Many people looking for new remote career opportunities want something a little more challenging than customer service or transcription. Perhaps you long for work that feels more rewarding than simply meeting a deadline or sales metric.
Some creative workers are finding success in making money online in the online nutrition coaching business. If health, fitness and overall wellness are your passion, this may be a great career path for you. And all of the training can be done from the comfort of your own home.
What an Online Nutrition Coach Does
It’s important to know that a nutrition coach is very different than a Registered Dietitian or even a Certified Nutritionist. Those titles require much more training as well as a degree and certification.
Local laws largely dictate much of what a nutrition coach is allowed to do. In most places, however, a nutrition coach can only “make suggestions” about what a client could eat to support their overall health goals. A nutrition coach cannot make a diagnosis, prescribe anything — even a meal plan — or treat a client with nutritional therapy.
A good way to think about health coaching in any aspect is educating clients and then helping them create habits to achieve their goals. A credible nutrition coach may:
- Explain the pros and cons of different diets
- Teach portion size
- Teach how to read a nutrition label
- Uncover dieting myths
- Discuss healthy cooking options
- Point a client to trusted resources and tools to help achieve their goals
Health coaching is kind of like tutoring. You can ask a client the right questions to help them come up with the right answers, but you can’t take the test or do the homework for them.
Average Salary of a Nutrition Consultant
Requirements to Become a Certified Nutrition Coach
There are no formal training requirements to call yourself a nutrition coach. That being said, it’s imperative that you know what you are doing when advising someone else about their habits and health. Most nutrition coaches have obtained a degree in some other type of health-related field and are looking to add in nutrition consulting into their practice. Examples would include a massage therapist, personal trainer, Registered Dietitian, nurse and more. That being said, a primary health-related degree isn’t an absolute must. Even if you are simply a health and fitness aficionado, you may be able to make a career of online nutrition counseling.
You have quite a few options to become a nutrition coach online. Most online courses take a minimum of six months to complete and may cost under $1,000.
Choosing the Right Nutrition Coach Certification
Do your research. As with anything online, there will be programs that will cost you a lot of money and leave you with little in return. Make sure the program has expert teachers and offers in-depth training that covers nutrition science, biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, and other related topics. They should also thoroughly advise you of the Code of Ethics and common nutrition coach mistakes.
Many training institutes are accredited, or at least recognized, by a legitimate professional organization. Many programs will also qualify for continuing education credits. These things can help show that a training program is respected and recognized in the field. Whatever program you choose should also allow you to become a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner or Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach through the NBHWC upon completion.
Because there isn’t an official “one size fits all” degree for becoming a nutrition coach, it’s important to weigh your future goals and where you want to focus your practice when choosing a training program. If you are looking to start your own wellness business, you should ensure the program teaches you some business-related skills as well.
Jobs You Can Get as an Online Nutrition Coach
In addition to finding a health coach job in a traditional space such as a gym, yoga studio or hospital, there are remote health coach jobs out there as well. Weight Watchers, for example, is frequently looking for virtual wellness coaches. Calibrate is another wellness and weight loss company with frequent openings for remote coaches.
While the two above mentioned jobs don’t require nutrition coach training, they do require coaching experience and a passion for wellness and weight loss. Many nutrition coaches, however, are truly looking to start their own wellness business where they can focus on their passion and ideal clients.
To start your own nutrition coach business, you should consider the following:
- What is your specialty?
- Who is your ideal client?
- What are the local legal requirements for nutrition coaching?
- How will you market your business?
These are things all new business owners need to think about, but the legal aspects of this industry are especially important. You are dealing with someone’s health, after all. Make sure your I’s are dotted and your T’s are crossed.
Is Lifestyle Coaching the Right Career Path for You?
Perhaps the most important question to ask when deciding if nutrition coaching is right for you is, “Do you truly enjoy helping people?” Nutrition consulting isn’t just learning about food, after all, you are very much going to have to rely on psychology and human behavior in order for your clients to achieve their goals. You have to be able to make that personal connection as opposed to just telling them what to do. That can be frustrating for some people and truly rewarding to others.
- Related: How to become a nutrition assistant