Despite the tidal wave of chronic ill-health these days, there is some good news to report. It turns out that ever-worsening health and more medication are not our inevitable fate, because in very many cases people experience improved wellness – and even return to good health – with the support and expertise of a professional Health Coach or Nutritional Therapist.
As the status and potential of these novel functional health professions grow, there is increasing focus on the quality of training programmes.
Which Nutrition Course Should I Choose?
If you’ve discovered a Health Coaching or Nutritional Therapy course that attracts you, make sure to check several things carefully before you commit, including: what the course covers, the hours of live training, and the status of the qualification you will earn!
To help you make the best choice of nutrition course for you, here are a few tips:
First – the qualification. Understanding exactly what terms like ‘accreditation’ and ‘award’ mean can be confusing. So the following should help you decide which college and study programme might be your best choice.
Ideally, both the college AND the course are accredited by an independent awarding body that is itself recognised by an official accrediting regulator, e.g. Ofqual in UK or QQI in Ireland.
The independent awarding body approves and monitors the curriculum and assessment standards, and routinely audits students’ work. Many colleges offer their own ‘homemade’ diplomas, but we find that most learners prefer an award overseen by a respected external accrediting body.
At IINH we work with two independent accrediting bodies:
- Pearson International – for our BTEC Diploma in Professional Nutrition & Health Coaching
- Crossfield’s Institute UK – for our Nutritional Therapy Diploma
What Level Award Does The Nutrition Course Offer?
The official level of the award is particularly important:
- If you decide to study further for a higher award, e.g. BSc or MSc.
- If you want to join a professional body that requires a certain award level
Award levels vary between countries. For example, a Level 6 award in Ireland is equivalent to Level 4 in England (for reference, UK A-levels are Level 3).
UK level 4/Ireland level 6, is a Higher Education award.
At IINH our two main qualifications have the following levels:
- BTEC Diploma in Professional Nutrition & Health Coaching – Level 4 UK/Level 6 Ireland
- Nutritional Therapy Diploma – Level 6 UK/Level 8 Ireland
Can I Join a Professional Body after my studies?
Health Coaching and Nutritional Therapy are not legally regulated, which is why professional bodies are vital. While some bodies offer little more than a ‘badge of respectability’, others are actively involved in raising standards, providing CPD courses and professional insurance, and advancing the profession in numerous ways, such as promotion, progression opportunities, networking, and educating the public about professional services and where to find a Coach or NT.
At IINH we work closely with two excellent, dynamic professional bodies:
- For Health Coaching: UK & International Health Coaching Association
- For Nutritional Therapy: Nutritional Therapists of Ireland
Is there a pathway to study for a Degree in Nutrition?
You might want to take your learning to a higher level still…
At IINH we have a long and productive relationship with one of the UK’s most prestigious nutrition colleges: The College of Nutrition Education and Lifestyle Management (CNELM)
Our Nutritional Therapy graduates may apply to CNELM to study for a Masters in Personalised Nutrition (even without a previous BSc), or for a BSc Hons in Nutritional Science. Both degrees are awarded by Middlesex University.