8 Best Nutrition Certifications for Fitness Professionals in [year] 6

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

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 training certification for your goals.

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


  • Best behavioral tools
  • Competitive price (when on sale)
  • Easy-to-use online interface
Check ACE 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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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 “nutritionist.” 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 courses?

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, there are three nutrition coach programs that 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 Certifications for Fitness Professionals in 2023”

  1. Hi
    Great Info

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

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

    PT Certification from ACE, then an certification NASM FNS ?

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

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

    Sorry for the long post
    Hope this makes sense

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

    A general cost vs value
    If possible 🙂

    I’m winded now

    Thank You!

    • Hey Troy,

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

      • Hi Tyler!

        I am first off wondering the point of you having ACE, NASM and CSCS cpt certs. I have ACE atm but it’s looked down on in the community I’m in so once my two years is over I may switch to ACSM/NASM/etc
        Secondly, how much does each place charge once the nutrition certification ends to be certified again ?

        Thanks so much

        • Hello Cynthia,
          I do not know why the American Council on exercise is left poorly upon. It is a highly recognized certification and is sometimes preferred by certain gymnasiums. After the two years, the majority of these organizations require a nominal recertification fee of approximately $100. Which nutrition certification are you going to go in at the end?

          • Hello!
            Which online courses from your list are also certified for EU standards? I live in Slovenia and our online courses are just disappointing and pricey… Thanks!

          • This is something you will definitely need to check with each of these certifying organizations about. This is a very specific question and changes from country to Country. Good luck with your nutrition coaching career.

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

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

    Thanks again

    • Hey Troy,

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

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

    • Hey Samrat,

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

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

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

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

    thanks again!

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

      • Hello Tyler,

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

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

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

        Thanks in advance for any incite on this.

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

          • Hi Tyler,

            I just wanted to thank for such a helpful blog. Very genuine information and you are very very helpful.

            Thanks & regards
            Jay Lagashu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Hi Tyler,
        I have a person on training certificate with ISSA and would like to get Nutrition certification.
        Do I have to go with Issa since I have my personal trainer certification ? I do need my CU credits and they said that geting The nutritionist certification would satisfy my see you And give me an elite status?
        Your input would be greatly appreciated thank you so much

        • Hey Rob,
          you definitely do not need to stick with the same organization. You can go outside of the international sports Sciences Association and go with the National Academy of sports medicine if you would like for your nutrition certification. Good luck with your nutrition coaching and personal training career.

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

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

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

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

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

      • Hi Tyler, reading your reviews on nutrition certification, I am not the fittest person, but active on my workouts, and haven’t gained much because of lack of nutrition Knowledge. As one main reason is this, secondly , i am looking at making a career in nutrition – but i have no CPT or medical studies background. Please share your suggestion on what best can I take up to fulfill my criteria. Thank you

        • If personal training is something that you would like to do a long side nutrition, I would check out the international sports Sciences Association as they offer a pretty good deal to get both at a reasonable price.

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

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

      • Hi I have Nasm pt cert.
        Was looking into health coach and nutrition. Would you recommend Nasm nutrition cert or combination of ace health coach and fitness nutrition?
        It seems NASM is preffered but do not offer health coach cert just a bundle including nutrition, PT and virtual training.

        • Hey Maria, I would definitely recommend the NASM Nutrition or Health Coaching cert for you. They do offer the certifications alone or in bundles.

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

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

      • Hi reading Ram s message and your reply, I am also from India and just the same question asked by Ram s, I was narrowing on NASM untill i get a reply from you, hopefully soon. Also if i find success with a nutrition certification , I would certainly like to take up CPT soon after. Please reply. Thank you

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

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

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

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

      • Hi you said you recommend transformation specialist as an added course with ISSA apart for CPT and nutrition, any reason why? Your explanation will help me decide. Thanks

        • The transformation specialist is a good certification that’s pretty new. A kind of goes over somebody building Concepts basically how to train for Aesthetics. If this is something that interests you, go for it.

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

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

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

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

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

        Hope you have time for another comment 😊
        Thank you 👍

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  17. Hey Kyle,

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

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

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

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

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

    • 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.

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

    • 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.

    • 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!

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks so much for a super helpful review!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks for any input you take the time to give!

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

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

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

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

    Thank you so much!
    Jaclyn 😊

    • 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! 🙂

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

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

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

    • 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!

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

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

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

  34. Hi,

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

    To some it may not matter
    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


  35. Hi,

    With NASM CNC

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

    From NASM or their website :

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

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

    Hope this helps


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • 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.

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

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

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

    • 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What would be your recommendation?

    • 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!

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

    • 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.

    • 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.

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you!

    • 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. 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.

  61. 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,