8 Best Nutrition Coach Certifications in [year] 4

This article is a collection of my experience taking the eight best nutrition certifications in the fitness industry.

For each nutrition certification, I studied for several weeks to months, took the nutrition certificate online exam, and used the knowledge to coach clients.

As such, I have direct experience with each nutrition certificate program.

I look at the following aspects of the nutrition certificate programs:

  • Nutrition coaching certification details
  • Nutrition certification content coverage
  • Difficulty of each nutrition certification exam
  • Salary for each nutrition certification

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At the end of this review, you will understand which nutrition coaching certification program is best for you.

If you need to get certified as a personal trainer, be sure to take the quiz to determine the best nutrition coach training certification for your goals.

What type of Certification are you looking to get?

Without further ado, here are the top eight picks for best nutritionist certification.

Best Nutrition Cert

Our Top Picks

ISSA Nutritionist

ISSA Nutritionist

  • Excellent research-backed nutritional science
  • Gives you business tools as well
  • Best fitness certification bundles
Check ISSA Pricing


  • Most comprehensive nutrition content
  • NASM is the biggest name in the industry
  • Great online portal study system
Check NASM Pricing


  • Good package options 
  • Best price
  • Easy-to-use online interface
Check NCSF Pricing

1. International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) Nutritionist Certification

Best Nutrition Certifications - ISSA Nutritionist textbook, fitness nutrition surrounded by yellow question mark boxes

What is the ISSA Nutritionist Certification?

The ISSA nutritionist certification is a premier nutrition coaching certification offered by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA).

However, the certification works very well with the ISSA personal trainer certification and other ISSA specializations.

ISSA Nutritionist General Information

ISSA Nutritionist General Information

  • Exam cost: $639.20
  • Study material cost: $53.27/month for 12 months
  • Prerequisites: High School Diploma, CPR/AED
  • Exam passing score: Scaled 550/800 – 90/125 Scored Questions
  • Exam pass rate: 70% (2022 data)
  • Average completion time: 2-6 months

ISSA credibility and reputation

issa nutritionist certification

The ISSA was founded in 1988 and has since become one of the largest fitness education providers across the globe. The ISSA personal trainer certification is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

This conveys the highest standard of vetting from experts before the curriculum goes live. Similarly, the ISSA standards for the nutritionist certification are rigorous as well. To put it plainly, if you want any ISSA certification, you will have to know your stuff.

This certification gives students the skills they need to guide clients toward making healthier food choices and avoiding unhealthy ingredients or products such as snacks with high sugar. The certification tries to “bridge the gap” between nutrition and exercise. ISSA Nutrition certification requirements allow anyone to take this coursework.

ISSA training courses include excellent study materials, so you will have access to various resources.

ISSA is also notable for the deals they offer when you bundle multiple certifications. In fact, you can‌ get a free ISSA nutritionist certification when you sign up for the ISSA personal trainer certification with ISSA’s buy-on-get-on-free certification package.

A personal trainer who can provide qualified nutritional guidance will deliver much better results to clients, and they are a much stronger applicant when applying for employment with businesses.

ISSA Nutritionist pros and cons

  • Solid research-backed nutritional science
  • Open book final exam
  • Insufficient behavioral coaching

ISSA nutrition certificate program study materials and costs

The ISSA Nutritionist course costs $639.20 with the option for 12 month interest-free financing coming in at $53.27 per month.

They also have a fantastic deal called the Elite Trainer Program.

The Elite Trainer Program includes their nutritionist certification, their personal training certification, and a third specialist certification of your choice. The price ends up much cheaper than each certification costs alone. If ISSA is currently running this deal, it is worth considering.

ISSA also has a fantastic nutritionist and training certification deal that they run often. 

For the Elite Trainer program, I usually recommend ‌my nutrition students choose the ISSA transformation specialist certification as their specialization. However, you have the option to choose from any of the ISSA specializations.

You need not become an ISSA personal trainer to earn the nutrition certification. 

However, it rarely makes sense to go for just the ISSA nutritionist since the Elite Trainer is such a great deal, and becoming a personal trainer with a nutrition certification opens up many career doors.

ISSA nutritionist certificate content coverage

The ISSA Nutrition certificate program coursework covers the following topics:

  • Macronutrients and Micronutrients
  • Lifestyle Changes and Strategies
  • Client Assessments and Goal Setting
  • Product Labels and Claims
  • Dietary Guidelines and Applications
  • Trending Diets and Myths
  • Supplementation
  • Business of Nutrition Coaching

The International Sports Science Association (ISSA) nutrition certification has a heavy emphasis on scientific nutritional principles.

However, it also covers the various behavior change coaching skill sets you need to elicit behavior change in your clients.

This nutrition certification looks at nutrition’s vast impact on our lives. This includes reducing the risk of diabetes in adults, reducing blood pressure, and even helping with anxiety symptoms.

In fact, dietary changes are a common part of high blood pressure treatment program. However, you would require a Registered Dietician credential to discuss dietary treatments for high blood pressure, diabetes, or any other illness.

Topics such as medication are reserved for physicians.

Nevertheless, having knowledge of these fundamentals opens you up to new clientele and also allows you to be more empathetic with your clients. It also helps expand your expertise.

Ultimately, this leads to better results and happier nutrition clients.

Taking the ISSA nutrition certificate online exam

You can take the ISSA Nutritionist exam online with a portal or at home with a pencil and paper test you print off and mail or scan.

I took the ISSA exam through the portal and found it to be fairly straightforward.

If you work through the materials provided, you will not have a problem passing. The exam is also open book, so if you get stuck you can find the answer in the materials. The length of time it will take to get through the fundamentals depend on your learning style and existing sports nutrition knowledge.

With no prior knowledge, I recommend 2-3 months to prepare.

ISSA Nutritionist continuing education, salary, and career prospects

The ISSA Nutritionist certification provides 20 CEUs towards recertifying your personal training certification. The ISSA Nutritionist does not have a CEU requirement to stay certified.

Your salary and career as a nutrition coach can vary substantially across markets, geographical areas, and specific niches. Generally, the more specialized your services become and the more experience you gain, the more your income will grow.

ISSA Nutrition Certification overall rating

One of the advantages of this certification is that it can all be completed online through the ISSA study portal.

With just a few hours per day, you can be nutrition-certified in around three months.

This is currently one of my top-ranked nutrition certifications in large part because of how well it bundles with the CPT program. I recommend all fitness professionals become certified as personal trainers, even if they only want to focus on nutrition. Companies are definitely more likely to higher graduates of both a CPT and nutritionist program.

With that said, the ISSA BOGO CPT and Nutrition certification is an amazing deal.

2. NASM Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM CNC)

top Nutrition coaching certification - NASM CNC textbook laid out on table with yellow boxes with question marks

What is the NASM Certified Nutrition Coach?

The NASM Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM CNC) is the flagship nutrition certification offered by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). The certification focuses on guiding clients toward nutrition choices that support health and wellness-related outcomes.

The NASM Nutrition Coach course is full of peer-reviewed scientific information that forms the basis of the curriculum.

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 for your client so that they can lose weight, gain muscle, and achieve their health and fitness goals.

NASM CNC General Information

NASM CNC General Information


  • Study program cost: $699
  • Prerequisites/Recommendations: None
  • Exam passing score: 70%
  • Average completion time: 1 – 3 months

NASM credibility and reputation

NASM is among the most respected fitness certification provider names in the industry. Their NASM CPT program and OPT training model sets a high standard in the fitness certification market.


NASM has multiple NCCA-accredited certifications in its offerings and a large team of experts backing the curriculum. The various NASM products are tailored for every learning style.

NASM CNC pros and cons

  • Most reputable certifying organization
  • Densely-packed textbook and handouts
  • Excellent digital portal
  • Fairly expensive
  • Must retake exam to recertify

NASM Nutrition Coach study materials and costs

Currently, the cost for the NASM CNC is $699.

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 toward your client’s success.

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You can also bundle the NASM CNC and NASM CPT to get a better deal on both.

You have the freedom of installment payments; you can spread your payments from four to 12 months with no interest. The duration of this program is as little as 12 weeks, but you’ll have up to one year from your start date to take the exam.

NASM also has a nutrition certification plus a personal trainer certification combination. Although it is much more costly than the combo packages from ISSA, it is still something worth considering if you’re set on NASM.

NASM CNC Certified Nutrition Coach

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

The Ebook is interactive and contains 24 chapters.

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

Trainer Academy has premium study materials for the NASM-CNC certification. They will cut your study time in half and provide an exam pass guarantee. 

NASM CNC personal trainer content coverage

Some of the things that you will learn from the NASM-CNC include the following:

  • Cutting-edge nutrition information related to wellness, building muscle, and losing fat.
  • Psychology of mental plateaus with diet and nutrition and how to get past them.
  • Skills on how to combine behavioral change with nutritional science

Taking the NASM Nutrition certification 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 to earn a 70% score or higher to pass. From the date that you purchase the CNC, you will have one full year to take and pass the exam.

NASM Nutritionist continuing education, salary, and career prospects

The NASM Certified Nutrition Coach gives you 1.9 NASM continuing education credits towards recertifying your personal training credentials. To recertify your NASM CNC, you need to retake the exam every 2 years, which is a bit of a bummer.

According to ZipRecruiter, a NASM Nutrition Coach earns an average of $45,500 per year.

You can earn a lot more once you are an established nutrition coach, especially if you are also a personal trainer.

Differences between the NASM-FNS and the 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 ‌every two years by retaking the exam.

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

NASM CNC overall rating

Overall, the NASM CNC gets a 4.2 out of 5. The information is very in-depth. However, it does get a bit pricey, especially compared to some of the other deals out there.

Become a Certified Nutrition Coach – Why You Need to Get Your Nutrition Certification With NASM

3. Precision Nutrition Certification Level 1 (PN1)

top nutrition certifications - precision nutrition textbook on table with yellow question mark boxes

What is the Precision Nutrition Certification?

The Precision Nutrition Certification is perhaps the fitness industry’s best-known nutrition certification. The certification has 2 different levels, and every student must complete level 1 before trying level 2.

Precision Nutrition is highly focused on the business side of building a nutrition coaching practice as well as the science of nutrition. Precision Nutrition offers some of the best nutritionist certifications.

If you are planning to be a self-employed nutrition coach, then you will likely find Precision Nutrition incredibly useful.

PN Level 1 General Information

PN Level 1 General Information


  • Study program cost: $999
  • Exam passing score: 150/200 or 75%
  • Average completion time: 2 – 4 months

Precision Nutrition credibility and reputation

Precision Nutrition Certification level 1

Dr. John Berardi and Phil Caravaggio founded the Precision Nutrition brand in 2005. In addition to its flagship PN Level 1 certification, the organization also offers a Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Certification, as well as a Change Psychology Course. Precision Nutrition is among the most well-known nutrition credentialing companies.

The organization is partnered with the ISSA to deliver the Precision Nutrition Certification. You can sign up for Precision Nutrition directly through the ISSA. I recommend this since it keeps you from having to deal with the annoying Precision Nutrition waitlist.

Overall, the Precision Nutrition brand stands apart from other nutrition certifications because they focus entirely on the skills and subskills that are most useful for nutrition.

With that said, if you want a specific career in nutrition coaching, the overall PN brand is worth checking out.

Precision Nutrition Certificate pros and cons

  • Excellent resources for nutrition coaching business
  • Ecosystem of nutrition certifications
  • Extremely pricy
  • Annoying waitlist when purchased through PN

Precision Nutrition certification cost and study materials

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 get it for only $799. Shipping for the materials costs $11, regardless of whether you’re on the presale list or regular sale list.

Overall, the PN L-1 is definitely one of the more expensive certifications, and despite being at the cutting edge of nutritional coaching, the cost is a major deterrent and limits the value proposition‌. 

You can avoid this entirely by purchasing Precision Nutrition through ISSA, which offers a great bundle deal with their personal trainer certification.

This will cost you $1,200 for both the Precision Nutrition and the ISSA Certified Personal Trainer certificate. This deal ends up costing barely more than the PN program on its own.

Purchasing the program through ISSA also allows you to enjoy access to the student support resources ISSA typically provides in addition to all the standard benefits of Precision Nutrition’s support resources.

With the purchase of the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certificate, you will receive:

  • The three-unit textbook
  • Twenty animated video lectures
  • A workbook and study guide
  • Additional assessment forms and questionnaires for your clients
  • Online access to the study forum
  • More than 40 premium coaching tools

Overall, the curriculum for the Precision Nutrition certification is quite good. In particular, I like how you get a physical textbook as opposed to an Ebook.

Precision Nutrition coaching content coverage

The PN Level 1 Nutrition Coaching course breaks down into the following units.

  1. Unit 1 – The Precision Nutrition Approach
    1. Introduction
    2. Your learning plan
    3. What is a great coach?
    4. Helping people change
    5. What is good nutrition?
  2. Unit 2 – The Science of Nutrition
    1. Intro to nutritional science
    2. Systems and cells
    3. Through the GI tract
    4. Energy transformation and metabolism
    5. Energy balance
    6. Macronutrients
    7. Micronutrients and whole foods
    8. Water and fluid balance
    9. Stress, recovery, and sleep
  3. Unit 1 – Working through the PN Coaching Process
    1. Coaching in practice
    2. Working with Level 1 clients
    3. Working with Level 2 clients
    4. Working with Level 3 clients
    5. Special scenarios
    6. Business 101

Here are some of the overall details you will learn in the Precision Nutrition Coaching Level 1 course:

  • You will teach your clients to diet and eat better without feeling totally deprived.
  • You will be able to teach your 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.

Taking the Precision Nutrition certification exam

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

You need to score a minimum of 75% across all topics.

As such, the Precision Nutrition exam is essentially a 180 multiple-choice, true or false exam.

I found the exam fairly easy. Remember that you can take it from home and the exam is open book, so overall it’s not too bad.

Precision Nutrition continuing education, salary, and career prospects

After earning your Precision Nutrition certification, you have the option to take the PN Level 2 coaching course. I generally recommend as much education as possible. You can use Precision Nutrition courses to recertify your CPT, however you do not need to do continuing education for Precision Nutrition itself.

ZipRecruiter pegs the average Precision Nutrition salary at $50,584 per year, with a large variation across locations and experience levels. Career-wise, Precision Nutrition supports a variety of career paths in the fitness industry. Students range from personal trainers, to nutritionists, and athletic performance coaches.

Precision Nutrition Level 1 overall rating

Overall I rank Precision Nutrition with a 4 out of 5 rating. The curriculum and resources are solid, but the expensive price tag and PN waitlist make it prohibitive unless you plan to double up on the ISSA CPT and Precision Nutrition certification package.

I believe PN would be the big winner here if they relaxed their enrollment policies. This is a legitimate online nutrition certificate, but it fails to provide good value for money unless purchased through ISSA.

Precision Nutrition video review

Learn the Science of Nutrition Coaching with Precision Nutrition

4. Fitness Mentors Fitness Nutrition Specialist (FM FNS)

What is the Fitness Mentors Fitness Nutrition Specialist?

The Fitness Mentors Fitness Nutrition Specialist certification is an affordable nutrition coaching certification option meant for personal trainers and nutritionists working with general fitness clients.

Fitness Mentors FNS General Information

Fitness Mentors FNS General Information

  • Exam cost: $499
  • Study material cost: $66.58/month for 12 months
  • Prerequisites: High School Diploma, CPR/AED
  • Exam passing score: Scaled 550/800 – 90/125 Scored Questions
  • Exam pass rate: 70% (2022 data)
  • Average completion time: 2-6 months

Fitness Mentors credibility and reputation

Fitness Mentors is a newer certification provider on the scene. Fitness Mentors takes strides to provide a comprehensive, accessible, and affordable option for trainers who want to bolster their repertoire with the necessary array of coaching skills.

In their mission to provide top-quality resources, Fitness Mentors has compiled and created their own in-house certifications aimed at equipping trainers, coaches, and instructors with a cutting-edge toolkit of results-driven, evidence-based knowledge to cater to the market.

Fitness Mentors pros and cons

  • Affordable
  • Comprehensive
  • Less recognition

Fitness Mentors Nutrition Coach study materials and costs

The Fitness Mentors study package includes the following:

  • Digital Textbook & Study Assets
  • Access to Instructor & Personal Fitness Mentor
  • Business Growing Study Group
  • Premade Templates from Experienced Nutrition Coaches

The standard cost for the Fitness Mentors Nutrition Specialist certification is $499.

This low price and great array of digital materials make this certification a great bang-for-your-buck option.

Fitness Mentors nutrition content coverage

The course curriculum of the FM Certified Nutrition Specialist consists of 10 chapters. These chapters are as follows:

  1. Scope of Practice 
  2. The Digestive System  
  3. Metabolism 
  4. Carbohydrates
  5. Lipids 
  6. Protein 
  7. Micronutrients and Water 
  8. Nutrition Assessment  
  9. Nutrition Coaching  
  10. Exercise and Sports Nutrition 

Overall, this encompasses most of the skills I have used as a nutrition coach over the years, so I do think Fitness Mentors is up-to-snuff when it comes to providing the best possible information. It is also a little bit sparse on sports nutrition knowledge and behavior change coaching, which are vital topics.

Taking the Fitness Mentors Fitness Nutrition Coach certification exam

The FM FNS exam consists of 60 questions. You need to score 70% or higher on the exam to pass.

The exam can be taken at home with an open, and you’ll have two attempts to pass.

I had no problem passing the online exam. However, this means that your actual application of the knowledge in the real world far outweighs the fact that you have the certification.

Fitness Mentors FNS continuing education, salary, and career prospects

Fitness Mentors FNS certification provides CEUs for various fitness certification providers. You do not need to recertify your actual FNS certification.

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Because Fitness Mentors is less mainstream than other certifications, we don’t have specific salary data for the FNS. However, nutrition coaches in general typically earn between $30,000 at the lowest end and upwards of $80,000 per year at the high end.

As with many niches in the fitness industry, your career is really what you make of it. However, the Fitness Mentors FNS certification is a good launch point for becoming a nutrition coach.

Fitness Mentors Fitness Nutrition Specialist overall rating

Fitness Mentors receives a 3.9 out of 5. The reason for the lower score is the lack of recognition. However, at $499 for the course, the FM FNS is a pretty good deal given the resources you receive.

You can often get discounts on the Fitness Mentors FNS when you check pricing directly on the website.

5. NCSF Sports Nutrition Specialist (NCSF SNS)

best nutrition certs - ncsf nutrition certification laid on table with yellow question mark boxes

What is the NCSF Sports Nutrition Specialist?

The National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF) Sports Nutrition Specialist Certification is a sports nutrition program credential focused on improving health and performance through a sensible, science-backed approach.

The NCSF SNS certification is great for personal trainers and performance coaches who want to offer a complete fitness-nutrition package to their clients.

NCSF-SNS General Information

NCSF-SNS General Information


  • Study program cost: $699+
  • Prerequisites: Current and valid NCCA-accredited fitness certification, license/certification in an Allied Health Profession, teacher-specific state-issued license/certification, enrollment in the CPT/SNS or Master Trainer program
  • Exam passing score: 70%
  • Average completion time: 2-4 months

NCSF credibility and reputation


NCSF prides itself on being an advocate for public health awareness.

In fact, one of their biggest missions is towards pushing legislation for health and fitness practitioners to be recognized as part of the medical field.

The NCSF Sports Nutrition Specialist program carries this message through by delivering a comprehensive course relevant to high-performance and general populations alike.

NCSF Nutrition certification pros and cons

  • Excellent performance nutrition coverage
  • High-quality study portal for low cost
  • Less recognition than other nutrition certifications
  • Insufficient behavioral coaching skills

NCSF Sports Nutrition Specialist study materials and costs

The NCSF Sports Nutrition cert is available in four packages. The first two include the NCSF SNS certification only. The second two options include two certifications for the price of one. You can choose the NCSF Certified Personal Trainer certification or NCSF Certified Strength Coach.

Pricing for these packages is as follows:

  • Exam only
  • Home Study – Starts at $349.00
  • Home Study Plus – Starts at $399.00
  • Bundled SNS and CPT certifications – $649.00
  • Bundled SNS and CSC certifications – $649.00

All packages include access to the eLearning platform, over 200 practice questions, digital flashcards, and instructional videos.

The NCSF nutrition packages are a great deal price-wise, but even better is the fact that they periodically have discounts and promo deals which slash the prices even further.

Your best bet to catch a deal is to check the NCSF website directly and capitalize on further discounts.

Overall, I found the videos and practice programs in the Home Study extremely helpful for my studying. I personally found it easiest to learn each module one at a time and ensure I could ace that section’s practice exam before moving to the next module.

I recommend the Home Study basic package. The only difference between NCSM home study and Home Study Plus is that the Plus includes the physical textbook.

The digital textbook was enough for me. Unless you really need the hardcover textbook, I would save yourself $50 and stick with the basic package.

NCSF Nutrition coach content coverage

The NCSF SNS focuses heavily on the interaction between nutrition and athletic performance. However, the skills also apply to general fitness clients who want to lose weight, increase muscle mass, or pursue other healthy outcomes via hiring a nutrition coach.

It is made up of four units which break down as follows:

  • Unit 1: Macronutrients
  • Unit 2: Micronutrients
  • Unit 3: Dietary Supplements and Ergogenic Aids
  • Unit 4: Nutritional Analysis and Weight Management

I appreciate the focus on athletic performance and nutrition for general fitness goals. However,‌ the NCSF could do better on the behavioral coaching side of it. After all, most clients are resistant to change even after they hire you to help them. With that said, you need good behavioral change skills if you plan to work with this type of client.

Taking the NCSF Sports Nutrition Specialist certification exam

The exam is a 150-question multiple-choice test that runs for 3 hours. You can take the exam online or in-person.

You’ll need to score at least 70% to pass and get certified. If you fail, you must wait 30 days and pay $99 for a retake.

The NCSF is one of the more difficult nutrition certification exams. While you can technically do it open-book if you take it from home, you still have the three-hour time limit, so you cannot go into it blind if you are serious about passing.

The NCSF recommends 2-4 months of prep time before attempting the exam. I studied for 3 months before the NCSF SNS test and found that to be enough time.

NCSF Nutrition certification continuing education, salary, and career prospects

The NCSF program gives NCSF-certified personal trainers 8 CEUs towards NCSF CPT recertification. If you do not have your CPT through NCSF, you need to check with your certification provider to make sure they do accept NCSF.

There is no additional CEU requirement to maintain the Sports Nutrition Specialist certification itself.

Per the data from Salary.com, a Sports Nutritionist can expect an average income of around $57,070. Although this figure isn’t exclusive to NCSF-certified professionals, it offers a reasonable estimate of the potential earnings as an NCSF Sports Nutritionist.

Bear in mind, factors such as your geographical location and terms of employment can influence this salary range.

NCSF SNS overall rating

Overall the NCSF SNS gets a 3.7 out of 5. The material it covers is great, but the lack of recognition and the insufficient behavioral coaching make this certification come in at #5 on our list.

6. American Council on Exercise Fitness Nutrition Specialist (ACE FNS)

ACE nutrition textbook laid out surrounded by yellow question mark boxes - best nutrition certification

What is the ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist?

The ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist is a nutrition coaching certification aimed at changing behavior towards better nutrition in general fitness clients.

ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist General Information

ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist General Information

  • Exam cost: $419.40 (ebook), $479.40 (with textbook)
  • Study material cost: See above
  • Prerequisites: High School Diploma, CPT certification from NCCA-accredited organization (optional)
  • Exam passing score: Home study 
  • Exam pass rate: No data
  • Average completion time: 1-2 months

ACE credibility and reputation

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

The American Council on Exercise is a non-profit fitness certification advisor. Its flagship offering is the ACE CPT certification, but it offers dozens of CEUs and related courses on a variety of fitness topics.

ACE offerings are solid in terms of science. However, ACE certifications have a reputation for being easy, which can sometimes diminish their credibility among employers. You can gain all the knowledge you need from ACE, but sometimes employers want to see you earn a harder CPT certification.

ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist pros and cons

  • Excellent behavioral change
  • Reasonably priced


  • Easy exam is less respected
  • Less emphasis on performance nutrition

ACE Nutritionist study materials and costs

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

  • Ebook-only option –  $399
  • Hard copy plus Ebook textbook – $424

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

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

ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist Certificate content coverage

In the ACE Fitness Nutrition Certification, you will learn all of the essentials of nutritional science. You also get an amazing section on behavioral change, which is a major skill you need for success as a nutrition coach.

The ACE nutrition certification focuses half of its 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’s useless.

The ACE FNS also has 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 strongly business-minded. 

In addition to that, fitness integration into this nutrition program makes it an excellent choice for individuals that have little knowledge about personal training.

Taking the ACE Fitness Nutrition certification exam

The ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist certification does not have a final exam. You just have to pass a quiz at the end of each chapter to complete the program. Compared to in-person final exams, the ACE FNS chapter quizzes are a walk in the park.

ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist Certification continuing education, salary, and career prospects

The ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist provides CEU/CEC credits for 7 organizations, including NASM, ACSM, AFAA, and of course ACE, among others.

You do not need to complete additional CEUs to maintain the FNS certification itself.

Salary-wise, ACE FNS nutrition coaches can expect to earn anywhere from $35,000 to $70,000 per year.

Career-wise, I recommend ACE if you want to work with clients who need a lot of behavioral coaching.

ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist overall rating

Overall, the ACE FNS certification gets a 3.5 out of 5. While it does have a great behavioral coaching methodology, the lack of performance nutrition and diminished industry respect mean this certification comes in at #6 on my list.

Fitness Nutrition Specialist Program

7. National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association (NESTA) Fitness Nutrition Coach

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

What is the NESTA Fitness Nutrition Coach certificate?

The National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association (NESTA) offers two nutrition programs. 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 aims more at athletes and those looking to improve 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 for making your clients healthier and fitter.

NESTA General Information

NESTA General Information

  • Exam cost: $447
  • Study material cost: $477
  • Prerequisites: CPR/AED or Basic Life Support Card, High School Diploma
  • Exam passing score: 71%
  • Average completion time: 30 – 90 Days

NESTA credibility and reputation

NESTA is a much newer certification provider and does not have the same recognition as other companies. NESTA covers the basics of fitness nutrition for personal trainers. Additionally, all of the NESTA certifications place an extra focus on coaching clients in the digital era. This includes discussing online nutrition coaching methods as part of the curriculum.

NESTA Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach pros and cons

  • Emphasis on online nutrition coaching
  • Affordable packages
  • Less recognized by employers

NESTA Fitness Nutrition Coach study materials and costs

The NESTA FNS curriculum is entirely online and includes the following:

  • 100% online training & online exam
  • Immediate access to training & exam
  • Flexible self-study
  • Receive a digital certificate upon passing the exam
  • Paper certificate with official seal mailed within North America 2-3 weeks upon verification
  • Lifetime certificate
  • Lifetime access to online training

The cost of the NESTA fitness nutrition coach certification is $447.

The cost for the NESTA sports nutrition specialist certification is $487.

NESTA’s FNC certification pricing makes it among the more reasonably priced nutrition certifications.

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

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.

NESTA Nutritionist content coverage

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.

The outline of the NESTA-certified fitness nutrition coach is as follows:

  • Nutrition Concepts: Foundational nutritional concepts including a review of the anatomy of the digestive system (oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, etc.), and the physiology leading to nutrient metabolism.
  • Understanding Components of Nutrition: The various roles of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water) and their importance to human performance.
  • Nutrition Requirements: Vitamins from foods consumed and mineral intake requirements
  • Assessing Nutritional Needs: Body Composition, BMI and approaching change in biometrics
  • Understanding Alternative Approaches: Supplement usage and ergogenic aids
  • Performance Nutrition: Easy-to-learn math formulas for Fitness Nutrition Coaches and practical suggestions for optimizing performance

Taking the NESTA Fitness Nutrition Coach exam

The NESTA nutrition tests consist of 100 multiple-choice questions.

All 100 questions to be answered within 2 hours.

You are required to score a minimum of 70% or higher and have three attempts to pass. 

NESTA Fitness Nutrition Coach continuing education, salary, and career prospects

You do not need to recertify your actual NESTA FNC certification. However, the certification does provide 2.0 credits towards recertifying your NESTA CPT, as well as some other programs.

According to ZipRecruiter, Fitness Nutrition Specialists can expect to earn an average of $44,730 per year. This is highly variable depending on location.

The NESTA  FNC certification is a good affordable nutrition certification option for nutrition coaching careers. However, given the choice, I would probably go for NASM or ISSA.

NESTA Fitness Nutrition Coach overall rating

Overall, NESTA gets a 3.2 out of 5. I do like the fact that there are tons of online resources. However, the lack of name recognition and the splitting of performance and general fitness nutrition into two separate certifications makes the NESTA nutrition coaching certification comes in at #7 on our list.

8. American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA) Nutrition and Wellness Certification

The AFPA Nutrition and Wellness Certification

What is the AFPA Nutrition and Wellness Certification?

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

AFPA also offers nutrition consultants certifications like Holistic Nutritionist Certification and Senior Nutritionist Specialist. These nutrition programs gives you more in-depth knowledge about nutrition and healthy living. If you want to be a holistic nutrition coach, then any of the certified nutritional coach options from the AFPA.

You will learn how to be motivational and be able to change the lifestyle habits of your clients. 

This involves ‌communicating effectively with your client’s nutritional concepts and teaching them the importance of habit-building.

AFPA General Information

AFPA General Information

  • Exam cost: $599
  • Study material cost: $599
  • Prerequisites: High School Diploma
  • Exam passing score: 71%
  • Average completion time: 30 – 90 Days

AFPA credibility and reputation

The (American Fitness Professionals and Associates) AFPA) was established in 1994 by Dr. Mark J. Occhipinti and Amy Campbell, M.S. Their goal for the organization was to establish a community of health and fitness professionals with exceptional skills to promote better living for millions via innovative nutritional and exercise concepts.

Overall, the AFPA has less credibility than mainstream certifications. This is not due to a lack of quality, and you will learn some great skills in the course. However, if you are hoping to get hired by an employer, be sure to check which nutrition certifications they accept.

AFPA Nutrition & Wellness Consultant Certification pros and cons

  • Emphasis on online nutrition coaching
  • Affordable packages
  • Less recognized by employers
AFPA Nutrition Certification pros and cons - Healthy Nutrition Practices

AFPA Nutrition and Wellness Consultant study materials and costs

The current cost for the AFPA nutrition and wellness consultant certification is $599. 

This is a more expensive price for an online nutrition certificate.

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

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

Both digital access and textbooks are available as well.

AFPA Nutrition Certification content coverage

AFPA nutrition curriculum textbook - best nutrition programs

Primarily, the AFPA sports nutrition certification equips you with the comprehensive nutritional understanding required to cater to each distinct client and their individual goals. This includes those who have perfected their training routine but want to optimize their nutrition, athletes seeking guidance on supplementation, or simply those intending to lose weight through dietary modifications.

However, the learning doesn’t stop there. You’ll also gain insights on how meal timing can impact performance, the influence of nutrition on the immune system, and the management of eating disorders along with their implications on performance and nutrition.

With this certification as a sports nutritionist, you’re empowered to provide your clients with the tools they need to maintain their fitness and health.

Taking the AFPA Sports Nutrition Coach exam

The AFPA Sports Nutrition exam is straightforward compared to other exams. It took me 3 months of studying to pass on the first try.

AFPA Sports Nutrition continuing education, salary, and career prospects

There is no continuing education requirement for the AFPA Sports Nutrition Certification. The medium salary for a Sports Nutritionist in the United States is $57,070. This certification is a great launch point for any nutrition coaching career.

AFPA Sports Nutrition overall rating

I rate the AFPA Sports Nutrition last on my list of the best nutrition certifications. This doesn’t mean it isn’t a great option, but the competition is stiff and there are simply more respected and comprehensive options on the market.

How to get a nutritionist certification

To get a nutritionist certification, you first need to select which nutrition certification you will get. From there, complete your coursework, pass your exam, and you’ll officially have your nutritionist certification.

Accredited Nutrition Courses

Best Nutrition Certifications- top nutrition certifications textbooks, ACE, NASM, NCSF, Precision Nutrition, ISSA

Best Nutritionist Certificate for Holistic Nutrition

Best Nutrition Certificate Program for Registered Dieticians

Best for Graduate Nutritionist Degree

Best Nutrition Certificate Online for Undergraduate Nutritionist Degree

Conclusion on Online Nutrition Certifications

Well, there you have it ladies and gentlemen, my article on the top nutrition programs. I hope you 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.

8 Best Nutrition Coach Certifications in [year] 5
8 Best Nutrition Coach Certifications in [year] 6

Make sure to utilize my free NASM-CNC study guide or ISSA Nutrition study guide if you choose either of those.

Overall my top four accredited nutrition certification programs are:

These are the four best online nutrition programs.

Make sure to check out Trainer Academy for excellent nutrition certification study materials and exam pass guarantees.

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

Best Online Nutrition 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 or specific health condition 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.

Getting the right health care for chronic disease outside the comfort of your home is very helpful in the long run.

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

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

Nutrition Certification Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who’s allowed to give nutrition advice?

Anyone can legally give generalized nutrition advice. However, only a Registered Dietician (RD) can prescribe specific diets for specific health issues or foods.

How do I become a certified nutritionist?

To become a certified nutrition coach, you need to take an accredited nutrition coaching course from a reputable agency and pass the exam, as well as maintain any required continuing education credits.

Is a nutritionist also a dietitian?

A certified nutritionist is not the same as a registered dietician, although you may see the credential “registered dietitian nutritionist.” To become an RD or RDN, you must complete a postgraduate degree and clinical hours.

What is nutrition and wellness?

Nutrition and wellness is the act of using nutritious food and vitamins to maintain healthy body weight, decrease the chances of chronic diseases, and promote overall health.

Can I become a nutritionist without a degree?

Technically, it depends on the country and state in which you live, and what you mean by u0022nutritionist.u0022 In general, certified nutritionists or certified clinical nutritionists need a bachelor’s degree in a nutrition-related field or postgraduate education if the bachelor’s degree is in an unrelated field. Certified nutrition coaches, however, do not. You can become a nutrition coach by completing a nutrition coach certification program.

Can I be a personal trainer and nutritionist?

Yes, you can be a personal trainer and study further to be a nutritionist. In fact, this is a plus to you.

What does a certified nutrition coach do?

A certified nutrition coach works with clients that have a sedentary life, those who are overweight, or people with general have health issues to change their lifestyle through healthy eating habit.

Can I do a free online nutrition course?

Yes, you can do an online free nutrition course, but you might not be able to use this certification to work with clients that are conscious of certification recognition.
It is always better to be a certified nutritionist with an accredited health and fitness organization.

What is the salary of a nutrition coach?

Drawing from the United States Bureau of statistics, a nutrition coach earns an average of $60, 370 annually depending on the state where you work.

What are the prerequisites for becoming a nutrition coach?

There are different requirements from different nutrition program but the most basic is that:
You are 18 years or older
Have a professional certification in wellness, health education, and other related fields from an accredited health and fitness organization.

How long does it take to become a nutrition coach?

To become a nutrition coach, it will take a minimum of three months and a maximum of 12 months counting from the date of registration to writing the exams.

What is a holistic nutritionist certification?

A holistic nutritionist certification course will teach you to integrate nutrition into a client’s life as one aspect of an overall healthy life. Holistic certifications generally take into account many other factors that affect nutrition and health, including mental health, fitness, stress, sleep, and more.

Which is the best online nutritionist certification?

In my opinion, three nutrition coach programs offer an excellent curriculum in the industry. These are the ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM-CNC, and ISSA Nutrition Certification.


  1. Become an ISSA Nutritionist | ISSA. https://www.issaonline.com/certification/nutritionist
  2. Certified Health Coach | ISSA. https://www.issaonline.com/certification/certified-health-coach
  3. Become an Elite Trainer | Certification Program | ISSA. https://www.issaonline.com/certification/elite-trainer-certification
  4. “Become a Certified Nutrition Coach – NASM Nutrition Certification.” NASM, https://www.nasm.org/continuing-education/certified-nutrition-coach
  5. “Get Your Sports Nutrition Certification – NASM-CSNC.” NASM, https://www.nasm.org/continuing-education/sports-nutrition-certification
  6. ZipRecruiter. NASM nutrition coach salary. ZipRecruiter. 2023. Available from: https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/NASM-Nutrition-Coach-Salary
  7. Nutrition Certification. https://www.issaonline.com/certification/nutrition-certification
  8. Nutrition & Fitness Coach Certification. https://www.issaonline.com/certification/precision-nutrition-bundle
  9. “Precision Nutrition Salary.” ZipRecruiter, 13 Apr. 2023, https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Precision-Nutrition-Salary
  10. Certified Online Virtual Nutrition Coach Certification Course – 100% Online. 11 Apr. 2023, https://www.fitnessmentors.com/virtual-nutrition-coach-certification/
  11. Sport Nutrition. https://www.ncsf.org/sport-nutrition
  12. Fitness Nutrition Specialist. https://www.acefitness.org/continuing-education/specialist-programs/fitness-nutrition/
  13. “Nutrition Certification | Fitness Nutritionist Course | Consultant Education.” Personal Trainer Certification, Nutrition Courses, Fitness Education, https://www.nestacertified.com/nutritionist/
  14. “Sports Nutrition Certification.” AFPA Fitness, https://store.afpafitness.com/sports-nutrition-certification/
Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read

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302 thoughts on “8 Best Nutrition Coach Certifications in 2024”

  1. Hey Tyler, I already have my NASM CPT and I am looking to improve myself in terms of nutrition (even better if it’s sports nutrition). In this case, which course would you recommend with the best value? Really appreciate your input on this. Cheers

    • Hey Cindy, if you are already NASM CPT certified, then your best option might be the NASM CNC certification, as this will line up well with your CPT cert and stay with NASM, making recertification credits easier. On top of that, it is one of the best nutrition programs. If you want an outside-NASM option, I recommend ISSA or Precision Nutrition currently.

  2. Hi Tyler,

    Thank you for all of the resources and information you provide to the community at no cost. I have found your website very helpful in my search for a certification in nutrition. I do have a question for you…

    After much time and research I sold myself on AFPA’s bundle of Holistic Nutrition and Health and Wellness Coaching. I started to think about becoming a CPT in addition and have heard from trainers at my gym that NASM is the best way to go as far as gaining clients and business quickly. I see that NASM also offers a CNC program as well but I don’t want to miss out on the holistic aspect, depth and overall widespread learning from the AFPA program I mentioned earlier. I’d like to keep this all affordable as well. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much.

    • Hey Michaela, if you are considering becoming a CPT and also want a nutrition certification, I would definitely consider the top organizations: ACE, ISSA, and NASM. You can’t go wrong with those options.

  3. Thank you so much for the breakdown! I am still a bit torn as I already have the ACE Health Coach Cert & FNS, but was wondering if there was something PN1 has over those or if their marketing is just top notch. I feel like a lot of the successful macro coaches I am seeing (Stronger U, Habyt, Noom, etc) have the PN1 cert so now I am wondering if I should add that.

    • Hey Kayla, these are all excellent options for coaches, but there has definitely been a rise in the precision nutrition coaching level 1 certification. It would be a great choice if you wanted to go that route.

  4. Hey Tyler. I’m looking to take the ACE Nutrition Course as a guide for myself as a fitness enthusiast, not really going to take it in order to find a job, that and I’m bored at home. My question is, do you have any news on how often they update their course materials? I tried googling for their ACE Nutrition Fitness course manual and all I see out there is a version from 2013 and the video on their site is from 2018 so as a follow up, should I be concerned about the accuracy of their materials? If I’m going to take a course, I want to get the most recent data and materials possible to use. Their sale may end soon so I’ll greatly appreciate it if you or anyone reading this could shed a light on this. Thanks in advance.

  5. Hey, I love the article, its helping m to decide which company to use to get both my, personal training and nutrition, cert. The only thing I am wondering about now is the video learning content, I know that nasm has it but im not sure if issa does the same, I would need to know this to make my ultimate decision. Please and thank you.

  6. Do you know if issa has content learning videos? I’m a visual learner so i would need to know before I make decision between nasm and issa. Please and thank you.

  7. Hi Tyler!

    I’m considering between the ACE Nutrition Specialist & the NASM CNC! Which would you recommend? I’m am an ACE CPT. Also, I saw that the NASM cert has to be recertified every 2 years. How does that go about, besides taking a test? Will new materials be provided? Thank you!

    • If you like ACE And had a good experience with their certified personal training program, you could definitely go with them. I do think that the certified nutrition coach is a more well-rounded certification. In terms of every two years, yes you need to pass the exam for the National Academy of sports medicine to get recertified.

  8. hey i was wondering what the difference in the nasm nutrition cert and the ncsf nutrition cert cant really find the difference and there sites dont really explain my local collage has both courses on there programs list the nasm is about 1,295 dollars and the ncsf is only 595 dollars there overviews are very different as well the nasm has a three course program Nutritional Science, Behavior Change Strategies, Nutrition Coaching and thats all that is said but the ncsf course has a very good explanation on what you will be leaning the ncsf course has about 5 unit courses Unit 1 Introduction to Nutrients and Intakes
    Nutrients and Recommended Intakes
    Unit 2 Physiological Concepts for Nutrition
    Fuel Sources for Muscle and Exercise Metabolism
    Gastric Emptying, Digestion and Absorption
    Unit 3 Macronutrients
    Water Requirements and Fluid Balance
    Unit 4 Micronutrients and Supplementation
    Vitamins and Minerals
    Unit 5 Nutrition and Physiological Adaptations to Exercise
    Nutrition and Training Adaptations
    Body Composition
    Weight Management
    Eating Disorders in Athletes
    Nutrition and Immune Function in Athletes
    please help both include a voucher for the exams im stumped

    • Hey there, although most General personal training certifications have a lot of similarities, they also have a lot of differences. I do recommend NASM over NCSF in general. Also, I’m not sure where you were seeing $1,300, but you can get the base package from the National Academy of sports medicine for around $600 which would put it even with the NCSF cert.

  9. Hi Tyler,

    First of all , thank you for this detailed explanation of those nutrition certifications (nc).
    My questions are:

    1) Do I need to have a nutrition study background to access to the NC or I can access even if I don’t have any related degree or other certification (ex. do I need a personal trainer certification before doing the nc)?

    2) Do you know which of those NC is recognized even in Europe or those are only valid in the US?

    Thank you in advance

    Best Regards

    • You do not need a degree to get any certification on this list. In terms of which certifications are recognized in different parts of the world, that’s a tougher question. The majority of this content is geared towards people in the United States, Canada and some parts of Europe. But it really depends country-to-country which certifications they recognized as valid. I would definitely ask around your local gymnasiums or employers to see which certifications they accept.

  10. HI TYLER

    I hold a degree in bachelors in business management. i live in USA . will these certificate course help me in getting into the business or should i consider doing a bachelors or masters degree in Nutrition/dietitian.
    i am not interested in taking a long route but i am also in dilemma if getting a certification would help me in setting up a career
    currently i do not hold any prior certificate/degree in nutrition or PT

    Thank you

    • If you are in the fitness space already working with clients, anyone of these certifications will be good to help you get into nutrition coaching and offering those services to your clients. However, this does not have nearly as much information as a becoming a registered dietitian. That is very different.

  11. Hi Tyler,
    My situation is a little different than what I’ve been seeing in the comments. I am a government employee in MD who works for the Office On Aging and my title is a Sr. Center Specialist. We offer nutrition programming in all of our centers. I work with a RD now, who administers some of our programming (mostly nutrition education classes.) I’ve been tasked with looking in to becoming a Certified Nutrition Coach and I’m really excited about it. Food, healthy eating and helping folks is something I’ve very passionate about. Our RD would be the one offering actual “diet counsel” but she does this on a contractual basis and is not always available when we need her to administer a general nutrition education class. Having someone on staff to share in the teaching of some of our nutrition education programs would be very beneficial. I just want to be sure I understand. Do I need a college degree to become a CNC through NASM? Are there any other pre-requisites that I would need? I was completely overwhelmed by the info out there when I began looking. I was thankful to find your blog to help narrow things down! I am familiar with NASM and ACE. Not so much ISSA. Based on what I’ve shared, do you believe the best choice for me would be NASM CNC? I will need to get back to my manager with the info I’ve gathered and am hopeful my tuition will be reimbursed, but I need to be sure the training I receive will be beneficial to our clients and our division. I am so fortunate to already have the platform of people to serve, if I obtain the certification. Your input will be greatly appreciated!!

    • Hey Debbie, you definitely have a specific situation. Just the way you’re not confused, you do not need a college degree to go through any of these programs. These are more geared towards Fitness professionals such as personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches Etc. It’s meant to help their clients get on the healthy diet, lose weight I might get the proper nutrients Etc. What it is not meant to do is prescribe anything. We are not registered dietitians, we are not doctors. So for this I recommend asking the doctors that you are working with what credentials you need for this particular position.

  12. Thank you for the articles.

    I was wondering which of these are accredited by the most reputable organizations .
    For instance, nasm PT is accredited by the NCAA but their nutrition program is not.
    I dont know what significance this has but the aafp holistic certification says its accredited by
    The AADP, ANMAB, FHT, international practitioners of holistic medicine, NANP, and qualify for the canadian association for integrative medicine and can become a registered holistic nutrition practitioner.

    I guess what I’m missing is the NASM course doesn’t seem to be accredited by any major organizations (i could very well be missing something)

    I already have a CPT from nasm but am looking for a nutrition program that’s accredited

    Do you know anything about these? Wouldn’t this be something that is significant to look at before deciding?

    Lastly, i have emailed the Afpa asking if nasm accepts CEU from their program and they said 1.9ceu. I can’t seem to find any information about it on the NASM website though. Do you know if they accept their holistic nutrition certification for CEUs? Does NASM accept other programs nutrition courses for ceu (like issa cpt and nutrition bundle)

    Thanks so much .

    • Hey there I definitely understand your confusion. Most personal training certifications are accredited by the NCCA. I will definitely need to get back to you on the specific question. In terms of continuing education credits, there are so many different providers that you should definitely contact NASM directly. Since AFPA Says they provide 1.9 continuing education credits, I would 95% believe what they are saying. Most full certifications provide 1.9 continuing education credits for NASM. But it doesn’t hurt to double-check with the National Academy of sports medicine.

  13. Hi – Are all of these nutrition and health coach certs best to use in tandem with an existing personal trainer certification?

    • Only if you plan on working with clients to personal train them. If you only want to give nutrition coaching or health coaching advice, you don’t need a personal training certification. Although, personal training and nutrition go hand-in-hand.

  14. Hello Tyler,

    Do you receive any compensation from any of the certification programs you review?

    Also, do you have any knowledge about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition(IIN)? My daughter is considering this program and it seems pricey compared to the programs you reviewed.

    Thank you!

    • Yes I do receive a small Commission from the majority of the certifying agencies that I recommend. That being said, I do not let it bias my decision when recommending the best program to choose. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition is a great option as well but it’s more of a holistic nutrition certification compared to a nutrition certification for Fitness professionals.

  15. I’m an Executive Chef with 20 years of professional cooking experience. I’m looking to branch out and start doing my own thing. I’m looking for a nutrition certification program that I can use to tie in to my personal business that doesn’t require any pre requisite work. Thanks for your time!

    • Hey there Tim, do you certifications do not have any prerequisites so they are all really good options for what you were looking for. You can’t really go wrong with either one. Good luck with your future Fitness coaching career.

  16. Hi there
    I am Javier, I graduated from Economics degree last year and but I am planning to get a degree for OT/PT and I am gonna submit applications next year (September – December 2021). Also, I am not in the fitness industry, I am working in banking industry! However, I just love lifting weights and playing soccer and I love all the information about training and performance.

    I am going to start my ACE CPT program next year in March/April and I plan to finish it in 3 months time and I wonder if I start NASM CNC in July, is it possible to finish it by November( i.e. in 3 months time), do u know anyone who finished it in that short amount of time?

    As I said, I do these becoz I love any info about training and performance, also I think these 2 certifications will increase my chance to be admitted becoz eventually I do not have any biology background…


    • It really depends on how much experience you have in the field. Since you are starting from an economic background, I would at least give it three months per certification in that should be enough as long as you are focused and have a good study schedule.

  17. Thanks for all the useful info!!!

    I was just about to decide between ISSA and PN level 1 cert… when I found somehow when browsing ISSA’s page this:

    Become a Certified Nutrition Coach, and learn how to change lives.
    …ISSA has partnered with Precision Nutrition, the world leader in the science and practice of nutrition coaching.

    Does it mean I get “the best out of the two worlds”? Should I go for this one? I’m a bit confused now.

    • It is a little bit confusing. You can purchase the personal training certification and the Precision Nutrition certification in a package deal. But the nutritionist certification is not the same as the Precision Nutrition certification. This is do their own certification from ISSA. But, it is a fantastic certification as well so don’t feel bad about picking this one either.

  18. I have seen that ISSA is now partnered with Precision Nutrition according to their own website (ISSA) “ISSA has partnered with Precision Nutrition, the world leader in the science and practice of nutrition coaching.” Seems somewhat odd, if they both offer the certification, what is the purpose of the partnership and now does that mean that ISSA has done away with their own nutrition certification? Curious to know the reasoning and now how, if at all that changes your recommendations. Thanks

    • The only reason that they partnered with Precision Nutrition is to offer their personal training certification in a bundle with Precision Nutrition. Basically if you purchase Precision Nutrition through them, you can get their personal training certification for only $200 more. This is honestly a pretty cool deal. They still have their own nutrition certification that was developed by them and is also a great option.

  19. Hi Ty,
    Thanks for the info. I just graduated with my nutrition science degree and was wondering if you could steer me in the right degree regarding which of these programs focus more on fitness and nutrition balance. I just don’t want to get a certification on something that I already know all about if that makes sense!

    • Hey there, yes that makes sense. All of these are Pure Nutrition certifications. There is not one certification that covers both nutrition and training half and half. You will find nutrition chapters in the personal training certifications. But it is by no means in-depth. That’s why I recommend doing a personal training certification as well as a nutrition certification. You can find pretty good deals for both of these. The international sports Sciences Association offers a pretty cheap package for nutrition and their personal training certification which might be something you want to look into.

  20. I am looking to become a personal trainer. I am American living in Europe. I have my Crossfit level 1. Next I’d like to get a sports nutrition certification before officially getting certified as a personal trainer where I live. I am looking into Ace as I know that they are apart of Reps and eReps. Ace is also the cheapest of them all when on sale. I am looking for international flexibility and the best program I can get. Would you recommend ACE or ISSA for this?

    • That’s a good question, both of them are NCCA accredited and should be accepted at the majority of the gymnasiums where you live. That being said, I would definitely reach out to any employer in your area to see which certifications they accept.

  21. Hey Tyler – Love all your insights on everything about personal training. Question about the nutrition certifications: my experience is that people really need “hacks” or very practical techniques to shop and eat healthy. In other words, they don’t always need me to educate them on macronutrients, but rather they need practical advice on how to stick to a diet, estimate portion size, etc. Wondering which, if any, of the certifications you discuss teaches these kinds of things? I have a NASM PT, so I’m leaning towards them but I want to make sure I get some good grounded tips, templates, etc. Thanks – I never make a move without reading your insights first!

  22. Hi! I was recently searching for nutrition courses I could do as a beginner. Currently I’m doing the precision nutrition level 1 and I’m really liking it although I would like to do another well recognized certification which can teach me more in depth nutrition such as hormones, supplements etc. I had a look at your post about the best nutrition online courses and was very excited about the ISSA nutrition and training bundle they have (elite trainer). I have also encountered the NCI level 1 and 2 course which seems interesting too but you didn’t mention it on your post. Do you know anything about NCI? Have they got a good reputation and do you think what they teach is worth the money? Between ISSA and NCI which one would you recommend? As I told you I’m more focused on the nutrition side although I do think it’s good to have a training basic knowledge( +the ISSA bundle also gives you a free specification certificate which can be great to focus on a particular subject). in the other hand, the NCI, specially the level 2, looks as if they cover loads of specific topics and I’ve asked them whether you could sign up only to the level 2 but they told me that it wouldn’t be possible. If ISSA was the one to go for, what other specific courses could I take after?
    Thank you and hope you reply soon,

    • Hey there, I have heard of them but I have not done a deep dive into their certification. Thanks for pointing this out to me and I will try to get a good review about NCI at some point.

  23. This is one of the pre-requisites of most nutrition certifications.

    Have a professional certification in wellness, health education, and other related fields from an accredited health and fitness organization.

    How to get one of these certifications? Can one do the nutrition certifications without actually doing a CPT course. I hold a advanced science degree
    Thank you

  24. Hey Tyler!
    Great article!! Thank you. Just wondering if you have any input on IIN-institute of integrative nutrition?

    • Hey there, yes I have heard of The Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I will need to get a full review of them soon to get a better comparison. Thanks for pointing this out and good luck with your nutrition coaching career.

  25. HI there, many thanks for this – its very informative mate. Between NASM and ISSA which one would you recommend? I am not a PT but just wanna do the best course in nutrition – something that I can build upon as well. I am OK with costs of either of them, but who as per you has the edge over all of these courses pls?

    • Between the National Academy of sports medicine in the international sports Sciences Association I would probably go with ISSA because they have a great deal going on where you can get other Fitness certifications as well. They are both just as recognizable as one another. Good luck with your Fitness career.

  26. Hi Tyler,
    This is a great blog, it is very informative to read. I am a PT in Australia, and now considering get a nutrition course to enhance my value. After reading your blog, I am interested with the NASM CNC and the ISSA Nutrition certification. Can you compare the two courses for me to choose? Does the CNC put more focus on the mental thing, which can make the behavior change. The ISSA is more like giving the general education? Am I correct? Can you give me some advice? Thank you in advance!

    • They are both General Nutrition certifications. But, the international sports Sciences Association definitely gives a lot more information about Sports Nutrition. So if you were interested in working with athletes this might be helpful. Good luck with your nutrition career.

  27. Hi! I am looking to get certified in the nutrition field. I am not a personal trainer and really only have plans to do sports nutrition. I do endurance sports and my husband is an ultra-endurance athlete. Without any background in nutrition or personal training, is there one program that is more well-rounded? I looked at AFPA Sports Nutrition but it doesn’t seem to teach the basics of Nutrition. I also looked at Precision Nutrition. Is there a program you recommend for what I’m getting into? Thank you so much

    -Allie Sloan

    • If you just plan on doing Sports Nutrition, I would definitely take a look at the international sports Sciences Association Sports Nutrition certification. It has a lot of great information. Precision Nutrition is also a good option but it tends to be a little pricier and does not have a specific focus on athletes.

  28. Hey Tyler!

    So I am currently working as an engineer in Germany and looking to break into the health and fitness industry, as this is where my true passion is. I am highly interested in learning more about nutrition and helping people and athletes improve their nutrition to meet their individual fitness goals.

    Two questions:

    When should you consider getting a 4 year degree vs one of these certifications?

    Are these certifications accepted and valid abroad?

    Thank you for all the information you provide!

    • It really ranges what certifications are accepted in which country. I do not have access to every countries accepted certifications. I’m mostly targeting people in North America. That being said, no certification can beat the knowledge you will learn from a four-year bachelor’s.

  29. Hi
    I would like to know if I am eligible for any nutrition course or not ..have post graduate in biotechnology and now practicing yoga from last two years also pursuing yoga teacher training course.I am much interested into making a career into wellness coach. Is there any course that would help me ?

    • Hey there, yes you are absolutely qualified to take a nutrition certification. You sound like a perfect candidate and I’m sure you will learn a lot from whichever organization you choose to get certified through.

  30. I would like to do a certified Nutrition Program. quite confused about which one to opt for. I am totally new to this field but have an interest in learning and guiding people through online portals. could you please suggest which one shall I choose.

    • If you’re focused primarily on working online, the Precision Nutrition does have a slight advantage on that end. They do have excellent software that helps you work with clients online seamlessly.

  31. Hey there! I’m halfway through the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification and would like share my experience. I have my Doctorate in Physical Therapy, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy, and NSCA Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator. All that to say, I’ve been through a lot of rigorous schooling and I applaud Precision Nutrition for their evidence-based practice approach and inclusion of psychology to focus on lifestyle behavior change. Additionally, they also using test methods (chapter exams), opportunities for feedback, solid curriculum objectives and goals, and case studies which are all considered aspects of higher level education. Additionally, they require a exam every 2 years to keep your certification active, which is also a good indicator of professionalism. Finally, they educate on scope of practice to ensure we are staying in our professional lane away from medicalizing nutrition and learning to screen and refer to other healthcare providers as indicated. I don’t need to be a RD, but as a rehab, sports, and fitness professional, having the extra knowledge and credential of being a certified nutrition coach will be very helpful to my clients.

    • That is a fantastic view of Precision Nutrition and I’m glad that you shared your experience here with us. They are definitely one of the top nutrition certifications in the industry and I really like what they’re doing with the integration with their software that they use.

  32. I’ve been comparing the nutrition and pt courses of NASM, ISSA, and ACE. The ACE Nutrition course was listed as number 3, but you said it was your number 2 on your list of best nutrition courses. Which is your number 1? I was debating on which courses to take and eventually decided to take the NASM PT course (the cheapest study + $100 hard copy textbook because of my preference) and the ACE Nutrition for balance of quality & cost effective factors because I was considering the great deals ending by the end of today. Please let me know what you think and your advice on this! Would greatly appreciate hearing from you, since I’ve been referencing your articles.

    • I think that is definitely a great combination. A lot of people do that as well. The American Council on exercise and the National Academy of sports medicine or both excellent organizations so you should not be let down on either side.

  33. Hey! I’m a beginner and would like to study and learn more about nutrition as a hobby. Requesting you to help me out with recommendations for the best certification for beginners. TIA

    • That is basically what all of these certifications on this list are talking about. Any of these will give you a very good base knowledge of nutrition so that you can give sound advice and great coaching.

      • I would like to do a certified Nutrition Program. quite confused about which one to opt for. I am totally new to this field but have an interest in learning and guiding people through online portals. could you please suggest which one shall I choose.

        • All of them are meant to give very good starting knowledge Fort nutrition. And they all deliver. Some of them offer specific things such as more focus on athletes or more focus on the general population. But in the end, you will get your Bass knowledge that is sufficient from all of them.

  34. What are your thoughts about the ISSN cert, International Society of Sports Nutrition? The University I am attending offers a certification through them. Cost wise, ISSA would be better for me but I want to make sure there were not any additional benefits with an ISSN cert over ISSA cert.
    Jeremy Blanton

  35. Hi, I wanted to know about AFPA? How well is it recognised and how about it’s holistic nutrition certification?

  36. Hello Tylor
    I wanna thank you about this topic,
    But now i got a bit confused, i think i should take only one course of sport nutrition, so i don’t wanna make a wrong decision lol … Is it true , that most of the nutrition certifications are similar ?

    • A lot of the nutrition certifications are similar as they have a very similar Base from a scientific standpoint. I would definitely only start out with one certification instead of doing two from the get-go.

  37. Hello Tyler,
    I graduated with an ADA certified bachelors in Nutrition in 2006 but I did not go on to complete the internship program etc. I would love to coach people in Nutrition since I have a background in this. I was considering maybe having a small nutrition consultation type business setup where I could possibly help people lose weight / healthy eating habits/diet something flexible since I have young kids to look after right now. I do not have any personal training background etc. Would any of these programs work for me, or is this not the right fit for me. If the latter, might you know of something where I could get the credentials for nutritional counseling. Thanks so much!

    • All of these are specifically for nutrition certifications for health and fitness professionals mostly personal trainers and health coaches. If you want to become a nutritionist or a dietician that is another thing. That might be what you were looking for.

  38. Hello! I’m interested in becoming a certified nutritionist and specialize in women’s fitness and overall health. I took your quiz and got the NASM recommendation, but I think the ISSA elite trainer program also sounds good (CPT + certified nutritionist + transformation specialist)
    If I go with NASM I would take the nutrition certification and their women’s fitness certification.
    (I’m starting from 0, I don’t have any training in this fields)
    What’s your thought on this?

  39. This is a really really awesome resource, thank you for taking the time to put this together! On the NASM Cnc page it’s specifically says “not accredited so you take the test at home instead of a testing center” what are you considering to be accredited (inquiry not an attack). Curious if any of these are truly accredited basically for the best content-wise to help with future clients 🙂 thanks!

    • Hey Sarah,
      Typically this won’t really matter unless the gym or fitness facility that is hiring you only accepts accredited certifications. But when it comes to the clients, they have never heard of any of these certification. It’s usually for employers but for the case of nutrition, the National Academy of sports medicine is quite recognized in the field. You should be just fine But you should also double-check with any potential employers.

  40. Hi Tyler ,

    You are doing a great job !! Keep it up !

    I am from india and want to switch my career into nutrition from a corporate background , I do not have any formal education or cert related to fitness/nutrition. From your blog I figured out ISSA is best for me . So is there any pre requisite to start their nutrition certification? And is it good for someone who is just a starter in this line ?


    • Hey there,
      you do not need any prerequisites in order to start this nutrition certification. All you need to do is pick up the package and start studying. I’m glad that you started getting into nutrition and good luck on your nutrition coaching career.

  41. just dropping in to say your site and the free content you provide is amazing!!
    I just passed my NASM CPT and your practice exam was super helpful along with the NASM study guide I purchased (completed the test in 30 mins)! I’m going for my Nutrition Coaching Cert and this post was super helpful!!!! You helped me finalize NASM as my choice. I thought about Clean Health Fitness Institute (would love to here your thoughts on their programs) due to some other great course they had.

    • Hey Christina,
      thanks for the amazing and kind words. Congratulations on starting your journey with the National Academy of sports medicine. The nutrition certification is also a fantastic option. Good luck with the studying that exam. Combining personal training with nutrition is fantastic for your career.

  42. Looking at NASM and Integrative Nutrition (https://www.integrativenutrition.com). This is something I want to do for myself…for fun! I’ve become really interested in nutrition and health in the last few years. I’ve learned a lot from just reading online, and a couple years ago, I lost 30 pounds and have managed to stay consistent with healthy eating and lifestyle. I love talking to people about nutrition, working out, making healthy recipes, etc. and I want more knowledge on the subject. It’s already a part of my life, but I want a little more information and real training. What program would you recommend for me? I didn’t see anything about Integrative Nutrition in the original post or comments. Any tips?

    • Hey Jonie,
      The integrative nutrition is a fantastic option. Congratulations on losing 30 pounds, that is a fantastic Feats you have accomplished. All of these certifications are good options for learning about nutrition coaching.

    • Hey there,
      it really depends on which nutrition certification you want to get. You should compare and contrast all of the pros and cons from the ones in this article before you make a decision.

  43. Hi Tyler,

    You mentioned on your site that with ISSA .. “Without any additional testing, you can achieve the PN level I certification for only $299. ”

    I don’t see that available on the Issa site and whoever is manning the chat seems to know nothing about it.

    Is it still true?

  44. Hey Tyler
    Thanks for a great write up for the nutrition certification. I am a physical therapist and work with athletes and the general population. I treat everything from sports related injuries to all medical related ailments . As with the personal trainers success, my client/ patient population outcomes also is maximized from proper nutrition. Having a BS IN EXERCISE as well I feel comfortable educating my patients with general information and for legal reasons stay away from specific meal plans.
    I would like to get a certification in nutrition. Based on what I’ve described would you recommend NASM CNC, ISSA or ACE
    Thanks for you time and input

    • Hello Glen,
      I suggest either NASM or ISSA. Both of these should fit the bill. You already know that you have limitations with the certifications as you cannot prescribe a meal plan to fix any ailment. This is just for General Health and Fitness advice and giving good sound nutrition recommendations.

  45. Hey Tyler,
    Thank you for the very informative article! I am 52 years old and over the last year and half I have been on a “fitness journey”! I have lost over 30 pounds with “clean eating” and exercise. This is the best I have felt in years!!! I developed some pelvic floor issues to which I underwent physical therapy for about 6 months and in that time realized I was very interested in learning how to help other women with pelvic floor issues. The area I live in really did not have much to offer in assisting me with a specific program for my specific needs; so I did ALOT of research on the internet, talked to PT’s, trainers, nutritionist, etc. and was able to use the collective information and develop my own plan for fitness and nutrition. I am currently not working in the fitness/medical field but have over 25 years experience in the medical field in various areas. All that being said; I am not sure exactly how to pursue this and which path to take. I would like to be able to provide women with pelvic floor issues solid information in nutrition and fitness. Being that I have experienced this myself and knowing what I have gone thru to try and find out what I can and can’t do on a fitness level has been exhausting. I am not CPR or AED certified but am planning to get these certifications. I have been CPR certified in the past but did not renew. I would appreciate any recommendations. Thanks in advance!!

    • Hey Melinda,
      congratulations on losing 30 lbs, that is fantastic. What you were looking for in regards to the pelvic floor issue is very specific. No one of these certifications will specifically go over this problem or is focused on that and I think getting a general well grounded approach to nutrition is the way to go when you were starting out in this field. Basically building a well-rounded diet will help these problems. I suggest you get CPR and AED certified right away as that is extremely important as well for any health and fitness professional. If it was up to me and I could only choose one certification I would probably go with ISSA as it is the best bang for your buck.

  46. Hi Tyler,
    I am interested in the NASM certification but am concerned about the fact it is non-accredited; I live in Canada so the NASM isn’t as recognized here…Would the ISSA nutrition certification be a better option?


    • Hey Nikki,

      Both the nasm certification as well as the international sports Sciences Association are both great options in the United States. I definitely recommend checking out the spots that you would like to work at to see which certifications are accepted and which ones are preferred. Most of this information is geared towards people that live in the United States although most of it applies to Canada and some parts of Europe.

  47. hi hi Tyler,
    I am looking at taking a nutrition certification but am having a hard time deciding. I just completed a degree in Human Kinetics (kinesiology) but want to increase my knowledge in the area of nutrition. I have been looking at either the ISSA or NASM program, but the NASM is not an accredited certification and I live in Canada. Do you think I’d be better off taking an accredited certification?
    Also, if I have an undergrad degree, which certification would be my best choice?


    • Honestly, if you live in Canada I would definitely ask around to see which certifications are preferred and which ones are accepted. The majority of my information is targeted towards people living in the United States and looking for personal training certification or nutrition certifications. I think having a kinesiology degree deftly gives you hand up on the competition though.

  48. Hi Tyler,
    I am trying to buy a course for almost a month now, but waiting for your reply, before purchasing it. I am I’m looking to narrow down which certification I should go with. I want to be a Health/Nutrition Coach, but do not wish to be a personal trainer. My ultimate goal is to start helping my own customers to lose weight through a healthy diet. Below are some questions:

    1) When I become a Nutrition Coach, can I give nutritional advice for losing weight, eating balanced/healthy food?
    2) Which certificate will work if I would like to work from home and provide nutrition coaching face-to-face, including even virtually by phone or video.
    3) I live in Seattle, WA. Am I allowed to be a Nutrition Coach with one of those certificates?

    Thank you in advance!

  49. Hi Tyler,
    I am trying to buy a course for almost a month now, but waiting for your reply, before purchasing it. I am I’m looking to narrow down which certification I should go with. I want to be a Health/Nutrition Coach, but do not wish to be a personal trainer. My ultimate goal is to start helping my own customers to lose weight through a healthy diet. Below are some questions:

    1) When I become a Nutrition Coach, can I give nutritional advice for losing weight, eating balanced/healthy food?
    2) Which certificate will work if I would like to work from home/office and provide nutrition coaching face-to-face, including even virtually by phone or video.
    3) I live in Seattle, WA. Am I allowed to be a Nutrition Coach with one of those certificates?

    Thank you in advance!

  50. hey there
    i just graduated from high school and wanted to become a certified nutritionist , my questions are is it possible to become a nutritionist only with high school degree? and also where is the best learning place for that, how much will it cost me and how long is the course?

    • Most of these certifications on this list are meant for people that are already fitness professionals such as personal trainers, group exercise instructors, health coaching instructors etc. you can get certified with any of these nutrition certifications with a high school degree.

    • Take AFPA or Nutraphoria etc and you get accredited. Then you become a registered nutritionist and can practice as an actual nutritionist with much less limitations.

  51. Hi, how do you rank Nasm’s nutrition to Precision. I have my Nasm, it is more affordable to go that route for nutrition and they have open enrollment. How ever when it come to certifications is one better over the other.

    • Hello Kelly,
      I think both of them have fantastic nutrition information overall. Both the information and organization for both are highly recognized as being top-tier. The nutrition certification from the National Academy of sports medicine is a little bit newer though. They also require their nutrition experts to get recertified every two years. This means that they have to retake the exam that has been updated with the most current nutrition information. This is something I respect.

    • Nutrition certification. There are so many changes that are going on with new certifications coming out. I still do believe that these are the six best fitness nutrition certifications on the market today.

  52. Hi,

    I found this a very useful article to go through while searching for what would be useful to become a Sports Nutrition Specialist. So, thank you for taking the time to do so.
    However, you haven’t mentioned anything about Sports Nutrition certification from AFPA. If you know how good is it & if it’s gonna be helpful or not, please let me know.
    Thanks in advance.

    • All of the attrition certifications that I talk about on this list are general nutrition certifications for fitness professional is meant for people to build a strong nutrition base of information but not necessarily specialize. I have a whole different article that talks specifically about sports nutrition certifications that I suggest checking out.

  53. Hello Troy,

    I just recently became a NASM CPT and i was looking to add the nutrition coach to my resume. My questions are which is the best in your opinion? And also would I be able to create meal plans with a nutrition certification?

  54. hi,, i am a holder of Bachelor degree in Nutrition and a certified IIN holistic health coach but i would like to specialize in Kids nutrition and coaching… any thoughts on top facilities to provide a completely on line programs on the subject.
    thank you in advance

    • Hey Farah,
      I don’t know of a specific program that focuses specifically on kids nutrition. Most if not all of the touch upon nutrition for adolescents. But in terms of a program that is dedicated fully towards it, I’m not quite sure. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

  55. Hey Tyler,
    Amazing post, thank you for the information.
    I like precision nutrition, but I saw they don´t have Accreditation? Are they trustful in the field? And how important is the accreditation at all? I am thinking between ISSA and precision nutrition, but precision nutrition has new software ( ProCoach). What would you recommend to choose? Is it enough from precision nutrition the knowledge about fitness and nutrition?
    Thank you!

    • Hey Rado,
      precision nutrition and the international sports sciences Association have very similar to aerials when it comes to nutrition. In fact, the textbook that is used for ISSA was actually written by the owner of precision nutrition. I do agree that the pro-coach software is pretty cool. But if you are looking for the best bang for your buck, I would definitely go with ISSA.

  56. Hey Tyler – great info, thank you! Would really appreciate your input with my situation. In the last two years I have, at the age of 53 (now) lost 160 lbs (400 lbs down to 240) and counting… with no “dieting”. All the lessons I’d learned from previous yo yo diets and popular plans that are designed for quick and temporary weight loss… well let’s just say I think I really figured things out. So I’ve been really anxious to share what I’ve leaned with people. Tips, tricks recipes etc. that’s the link I posted. My blog. But I really want to do more I’m still continuing on my weight loss journey and I’d like to do public speaking or counseling… help as many people as I can, and it dawned on me that getting a nutrition cert would be helpful in giving me some addition info to go along with my practical experience. The AFPA seemed most geared towards weight loss so I was leaning that way, but I guess I also wanted to see if you thought in general if you thought it was a good use of my time and resources? Sorry for such a long note! Happy holidays!,

    • Hello Frank,
      it is fantastic to hear that you have lost so much weight. That is in incredible feats and I congratulate you for all of the success you have had. In terms of a nutrition certification. I think this would be great information to obtain along with all of you practical experience that you have gone through in your weight loss journey. Not to say that anyone in particular is specialized in weight loss, so it’s hard to say which one to go for. Basically if you have good nutrition you lose weight naturally is the main point to get across to people you’re trying to influence. I think the top two are the nutrition coach from the National Academy of sports medicine and the nutrition certification from the international sports sciences Association. I hope you had a fantastic New Year’s.

  57. Dear Tyler,
    Such an informative blog, so happy I’ve found your site! I’ve read so many information that I couldn’t get from anywhere else! 🙂
    I’m trying to change career, and because of my love for fitness and health, thought about trying the PT business plus nutritionist. But the thing is that I’m from Hungary, and here we don’t have a lot of courses like these. But on the other hand, I want to work abroad of course. Do you think I could get placed well with one of these online courses? Could I really get a well payed job?
    I’m just concerned a bit, since I don’t know anyone from my close friends/family who has done any of these. And read soo much information now that got bit confused.
    And if yes, what do you think would be the best online course to do?
    Hope you will have some time to read my comment 🙂
    Kind regards,

    • Hey Lilla,
      sorry it took me so long to get back to you. All of December was crazy. So to get it straight, you are looking to come to the United States to work in nutrition and not necessarily over there in Hungary. If you’re planning on coming to the United States, that is the best because most of my information is tailored towards people living in the United States. Most of the certifications that I talk about on my website are meant for people generally in the United States, Canada and some parts of Europe. If you head over to the United States and already have a nutrition certification, I don’t see why you would have trouble getting a job.

  58. Hi ,Ive done my ACE -CPT now looking forward to do nutrition course which would be the great option,i don’t wanted to go with ACE they won’t provide any certification for the nutrition

    • Hey Sindhi,
      Although you have already gotten certified by the American Council on exercise does not mean that you need to get a nutrition certification from them. In fact, they do not really provide a very good nutrition certification compared to the international sports sciences Association or the National Academy of sports medicine which I find to be much better. I suggest you go with them.

  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!

    • 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.

  60. 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?

    • 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.

  61. 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!

    • 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.

    • Hello Philip,
      This certification is a sports nutrition certification that is designated specifically for athletes. The nutrition certifications on my list are general nutrition certifications for fitness professionals and not necessarily for people trying to design nutrition programs for athletes. I hope this helps.

  62. 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?

    • 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.

  63. 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?

    • 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/

    • Hey man, when was the ACE Nutrition Course materials updated? I think it’s important that materials are updated regularly in order to avoid learning and giving false advice. Thanks!

  64. 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!

    • 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.

  65. 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..?

    • 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.

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

    • 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.

  67. 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.

    • 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.

  68. 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.

    • 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.

  69. 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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

  70. 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?

    • 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.

  71. 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?

    • 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.

  72. 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,

    • 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.

    • 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.

  73. 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?

    • 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.

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

    • 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.

  75. 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.

    • 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.

  76. 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.

    • 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/

  77. 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!

    • 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.

  78. 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?

    • 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.

  79. 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.

    • 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.

  80. 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!

    • 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.

  81. 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

    • 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.

  82. 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 ?

    • 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

    • 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.

  83. 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


  84. Hi,

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

    To some it may not matter
    Good to know though

    “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


  85. 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?

    • 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

    • 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.

  86. 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.

    • 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!

  87. 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.

  88. 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 😊

    • 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.

      • 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! 🙂

  89. 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?

    • 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!

  90. 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!

    • 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!

  91. 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?

    • 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!

  92. 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.

    • 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!

  93. 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?

    • 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.

  94. 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+.

    • 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

  95. 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!

    • 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!

  96. 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?

    • 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

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

    • 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

    • 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!

  98. 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 ?

    • 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.

  99. 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?

    • 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.

          • Hi Tyler,

            I replied on this post because it most closely mirrors what I think I want to accomplish. I am not a personal trainer but love talking to people about excercise and nutrition. I have a full time job but am exploring a lot of options and it looks like nutrition coaching might fit the best for me. NASM looks like a really good option. Have you heard of NAFC out of Oregon? If so what is your opinion? I am huge into holistic health and love cryotherapy (stay with me, I’ll get back on track). I love this therapy as a small solution to stimulate blood flow and to get people moving. I have this vision of starting really small with a few clients to start and then expand into a cryotherapy business offereing nutrition advice as a side or add on business to cryotherapy sessions. I’d like to hear your thoughts. Thank you in advance. Dan

          • Hey there Dan, I have actually never heard of them but I will definitely check them out as I’m always looking for more certifications and courses to review and recommend to my audience. If it is something you were interested in that’s the most important thing. I think that could be a really cool Niche to get yourself into.

  100. 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?