Why Nutrition Professionals need to earn CPD

Why Nutrition Professionals need to earn CPD

16 Jul 2021

The Health Sciences Academy

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This informal CPD article Why Nutrition Professionals need to earn CPD was provided by The Health Sciences Academy, the world’s largest, 100% science-based, online educational institution.

Who are nutrition professionals and why do they need CPD hours?

Science is constantly evolving and sometimes, training and knowledge can become obsolete or outdated. This is why health, wellness, nutrition and medical professionals in the UK and many parts of the world are mandated to undergo regular training to ensure that their knowledge remains updated with the most recent developments and the latest science in their fields. This regular training is called Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

To succeed as a nutrition professional, you need CPD hours to ensure you stay updated with the latest knowledge updates so you can deliver the best service to your clients and meet up with industry requirements.

Are you interested in becoming a nutrition professional and need guidance on your next steps, or are you an existing nutrition professional and need guidance on how to expand your nutrition practice and ways to earn CPD hours? Well, worry no more.

We’ll start at the beginning, and this involves understanding what it takes to become a nutrition professional, why nutrition professionals need CPD hours and the many career opportunities waiting for you to maximise!

In this article, we will help you understand:

  • Who is considered a nutrition professional
  • How to acquire the knowledge and expertise to grow and excel as a nutrition professional
  • Ways to earn CPD hours as a nutrition professional
  • Your next steps to take to get started as a nutrition professional or to expand your nutrition practice 

Let’s begin, shall we?

Now, who is a nutrition professional?

UCL Doctoral Researcher and Chief Science Educator at the Health Sciences Academy, Alex Ruani, describes a nutrition professional as one who would focus on helping clients achieve desired health outcomes in a very targeted way, mainly through dietary changes and eating practices.

According to Alex Ruani, “a nutrition professional usually acts in an advisory capacity, listens to their clients, takes inventory of information, and then makes actionable, personalised recommendations to help improve their clients’ lives”.

So, when thinking about seeking the services of a nutrition professional, you think:

What’s the most personalised way for me to get closer to my desired health outcome?” This health outcome could be fertility, weight loss, sports, sleep management, stress management, gut health, detox, child and brain nutrition, dietary supplements, food allergies and tolerances, nutritional therapy and even nutrition for longevity and cancer risk. And there are more specialisations identified each time.

That’s where a nutrition professional’s expertise comes into play. You can specialise in helping clients achieve any of these health outcomes.

For example, if you have clients that want to:

  • Sleep better - you could acquire the expertise to become a Sleep Management Practitioner
  • Increase fertility odds - you could complete a certification that allows you to become a Nutrition Fertility Practitioner so you can help them improve their fertility odds
  • Enhance sports performance, endurance, power, strength, or gain muscle - you could help them by becoming a Sports and Exercise Nutrition Specialist
  • Support their children’s learning progress or speech - you can help them when you become a Child and Brain Development Nutrition Practitioner
  • Improve their gut health - you can help them by becoming a Gut Health Practitioner. You would be able to help clients suffering from digestive issues using practical nutritional advice
  • Lessen symptoms and pain by mitigating nutrient deficiencies - you can become a Nutritional Therapist so you can acquire the expertise to help them
  • Reduce stress levels for better mental health - you could help them when you acquire the knowledge to become a Stress Management Practitioner
  • Overcome overeating and food addiction - you can acquire the expertise to become a Clinical Weight Loss Practitioner
  • Support their body’s detoxification systems - you can help them when you become a Detox Specialist
  • Manage food intolerances - you can help them when you become a Food Allergies and Intolerances Nutritional Advisor

You must bear in mind that these health outcomes are specific to each client, or even one client may desire numerous health outcomes, so to truly help your client, you would ideally want to personalise your recommendations. And for a nutrition professional, personalisation is the key to achieving lasting and effective outcomes.

This process of personalisation requires helping your clients make a number of dietary and lifestyle modifications so that their health and wellbeing could be significantly improved. For this to happen, you will need to discover how to personalise client diets.

Is the nutrition professional path for you? Then you are ready to proceed on your learning journey towards acquiring the expertise to excel in this field.

CPD for Nutrition Professionals

How to acquire the knowledge and expertise needed to excel as a nutrition professional

Information on nutrition, health and wellness have become so commercialised and can basically be found almost anywhere. Even on social media, influencers who have been paid to endorse products are making outrageous claims just to boost sales, ignoring the fact that these products may not even be suitable for all.

Also online, simply searching for the phrase “nutrition professional” will yield millions of results that could send your head spinning.

How do you cut through all the fluff so you can choose the right nutrition program that will teach you how to assess the behaviours, dietary needs (within reason), baseline fitness, weight goals, and so much more of your potential clients?

There’s so much misinformation being circulated as fact, and you can help combat some of this. “How?” You ask - by focusing on CPD accredited certifications and evidence-based, practical programs.

An education from a credible institution gives you:

  • The ability to share scientifically backed information with clients: Especially when you are learning from scientists themselves. Getting a certification in nutrition from a credible program and institution means that you’re learning scientifically backed information being taught by qualified individuals.
  • Credibility: This way, when someone tries to push these diets or trends, you’ll have the credibility and real knowledge to help your clients make the right decisions.
  • Helps you steer clear of liability: It is imperative that you understand that nutrition professionals are not qualified to diagnose or treat any medical condition. It is essential to understand what you are legally allowed to do as a nutrition professional, to understand your boundaries. Unless you have an accredited degree (different than a certification) in nutrition or a related field (such as a doctor in medicine), with a license to practice, you are NOT qualified to diagnose or treat any medical condition. This is a serious offence. So, when you are equipped with the right education that teaches you the legalities of the nutrition profession, you steer clear of liability.

Ways to get started as a nutrition professional, expand your nutrition practice or earn CPD hours

CPD is essential if you are a nutrition professional. Besides being an industry requirement, it ensures your professional and personal growth. This increases your value in the industry as you are equipped with the latest science, expand your knowledge base and you remain competitive in your field.

Also, clients are increasingly expecting a one-stop-shop service when they seek the services of professionals. Take a personal trainer who is helping someone lose weight. A client has an expectation that the personal trainer can help with their nutrition too, and be their advisor for all sorts of health and nutrition matters. But personal trainers do not have this training originally. That's why CPD is so powerful because it allows these personal trainers expand their expertise and gain more skills so they can meet the different needs of their clients and this way, they stay relevant. One way to continue to expand your knowledge base is by undertaking continuing education courses and certifications backed by the latest industry knowledge.

Now, where can you go to acquire nutrition education that is based on latest evidence-based science and that provides you with certifications that are CPD accredited?

There are various credible institutions and programs out there that offer opportunities for earning CPD hours. Nutrition certifications can run into hundreds or thousands of dollars, so it is important you find out if your choice of education institution is offering a scholarship opportunity that can help lessen the financial burden. You can take advantage of The Health Sciences Academy’s training programs to launch your nutrition career or expand your existing health or nutrition business.

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from The Health Sciences Academy, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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The Health Sciences Academy

The Health Sciences Academy

For more information from The Health Sciences Academy, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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