Which type of nutrition credentials is Best?

Cert VS Degree: Which nutrition credential is Best?

To maintain health and wellness, quality nutrition and consistency are the essentials. It is challenging for people to maintain their purposeful eating by maintaining a good balance of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fat, protein, and water. A health specialist or a nutrition coach should be trained and have enough education to teach his clients a plan to develop effective eating habits and the main elements in nutrition. Specialists are famous as a certified nutritionist, dietician, or licensed nutrition.

You can expand your knowledge by adapting the pathway, find the best credential for expanding your knowledge and services for your client. There are many different options available that I have discussed below

The outlook for nutrition

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, there is an approximately 11% increase in nutrition jobs. And the average amount that dietetics and nutrition workers are making is approximately $60,000 per year. And approximately the top 10% of people in this field make more than $80,000. There is a continuously growing need for certified nutrition specialists to help clients of all ages lead a healthy life. 

Certification, Degree, or License? What is the main difference between them?

There are many different ways to gain knowledge of nutrition, absorption, digestion, and nutritional therapies. Besides food education, it is essential to learn specific skills for nutrition programming and counselling clients. During training, a personal trainer goes from a fitness coach to a health coach for success. 

In the options, certification is the shortest programs as compared to the degree that is the longest and costs the most money. Different degrees include the Bachelor’sBachelor’s degree, masters degree, associate degree, or maybe different online programs available. 

After higher education, the option of the license is also available. Let’sLet’s explore the difference between them and their major benefits and drawbacks that you must know. 

Certifications In Nutrition

To become a nutrition specialist and a nutrition coach, there are several recognized options for proper certification, and they take about 8-24 weeks in completion. These programs mostly involve a physical book you get by mail, besides some online resources, practice exams, and videos. These certification programs are mostly online, and the certificate you once earned will never expire. 

The prize of these coaching programs covering essential nutrition, community health, and coaching clients ranges from $499 to $999. By selecting the correct program, one person can even become a holistic nutritionist.

Certified nutrition professionals can advise and direct clients with meal planning, food choices, and tools for their nutritional success, nevertheless of their health and fitness goals. 


  • Lower cost of completion
  • Short program
  • Can gain general knowledge about nutrition


  • For specific employment opportunities, you may require more
  • It is not in detail when you compare it with licensure or a degree.

Degrees In Nutrition

Associate degree

It is a 2-year program in which you can complete your prerequisite and course work of basic college with 10-20 of 60 credits course work in the subject of your choice. Besides, a concluding exam is not essential. 

Cost : $10,000 – $25,000

Bachelor’s degree

It is a four-year program that requires the student to complete 120 credits that include the 30-45 credits of prerequisite basic course work and besides, 30-45 credits are worth dietetics, nutrition, or a nutrition counselling course. If the degree is completed through an accredited program, you may meet the requirements to sit for a registered dietician exam. Besides, there is no concluding exam for completing a bachelor’s degree. 

Cost: $20,000-$75,000

Master’s Degree

Master’s degree is an additional 2-4 years of study after the Bachelors in the nutritional field, and it may require the 40-60 credits of coursework and practice in nutrition. The Master’s degree program is most accredited after completing the thesis in the specific field before graduation. A master’s degree is currently not essential for sitting in the Registered Dietician exam at this time, but after January 24, a master’s degree will be a must. 

Cost: $30,000-$50,000

Doctoral Degree

The doctoral degree is a more specific and detailed nutrition study that requires another 4 to 6 years. If you compared doctoral degrees with other degrees, the time and cost both are too high. According to BLS, the average income of the professionals with this degree is almost the same as the professionals without it. 

But it is also a fact that the big opportunity for higher-paying nutrition positions is for a post-doctoral person. 

Cost: $20,000- $40,000

Pros and Cons


  • Opportunities for high paying positions
  • Detailed education
  • Acceptance for an employment position


  • It is a longer program of 4 to 6 years.
  • Its cost is very high, especially in the case of online and distance programs.
  • Presentation of research thesis in the Master’sMaster’s degree

If a student has a laptop and an internet connection, then online education is the most accessible form of learning and education. As I mentioned above, when we compare online programs with campus-based programs, online ones are generally more expensive. About 213 programs are approved campus programs by which passing students are eligible to sit for the exam of a registered dietician. Though there are only colleges approved for online Learning (Bachelor’s degree).

At present, there are no Online master’s programs available and are about eight approved master’s campus-based programs. There will be more programs on the list in the coming years due to the changes in requirements.


To get a license, you must have a bachelor’s or higher degree while in some states, you must have 900 hours of supervised experience with a focus of specific nutrition. When a student meets all these experimental and educational requirements, he can sit in the licensure exam. You have to renew this licence by continuing your education credits after every 2 to 3 years.

License professionals have in-depth nutrition counselling knowledge and therapy in a clinical environment. 


  • After it, students have the opportunity to go for post-degree experimental training
  • Get a specific and detailed education


  • To complete all requirements, it can take 4 to 5 years
  • Maybe there is no need for licensure 

Certified Clinical Nutritionist

The certified clinical nutritionist is the most well-known program. Licensed nutritionists have to complete an acknowledged degree like a licensed dietician. Before taking the certified clinical nutrition exam, it is essential to complete the post-collegiate course series of 56-hours. They come with in-depth knowledge of detoxing, naturopathy, and homoeopathy. These therapies are generally not prospected in a registered dietitian credential or certification and degree. 

It is essential to submit the continuing education units followed by an exam for recertification every five years. 

Choosing the best option

Many students go with a degree of registered dietitians credentials to build a good resume and get hands-on experience. By this way, they can begin working with their clients while they are continuing their education. It is the best way to get experience and make your resume stronger.