get your reply.

    1. Hello Charolette,
      Becoming a nutritionist is a different topic. This requires a bachelors degree in a related area, close to a thousand hours of internship time, and passing a very different test in order to become one. These certifications are mostly meant for people in the fitness industry. I hope this helps

  10. Tyler,
    I am a registered nurse and would like to add an certified nutrition certificate. What course exactly do I need to take? It’s a little confusing out here with so much information. I’d like to start as soon as possible and am reading on my own to help me as I go through the course. Thanks for any information you can provide!!

    1. Hey Jan, it depends on whether you are trying to become a registered dietitian, nutritionist or simply get a nutrition certification. Nutrition certifications are mostly for people in the health and fitness industry that work with clients and would like to add additional value. It depends on what you are looking for in the certification.

  11. hi. I don’t want to be a personal trainer, but I’m very interested in learning more about nutrition along with how that effects the clients performance in the gym. would a fitness nutrition certificate still be a good option to me?

    1. Hello Clarissa,
      Yes absolutely. You will learn about how different macronutrients affect physical performance. Good luck with all of your studying and I’m sure you will not be disappointed with the information you learn from any of these nutrition certifications on the list. I hope this helped.

  12. Hi,
    I am from India who is obsessed with fitness for a good six years. I have come to believe that nutrition plays the most important role in fitness. I want to be certified and help individuals from the knowledge gained. So I have narrowed down NASM, ISSA and Precision nutrition certification as the three possible courses. The idea is to be able to do online nutrition coaching. What is your recommendation? TIA

    1. Well in terms of doing online nutrition coaching, I would think all three would serve the same purpose. From my knowledge, neither of them have a specialty section that focuses on online nutrition. Are you a certified personal trainer as of right now? I think that ISSA is a popular choice for people outside of the United States because all of their certifications are in an online environment. I hope this helps a little bit

    2. Hi Ram did you finalize a route , I live in Singapore and my 3 choices are similar.
      Would be good to know what decision you took.

        1. The precision and certification level I is a great certification. The biggest problem I have with it is that they only have openings twice a year. The ISSA nutritionist certification, on the other hand, uses basically the same study materials, is open for registration year round and you can get there grade A personal training certification in combination with their nutrition certification for only $799 usually. But if you have your mind set on precision new, this is a fantastic choice as well. Another great option is the NASM CNC

  13. Hello, I earned a BS in Nutrition 1981 (during the dark ages ☺️) fell victim to crime, dropped out of a graduate medical dietetics internship & became discouraged that I’d ever become certified/licensed to practice functional nutrition promoting health/wellness unless I could afford today’s inflated tuition to repeat all my chemistry courses before formally updating my nutrition knowledge though I have continued following up on my own. What would you recommend for my path into a second act (7 years ago retired on disability w/PTSD) career in the field ?? THANK YOU !

    1. Hello Angela,
      What were you going for back in 1981? Were you trying to become a dietitian or nutritionist? That’s what it sounds like with all the schooling you were trying to do. These are nutrition certifications for health and fitness professionals. These are great for people in the health coaching industry, personal training industry or sports performance industry. These do not replace the schooling you will receive to become a dietitian or nutritionist just to be clear with you. That being said, they are all fantastic options depending on the price point as well as the people you would like to work with. I hope it helps you answer some of the questions.

    1. I give a lot of great information on my site for free. I ask for email addresses in order to provide you up-to-date information on certifications in the health and fitness industry. But you do not need to give me your email address in order to find out which nutrition certification is right for you. By reading the entire article, you will be able to determine on your own which certification is right for your needs. Good luck with all the studying.

  14. Hi Tyler! Great page you have here, helping me narrowing down the options. But I’m not I’m looking for another “carbs are fuel and protein are buildingblocks” approach (not saying anyone of these courses are). Wgat I’m looking for is more; why carbs gives you the greatest pump one day, and bloats you up and you feel fat the next. How can you build up your metabolism to eat 5000kcal a day and still burn fat? What processes supports this? How does carbcycling manipulate your metabolism? How/why does your body adapt to a diet, making you reach a plateau, and stop shedding fat/gaining muscle? How does micros affect your metabolism, and so on…
    Does this make any sense, or am I in the wrong department here?
    I work alot with “the average weight dropper” with fairly good results, but struggle more with getting results on those who are experienced and already at decent level of fitness.
    What do you think would be right way for me?

    1. Hello Morgan,
      A lot of this information is touched upon in all of these nutrition certifications mentioned in this article. But in general it sounds like what you’re looking for is more of information that a bodybuilding client might be interested in. Since most of these certifications want to be able to target the widest variety of individuals, it usually touches upon nutrition in regards to the average Joe and what their needs are. There are not too many people in the world consuming 5000 cal a day and still being able to burn fat without performing a ton of exercise. Professional athletes such as Michael Phelps comes to mind. This type of nutrition advice would be most beneficial for athletes so a sports nutrition certification would be what you are looking for.

      1. Thank you so much for your quick and informative response!
        Yes, I can see that it appears I’m looking knowledge regarding a 1% group 😊
        But still, I believe the processes that is at work at high level athletes, will at some degree be transferable to the average Joe, but of course at different level. And if you know how a Formula 1 car works, I guess understanding a regular lawnmower comes without saying 😊🙄🤔 was that a bit harsh? 😊
        Anyway…
        I read in one of your comments that the NASM CNC would be top notch…? Is it? Would it be the most covering and extensive, or is it a degree you can brag about that holds the extra costs (you have to recertify every 2 years?)? You said a sports nutrition course would be more suitable? Do they cover a deeper matter? Do they only cover nutrition regarding sport performance and competition?

        There is a jungle out there of options, everyone claiming they have the best program, so you narrowing it down is GOLD! 👍
        Here in Norway the options are narrow, unless you do a 3 year school run, ending up with a degree that doesn’t give much professions to choose from…

        Hope you have time for another comment 😊
        Thank you 👍

        1. Hello Morgan,
          Yes, I’m actually in the middle of doing a review of the NASM CNC certification. So far it does seem to be the most in-depth certification. The fact that you need to recertify with this nutrition certification every two years shows that they are dedicated towards keeping their fitness professionals up-to-date on current information. New discoveries in nutrition come along all the time and you will actually need to pass the full exam every single two years in order to stay certified with them. This will gain a lot of credit in the industry that is filled with one and done type of nutrition certifications that are not kept up to date. From what I’ve seen so far, there seems to be information on sports nutrition within the NASM CNC, but I have not had a chance to go through all of it yet since it is so new.

          1. Awesome, thank you!
            One more thing; 😂
            After spending hours reading and comparing now, the “precision nutrition” comes up pretty often. And they have a massive infoshare out there now. Any thoughts on their course? They are not on your list, because it’s not top 5 or just not reviewed?

    1. Hello,
      I am currently in the process of reviewing the precision nutrition certification as well as the new NASM CNC certification that I will be adding to this list in the coming week or so. Thanks for stopping by and make sure to stay tuned for these updates.

  15. I am an issa cpt. I want to renew my cert with nutrition cert now. They are offering me nutrition +corrective exercise certification in total $865 with hard copies and shipping. Is it a good deal? Or i should GO for NASM? But that won’t help me renew my pt cert. Looking for advice.

    1. ISSA is also a fantastic option to go through for a fitness nutrition certification. Especially if you are already certified through them through their general CPT. They do have a lot of great options with certifications in combination so it sounds like a fantastic deal overall!

  16. Hi. if my daughter gets the FNS thru NASM, what kind of employment options does she have? She wants to be a health/nutrition coach but does not wish to be a personal trainer.

    1. Hello and thanks for stopping by. She has the option to become a nutrition coach if she does not want to get into the personal training industry. There is also plenty of demand for health coaches and it is becoming more popular as people really define what a health coach provides as opposed to a personal trainer. The NASM option is a good one because it combines all of the best traits of a nutrition certification with all of the best habit changing information that is included in a health coach certification. I hope this helps you.

  17. Hey Kyle,

    Thanks for the article; it is very informative. I looked into Precision Nutrition and really liked how they have digital tools that help a coach interact with their clients. Are there any other programs that have similar offerings? I’d love to connect with you and hear your thoughts on the nutrition certification landscape so please send me an email if it’s not too much of a hassle. Thanks!

    1. Hello Michael,
      I have not looked into the nutrition certification landscape. I will have to take a look at it and include some information on it on my site. Thank you for pointing that out. I think the precision nutrition certification is a great option for people. The only downside is that they only have openings twice a year which makes it difficult to recommend it over people that are looking to get certified right now.

  18. Hi Tyler Great to see your informative answers on all our queries. Quick help needed .. NASM CNC , Precision Nutrition Level 1 or NESTA for nutrition? in terms of updated information and real world coaching of clients on nutrition?

    1. Hello Tanya,
      In terms of the most updated information for real-world coaching with nutrition I would go with the new NASM CNC. This is actually the whole reason that they are creating this nutrition coach certification to replace their old NASM FNS course. You will need to get recertified and take the test every two years in order to stay active. They will continually update their nutrition information on their online studying modules to stay up-to-date with industry changes and new scientific breakthroughs in regards to nutrition. With the purchase of the certification you have access to the newest information at your fingertips through their study modules.

  19. I am on the fence. I am looking into a second career/side passion. I’ve been giving away free advice on weight loss/eating over the years and think it’s time I get certified and do this legitimately. It looks like NASM CNC is superior to ACE. HOWEVER ACE is clearly less expensive. Which would you recommend if you were looking at a second career, someone who works a 9-5 and, mom, etc…I Guess I am asking which carries more clout and is more recognizable?

    1. Hey Nieta,
      Although the NASM certification is brand-new, it is still probably the biggest name in all of health and fitness. On top of this, the certification requires you to get recertified every single two years. This means that you will always be kept up-to-date with the most current nutrition information out there. This holds a ton of weight when it comes to employers. I also am currently in love with their curriculum as it mixes and a lot of habit changing strategies that are incorporated with their nutrition advice. Overall this is the one I would go for if you are planning on starting a second career.

  20. Hi Tyler,
    I’m a current student at my local community college i thought i wanted a Bachelor in nutrition however, people are telling me that i may not need a bachelors for what i have plan. which is helping athletes achieve their fitness goals through proper diet and exercise.
    Do you have any advice if a bachelor is worth it or a certification’s can still help me achieve my goals ?

    1. Generally speaking if you want work on the side of training athletes and giving nutrition advice, a nutrition certification such as the ones listed in this article are fine. Keep in mind that you cannot prescribeNutrition plans to help people that have deficiencies or chronic illnesses. This is just for people looking to supplement their personal training advice with nutritional advice for their clients. I hope this makes sense and helps out.

    1. Hey Katy,
      No I have not heard of this nutrition certification but I will definitely check it out in the near future and possibly do a review on it. Thank you for pointing this out and good luck with your certification studying!

    1. Hello Frank,
      That is very interesting to know and thank you for pointing out this fact. I will check to make sure and then update this article appropriately. Have a great day

  21. Hi – I see that the NASM Nutrition certification is “non accredited”, but it is on your top 6 list. Does accreditation matter? Thank you!

  22. Hi Tyler,
    I am from Australia. A PHD in Pharmacy. Want to be a diet Counsellor. Which of these 5 courses would empower me to practice nutrition advisory service? Also, are any of these certifications help to get clients?

    1. Hello, I am not exactly 100% sure on what employers would be looking for in Australia. Most of my information comes from which certifications are the best for people in the United States. That being aside, all of these programs are excellent and I think that currently the NASM certification is the best in the business. I hope this helps

  23. Hi Tyler! My question is going to sound like so many on here, but I’m looking to narrow down which certification I should go with. I currently have a PhD in psychology, and am well-versed in behavior change strategies and motivational interviewing. I am also incredibly passionate about fitness and nutrition, and have recently been asked to help expand my CrossFit/HIIT gym’s nutrition program. Some gaps in my knowledge I am looking to fill: the utility of current fitness trends (e.g., keto diet, intermittent fasting, refeed days), developing hard copy materials that can be given to a client (e.g., nutrition coaching contract, detailed macro diet plan breakdowns depending on sport, gender, etc), and helping clients navigate roadblocks that my psychologist knowledge doesn’t cover (e.g., weight loss plateau, the iatrogenic effects of prolonged dieting, properly fueling for competitions/races). Would any of your top nutrition certification programs check all (or at least most) of these boxes?

    Thanks so much for a super helpful review!

    1. Hello Heather,
      It sounds like you are already very versed in the realm of nutrition and behavior change and that’s awesome. In terms of the most recent information I would definitely go with the NASM CNC. I say this for a couple of reasons. The first is because it is the newest certification on the block and has the most up-to-date information. The second is that you need to get recertified every two years as science and nutrition recommendations change as new discoveries are found. This new information in nutrition is constantly added to their online curriculum yet that you can always access once you have purchased the program. It also requires you to learn this new information and to get recertified by passing the test every two years. I hope this helps!

  24. Hi!
    What are your recommendations for someone completely changing careers (I’m 45) and have no prior credentials in fitness. I’m looking to learn about nutrition, todays fads, and help others such as myself overwhelmed by today’s mass overload of diets. I want to help people eat for health. Specifically women 40+.

    1. Hello Rita,
      If you want the most up-to-date information, I would definitely either go with NASM or ISSA nutrition certifications. The new NASM CNC certification is fantastic because it actually requires you to get recertified every two years. This is due to the fact that nutrition is still constantly changing science and they want their nutrition certified students to have the most current and up-to-date information possible. I hope this helps

  25. I’m more focused on being a certified nutritionist then personal trainer, I’d like to be able to use them as a means of income to pay for college to be a dietitian. I really like the info on ISSA (Master PT) but get the feeling NASM is better/more respected. To me fitness and nutrition are hand in hand and love both but nutrition is my main passion. What course would you recommend?

    1. I would say that the NASM CPT and NASM CNC combination would definitely be slightly more recognized by employers just because they are the biggest name in fitness. I do believe though that ISSA has a fantastic nutrition certification as well. You really can’t go wrong with either option.

  26. Great job Tyler. I noticed that the ISSA program uses the curriculum directly from Precision Nutrition at a lower cost. You can also take it anytime whereas at PN it is only offered twice a year. That information is right from ISSA website and they openly admit to it. They actually almost brag about it. Keep up the good work.

    1. Hey Don, thanks for the shout out. Yes they have a partnership together. If you get certified with ISSA, you can actually receive the precision nutrition level I certification by paying a small extra fee but not having to do any additional testing. I do agree, I like how this nutrition certification is open year-round. I do not know why precision nutrition insists on leaving its doors shut for such a long time to new individuals. I guess it does not really matter though, you can always just get ISSA!

  27. Hi Tyler,
    Thanks very much for the NASM study guide, flashcards, and practice tests. I just passed the NASM CPT exam.
    Will there be the NASM CNC study guide and practice tests in the near future?

    1. Hey Thien,
      Great to hear that you passed the exam. I am planning on coming out with and NASM CNC study guide very soon in the near future. So stay tuned for this!

  28. I am looking to become certified in personal training and sports nutrition. The application of the certifications would tend towards sport performance, specifically for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu/MMA. What would be a good certification to look into? Some things that ideally the certification(s) would cover are –
    Weight management
    Lean muscle building
    posture corrective training
    injury prevention training
    peak performance nutrition/supplementation
    muscle repair/recovery
    mobility and flexibility training
    and ideal recovery nutrition/supplementation.

    Thanks for any input you take the time to give!
    Stephen

    1. Hey Stephen,
      It’s great to hear that you are going for a nutrition certification. A nutrition certification will help in all of the areas that you mentioned in your comment. Currently I think that the most up-to-date information comes from the NASM CNC. But I also think for your particular situation you might want to think on the ISSA sports nutrition certification as well. Both of these are great options and you can’t really go wrong with either one of them. I hope this helped you!

  29. Hi. Thanks for the information. Couple questions…
    1. Is the NASM CNC the only one that requires a recertification every so many years?
    2. How much does the CNC recert cost each year and what are the requirements for getting recertified?
    3. As a Certified Athletic Trainer with a Master’s in Nutrition what do you think my best fit?

    1. Hey Liz,
      Answer your questions in order let’s check them out:
      1: Yes out of the certifications on this list this is the only one that requires you to recertify and pass the test again.
      2: You need to pay $49 to take the exam and get recertified with the CNC. All you need to do is pass the exam once again.
      3: I think that the CNC is the most up-to-date with information as well as one of the best certifications because it does require recertification. If you were not already certified as a trainer, I would suggest going with ISSA because the personal training certification and nutrition combination is one hell of a deal. I hope this helps answer all of your questions!

  30. Hi! Thanks for the info, all very helpful. I’m looking to start a vegan health coach business. I’m not interested in personal training although maybe it wouldn’t hurt!? I’d definitely like a nutrition cert under my belt as well as coaching. What do you think of AFPA holistic nutritionist certification? Or do you recommend another for what I am trying to do once I have my certification?

    Thank you so much!
    Jaclyn 😊

    1. Hey Jaclyn,
      I definitely have heard of the AFPA holistic nutrition certification. I have not done in-depth research on it though so I can’t give you 100% feedback on it. If you are looking to go the holistic vegan root though, you might want to specialize in a certification as such. In terms of personal training certifications, one would never hurt your resume. Exercise and nutrition go hand-in-hand as we all know so you might be able to make some extra money doing just a few personal training sessions a week for nutrition clients that are also interested in the physical fitness side of things. I hope this helps.

      1. Thank you for your reply. I didn’t see it here and I wrote another question to you again today. Haha sorry. I’m going to go with AFPA, I love what they offer. Then I will enroll in T Colin Campbell Plant Based Nutrition Certification.

        I did want to know about Nutraphoria, a nutrition school. I wasn’t sure if you knew anything about it?

        Thanks again! 🙂

  31. I am very interested in AFPA. They offer a program that I think sounds pretty amazing, plus you can get get board certified by AADP when the course is complete. It’s a Holistic Health Coach Certification. It covers both Health & Wellness Coach and Holistic Nutritionist certifications. Can you tell me what you think about this? I researched the top three you recommend, but I am starting a vegan health & lifestyle coaching business. ISSA, NASM and ACE all are more focused on sports/fitness nutrition and I am not sure it is a good fit for me. Thank you so much! 🙂

    **I was also looking at Nutraphoria, but you didn’t mention anything about them.

  32. Which certification do you think is the easiest to pass or has the highest pass %? Right now I am considering ISSA but I heard the case studies were long and Im more of a text book answer guy than case study guy. I want to get the ISSA special though with trainer and nutrition certificate along with the free cpr package. Nutrition is actually my main goal but getting the personal trainer is good too. It looks like they will guarentee you a job when you finish. I have been on keto for 2 years and have really felt the best I ever have. My ultimate goal is to start helping my own customers to lose weight through a healthy diet.

    1. Hey Jeff,
      I totally agree that the ISSA nutrition certification and personal training certification combo is a fantastic deal. Even if you are not planning on currently doing any training, it might come in handy in the future. That being said, I think that the case studies are an excellent way to learn the material and really makes sure that you know your stuff so that you can write nutrition programs for others. The exam is not that difficult overall because it is done online so I would not worry about passing the ISSA. The CNC certification is so new that I do not have any pass and fail rates for this nutrition certification currently. Honestly, ISSA has one of the highest passing rates for their CPT compared to other certifications that are not done online so I would think the nutrition certification would have a similar high pass rate. I hope this helps answer your question and good luck with all the studying!

    1. Hey Martha,
      The majority of these certifications are lifetime certifications. The only one you are required to renew is the new NASM CNC certification. To be honest though, these certifications should require that people get recertified with them every few years. Nutrition is a constantly changing field with new information coming out all the time. You should not want to be giving nutrition advice that is outdated.

  33. Hi, i have been running a Diet consultancy clinic since the past 6 years and had two dietitians in my team but now i feel as an owner i myself should get some certification done so i can also coach people in due course and not completely rely on my team. which online course should someone like me go for?

    1. Hello,
      I do believe that the ISSA and NASM CNC certifications would be at the top of my list. It all depends on which perks for each one stand out to you. If you would also like to get certified as a personal trainer or some sort of specialized training such as corrective exercise or group training, the international sports science Association is a fantastic option as they have great combination deals. I hope this helps

  34. Hi,

    In regards to ACE, I think this is an important “disclaimer “ to maybe add to your review?

    To some it may not matter
    YMMV
    Good to know though
    Agree?

    “Anyone may complete the Fitness Nutrition Specialist Program, but only those who also hold a current NCCA-accredited certification or an equivalent professional credential will be recognized as an ACE Specialist.”

    Just thought I would at least bring it up

    Thanks

  35. Hi,

    With NASM CNC

    You May want to update your review ?
    Maybe I reading the below incorrectly?

    From NASM or their website :

    “The NASM Nutrition Certification is a non-accredited certification. To maintain the certification, you must retake the online certification exam every 2 years”

    >>>“ non- accredited certification “<<<

    Hope this helps

    Thanks

    1. Hello Erin,
      This is true. Currently the do not have this deal going on. I’m hoping that in the next couple weeks they will bring this deal back because is truly a steal when they have it.

  36. Hi,
    I am ACE PT certified and looking to get either the NASM or PN 1 cert. The PN 1 is opening soon with the discounted price. I have just started a small PT business inside my martial arts school and would like to be able to offer sound nutritional advice. I do not plan on having online clients though, only in person . Do you recommend one over the other ?

    1. Hey Shelly,
      Both certifications are great options. In regards to staying up-to-date with nutrition information, I think NASM is great because it requires you to get recertified every two years as the field of nutrition is constantly changing. PN1 is a great certification as well, but to be honest I think that the ISSA nutritionist certification is just as good (in fact, he uses the same materials) And you can get this at a much cheaper price and year-round as well. I hope this helps

  37. Hi Tyler, thank for all your info. I’m torn between PN1 and ISSA for Sports Nutrition. I have trained privately for apporx 20 yrs. I have specialized in youth athletic training, neuromuscular disease, pre/post surgical rehab and senior training. I’d like to focus more on sports specific/eating disorders or specialized population. Thoughts?
    Thanks again! Kristina

    1. Hey Kristina,
      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment about your nutrition goals. If it was between those, I would go with ISSA. There are a couple reasons for this. The first is that precision new is only open certain periods of the year. The ISSA nutritionist certification actually uses the textbook that is written by the creator of precision new. They have a lot of similarities between the two. That being said, the precision Nutrition certification is more similar to the nutritionist certification which is different than the sports nutrition certification. Lately, the international sports science Association has been having a sale where you can pick up three different certifications for only $999 which is the same price as the precision new certification alone. You can actually get three certifications which is there general personal training certification (whether you use it or not it’s cool to have), They are nutritionist certification (the one similar to the precision Nutrition certification) and you can pick your third certification. With this third choice you can actually pick up the sports nutrition certification as well. That way you can get both certifications as well as their well-recognized personal training certification for around the same price. This is been my go to recommendation because economically speaking it is a very good option. I hope this helps.

  38. Hi Tyler, I just spoke with someone from the AFPA about their holistic health coach certification program. What caught my attention is that they offer eligibility to become a board certified nutrition professional through the AFPA. Does this “board certification” mean anything? The program is a little pricey but being a board certified holistic health practitioner doesn’t sound to shabby! Would you mind sharing a little information on this please. Thanks!

    1. Hey Oscar, becoming board-certified usually only applies to dietitians. It is definitely a level of prestige higher than simply getting a certification itself. The aim of these certifications is more for fitness professionals working in the areas of training, health coaching, group exercise and other practices along those lines. If you would like to become a registered dietitian that is also a good goal to have as your level of mastery in the nutrition realm will be at its best.

  39. Hi Tyler, thanks so much for all of the great information. I am currently considering becoming a certified nutritionist as I’ve been passionate about health and fitness for a long time. I work a 9-5 desk job, race in triathlons and started Crossfit a couple of months ago. I really want to get the certification to enhance my personal knowledge. However, I would definitely consider starting a side hustle down the road, but for right now, I want to be my own client. I’ve written pro/con lists for NASM CNC, Precision Nutrition Level 1, ISSA and AFPA holistic health. From what I’ve read in these comments, you seem to like NASM and ISSA the best. I’ll admit, I’m really unsure what to go with. I like that ISSA you can become a certified personal trainer and nutritionist for $799. But, I’m wondering if you have any additional thoughts given my situation.

    1. Hey Kelly,
      It’s great that you are trying to start off in the world of personal training in nutrition. To be honest, becoming your own client first is extremely helpful in gaining knowledge and practicing what you have learned before you go ahead and try to build a client base. I would only go with the holistic health certification if that is the exact specialty that you want to dive into. If not, I would stick to the regular nutrition certifications. The only reason I think that the ISSA certification negation is better than the precision new is because you get so much more for how much money you spend. You can get to certifications for the same price and they basically use the same study materials. In regards to NASM, the certified nutrition coach is definitely the newest out of the bunch. On top of that, the National Academy of sports medicine is the most recognizable name in exercise science. If you are also looking to become a trainer though, I would definitely go with ISSA.

  40. What are the draw back of precision nutrition course?
    Currently I started this course .can u give me suggestion whether I should go for pn level 2 or should I join other nutrition course?

    1. If you have already gone with the precision new in level I, you might as well stick with it and go with level II. Because honestly, you will learn a lot of the same stuff from any other nutrition certification as you already have learned with the level I certification. The only reason I recommend other certifications is because of the price difference and additional perks you can receive with other certifications such as the international sports and science Association nutritionist certification. I hope this helps.

  41. Hi, I live in Dubai and it wouldn’t be possible for me to physically take the nutrition certifications tests in the US or Canada. Which certification would you recommend if I wanted one that tested online? Thanks!

    1. Hey Ahmed,
      In that case, I definitely recommend the nutritionist certification from the international sports sciences Association. In addition to this, you can also receive they are sports nutrition certification as well as their general personal training certification for a very reasonable price. It’s called their elite trainer certification and I highly suggest that you check it out here: https://www.ptpioneer.com/recommends/issa-elite-trainer/ All of these certifications can be taken online in their exam portal.

  42. Hello! I am looking into becoming a holistic health coach and starting my own business. Would my first step be a nutrition certificate in order to get my foot in the door advising people? Or do you recommend a different route? Your response is greatly appreciated.

    1. Hello, I would suggest that if you are trying to become a holistic health coach, I would start with a health coach certification as opposed to a nutrition certification. Although there is some overlap in both nutrition certifications and health coach certifications, it sounds like you are more on the health coach side. The certified nutrition coach certification from the National Academy of sports medicine is probably your best bet in terms of the certifications that are listed on this page as “nutrition” certifications. That’s because it does dive into some aspects of habit development. You should check out my article on the best health coach certifications instead https://www.ptpioneer.com/health-coach-programs/

  43. Hi! This was very helpful, however, I have one question: I was fairly certain the NASM CNC was not accredited. Is this accurate? I know the NASM itself is accredited, but I don’t believe the CNC is… Which is a bummer bc that’s what I’m looking for.

    1. Hey Andrea,
      This is correct in the fact that the certified nutrition coach is not actually accredited. I’m not sure why this is or if they are in the process of getting accredited as we speak. It is a fairly new certification so this may be the case.

  44. Looking for a nutrition certification as a gymnastics Coach. Looking for online testing & credentials and when finished A certificate to hang on office wall.

    1. Hey Corrie, All of these nutrition certifications provide what you are looking for. Either one of these would be a good choice for you to hang credentials on your wall. If you want to hang multiple credentials on your wall though, I suggest going with the international sports science Association as you can get three or practically the price of one certification.

  45. Hi Tyler. My name is Estela. So I’m having a hard time comparing the NASM program to Precision Nutrition. But I’m yielding towards the PN course. Can you help me pin point the differences between them?
    I’m so undecided. I know that PN has only two enrollment dates a year, which is not a problem for me.so regardless of the price and dates of enrollment, which one is better?

    1. Hello Estela,
      Overall, the certified nutrition course is a more up-to-date newer certification. I don’t think that the precision nutrition certification is a bad certification at all. In fact I think it is very good. But for that price, and the study materials and information that you receive, I would actually recommend going with the international sports science Association certification instead because the author of their textbook is actually the owner of precision nutrition. On top of that, it is a much cheaper certification. But if you have your heart set on Precision nutrition, it is still a fantastic certification to get no doubt.

  46. Hi there,
    I would like to do counselling for people struggling with overweight and bad eating habits ( kids, grown ups) My dream job will require nutritionist biochemistry knowledge but also psychology. I love both subject and I would like to know which online course will be best for me??
    Kind Regards,
    Molly

    1. Pepe Molly,
      It looks like you were trying to find a health coach certification. Out of all of these nutrition certifications on this list I would say that the certified nutrition coach from the National Academy of sports medicine is probably your best bet when it comes to a combination between nutritional sciences as well as behavior changing or the psychology of nutrition. At that being said, I also think that the international sports science Association has a fantastic certification as well as additional certifications you contact on in regards to nutrition and behavioral change. I hope this helps.

    2. Hey Molly,
      It looks like you were trying to find a health coach certification. Out of all of these nutrition certifications on this list I would say that the certified nutrition coach from the National Academy of sports medicine is probably your best bet when it comes to a combination between nutritional sciences as well as behavior changing or the psychology of nutrition. At that being said, I also think that the international sports science Association has a fantastic certification as well as additional certifications you contact on in regards to nutrition and behavioral change. I hope this helps.

  47. Hey Tyler, I already have the FNS through nasm. Do you think it would be worth it to go for the CNC? Or would I be learn a lot of the same info?

    1. Hey Trinidad,
      If you already have the fitness nutrition specialist from the National Academy of sports medicine, I think it would be just a small upgrade to get the certified nutrition coach specialization. A lot of the information is the same although some of it is updated. It depends on how long ago you got the FNS.

  48. Tyler thanks for all your valuable comments but it seems like you always refer back to ISSA nutrition course and that you actually have some sort of agreement with them.
    Would it be possible for you to provide me with ISSA and Precise nutrition courses outlines to be able to compare at home?

    1. I usually recommend these certifications that have the best value to cost ratio. Recently, the international sports and sciences Association has been having a really good deal going on especially if you are looking to get certified as a personal trainer as well. If the other certifications were the same price this would be a different story. Basically ISSA is very similar information to precision nutrition. The textbook that they use is written by the creator of precision nutrition and a lot of the chapters are almost identical. If two certifications are the similar, I typically recommend the cheaper option.

    1. Hey Jon,
      There’s a lot of different places you can get a job holding a nutrition certification. A lot of the individuals on this website are already fitness professionals so it’s a great supplemental income in addition to personal training. But if you want, you can also Simply charge for your nutrition services alone.

  49. Hi, your Blog was really helpful. Looking on internet about nutrition certification can turn out in a frustrating research. I have applied to NYU nutrition and dietetics program, my undergraduate degree is completely unrelated to nutrition, therefore I need to take prerequisite classes before start the program, I don’t want to start this classes with no knowledge about nutrition even tough I’ve been doing a lot of research and studying chemistry. What program will you recommend me? What do you think about the certification at integrative nutrition?

    1. Hey Gigi,
      capital depends on what type of nutrition coaching you want to do in the future. I think it’s a great idea to take a class on nutrition before hand although the certifications material will be very similar to what you learn in your class on nutrition most likely. More information can never hurt anyone though. Integrative nutrition is a very interesting field and if that is what intrigues you and that’s what you want to work in in the future, I say all hands on deck go for it.

  50. I am confused. NASM Nutrition Certification is a non-accredited certification, that’s from their website. In your review you state that it is accredited.

    1. Hello,
      Yes that is correct, the National Academy of sports medicine nutrition coach accreditation is currently not accredited. I will have to change the information and thanks for pointing that out.

  51. Heya Tyler. Thank you. Your info makes it much clearer. Do you know anything about INN and their course info? I am not too sure, bit also seems more holistic or am i wrong?
    The top 3 look good and would probably need to go into a bit more detailed info to make a better decision.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Currently I do not know anything about the INN certification or their course information. I will have to check them out to see if they are worth adding to this list or not. I typically leave off holistic nutrition certifications because that is meant for a whole separate article in itself. I definitely suggest taking a deeper dive into all three of these certifications before making a decision. All of these are good options but they all have different benefits from one another. Good luck studying become a certified nutrition specialist.

  52. Hi Tyler, Great article and very helpful. I have a question about the ISSA certification. Is it accredited including in Europe? Thanks, Seb

    1. Hey Seb,
      ISSA Is accepted in I think 91 separate countries around the world. There are plenty of places in Europe that except it but it all depends on which gymnasium you’re trying to work for. I am not super well versed in the different accreditations in Europe compared to the United States. The best thing I would do is ask the place of employment where you want to work which certifications they accept to see if it is on the list. Rules and regulations are much different country to country.

  53. Hey Tyler,
    Ur article is really helpful, but yet m confused about courses..I want a certification in nutrition bt ISSA nutritionist certification or ISSA sports nutritionist certification.which course will be best for me as m planning to be a dietitian nd cmpltd my graduation in clinical nutrition.can u suggest me any one of the courses I should do..?

    1. Hello,
      if you are thinking about working with athletes, I suggest the sports nutrition certification from ISSA. On the other hand, if you just want a good base of nutrition knowledge, I definitely suggest starting with the nutritionist certification. It’s kind of like comparing a general personal training certification to other ones that are more specialized such as corrective exercise, strength and conditioning etc. I hope this makes sense and helps you out.

  54. Hi Tyler, I am an ACE certified PT and I am looking to get my online nutrition certificate. (BTW: Your online practise tests for preparing for my ACE exam, and audio chapter series REALLY helped!-thank you! I listened to the audio chapters every morning on my way to school!) . I am wondering your opinion: You say it is good to have your PT and nutrition from the same company but I notice on alot of these post replys that you recommend NASM. I am from Canada if that makes a difference to your recommendation. I also wanted to know if these courses have any audio series?? Which one would you recommend for myself? Right now there is a 30% discount on the ACE nutrition specialist program-would that be just as good as NASM or would you still recommend NASM. Thank you!

    1. Hey Megan,
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. All of these are great questions that you are asking me. In terms of being in Canada, I am more specialized in the certifications here in the United States. Although I do believe that they have a lot of the same requirements up there in Canada. I only recommend going with the same certifying agency a lot of the times because sometimes there are ties between the two certifications or the way they go about laying out the information is similar. Sometimes the sense of familiarity can be good while studying. That being said, you can totally jump around to a different certifying agency. All of the certifications listed on this list are very legitimate options. In terms of having an audio study guide, I have not seen any. Also, I have not created any myself.

  55. I just passed my ACE exam with the considerable help of this website. Thank You!

    My next step is to get Nutrition certification so that I can build diets for the clients! What would be your recommendation, and why? I know PN has software after the course, which is easy to operate.
    My self I am trying to figure out the best ways to build my diet with excel spreadsheet and database, but it takes forever.

    What would be your recommendation?

    1. Hey Hubert,
      first of all, I’d like to congratulate you on passing the exam for the American Council on exercise. I know that is not a very easy exam to pass and that super cool that you are now a personal trainer. In terms of which certification for nutrition you should choose, I suggest taking a look at my article on the top nutrition certification options available so that you can make the most informed decision for what you are personally looking for. I hope this helps. https://www.ptpioneer.com/nutrition-certification-programs/

  56. I am currently a high school teacher developing a new course, Culinary Nutrition, which incorporates teaching students about health, wellness and exercise while also teaching them to cook/prepare meals utilizing the principles of nutrition. I am a certified cycle instructor and hold CA teaching credentials in the fields of Health Science and Culinary. I want to add a certification to my portfolio in order to build my current knowledge in the specific field of nutrition. I was looking at ISSA and NASM, which do you think might best fit my needs?

    1. Hey Misty,
      I really like the culinary nutrition idea that you have. A lot of people can learn the ins and outs of macronutrients such as calories, carbohydrates, fats, protein etc. It’s a whole different ballgame when you were trying to create something that tastes good and that is nutritionally sound as well. Supercool idea. In terms of the nutrition certifications, I think ISSA and NASM are on par with each other. They are both relatively new certification so they both have very current nutrition information in them. It really depends on which organization you feel is right for you.

  57. Hello,
    If you have to choose between NASM or ISSA nutrition program, which one you would recommend and why? When I read the article, it seemed you hesitate between your number one!
    Thanks,
    Abi

    1. Hey Abi,
      If I had to choose just one it would probably be the ISSA nutritionist certification just because you can usually pick it up for a lot cheaper within one of their other packages. So if all things being equal, the price is the biggest differentiator for myself as well as most of the students that come to my website.

  58. Hello Tyler,
    I am currently taking NASAM CNC course, but I feel is has a lot biology 🧬 that I can’t understand. I don’t have a medical background. I just want to help people with their nutrition choices to help them loose weight and stay healthy. I also don want to take an exam every 2 years. I am ok taking CE courses which it is great.
    Which other nutrition certificate course do you recommend?

    1. Hey Pilar,
      I definitely recommend checking out either precision nutrition or ISSA if you don’t want to have to retake the test every two years in order to stay certified with this nutrition certification. Both of these certifications or great. In fact, they both followed very similar curriculum as the author of the book for ISSA is actually the owner of precision nutrition.

  59. Hello! I am in school to become a MA, already have my CNA, and opening a degenerative brain disease center. Need nutrition and exercise specifically geared to the 60+ crowd. Any suggestions? Will be able to run labs, looking to reverse or slow down degenerative brain disorders with diet, exercise, lifestyle.

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Jami,
      just to let you know, these nutrition certifications on this list or for fitness professionals. You will not be able to diagnose or recommend diets to fix or cure any ailment such as degenerative brain disorders etc. That being said, all of these certifications target people of all ages and have sections talking about age differences and nutrition.

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