There are three items to consider when looking for the best nutritionist courses: accreditation, faculty, and job placement opportunities. Nutritionist courses are available from universities, community, and career colleges. These courses can be classified into two groups: undergraduate and post-graduate. The undergraduate courses are designed for people who are currently registered in a nutritionist program at either the college or the university level. The post-graduate programs are designed for health services professionals, such as nurses, doctors, and nutritionists.
The best nutritionist courses are targeted to the appropriate audience and provide detailed information on the impact of nutrition on health. Undergraduate courses are not usually available to people who are not registered in a program. However, graduate courses are widely available and often meet the continuing educational requirements of many health services professionals. These courses are often quite detailed, providing information on the latest research developments in this field.
People who report the highest level of satisfaction with nutritionist courses have a clear career path in mind and are interested in nutritional science. Many nutritionists have related interests in biochemistry, pharmacology, and psychology. Although nutritionist courses typically focus on the food science aspect, an increasing number of courses address these related fields from a different perspective.
When looking for nutritionist courses, the first item to check is the accreditation status. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent third party, and the academic and administrative policies are reviewed. Courses from an accredited school can be transferred to other post-secondary institutions and are accepted by government agencies. Health services professionals taking nutritionist courses for continuing education requirements must ensure the school is accredited or the courses will not be accepted.
Review the qualifications of the faculty or course instructors. Most schools publish biographies of their faculty, listing their academic credentials, experience, publications, and areas of expertise. Take the time to review this information to obtain valuable background on their areas of expertise, expectations, and focus.
Job placement opportunities are critical. These opportunities are usually available in the second or third year. There is a lot of personal interaction and counseling involved in a nutritionist’s daily work. Many people find the job placement opportunities allow them to observe interaction between clients and nutritionist. This experience often shapes their own personal style.
To prepare for nutritionist courses, many people take courses in counseling skills. This may not be offered as part of the nutritionist program, but are often available through the medical school. Although many nutritionists do not work directly with clients, gaining these skills can only help keep different career options open.