Unfortunately nutrition is a complex subject, spanning from chemistry and biochemistry to psychology and economics, however the industry is very poorly regulated and anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. In fact along with that you can go online and basically buy degrees and organisational memberships.
Copy of a membership certificate bought for a pet hamster
Being a nutritionist for clients is fiendishly difficult. In fact what most people would think would be the really complex roles like sports nutrition and clinical support are often the easiest. It’s the everyday clients with other priorities and pressures that are difficult.
If you’re you’re a PT or coach, how do you choose the right qualification to pursue, and if you’re a potential client what do you look for when checking out a nutritionist’s background? A weekend cert is not enough.
A degree or similar from a decent Human Nutrition or Human Nutrition and Dietetics course might be OK. Postgraduate qualifications with an emphasis on both science and practice are even better. Remember that much of nutrition is about interviewing and counselling, but you also need to understand the basic principles of biochemistry, physiology and scientific method to avoid falling for every new fad or piece of marketing.
On a personal note, I obtained a BSc in Biochem and a Masters in Nutrition, however I had a steep learning curve on the clinical coaching side when I started working.
Non-degree certifications are very common but only a few are any good. Look for courses like the Precision Nutrition, ISSN Diploma or MNU Certification or even courses by the ACSM or NSCA These last two are PT or S& Coaching courses but have small and well designed nutrition elements – and an emphasis on not overstepping your area of expertise, very important!
Cheers to @martinnutrition for the T.