The Fitness Zone

What Qualifications Do You Need as a Nutritionist?

Jan 29, 2020 | by Jessica Bryant

Nutrition coaches consult clients about their diet and general health, helping them to achieve healthier lifestyles and aiding in their weight loss goals. Currently, in Australia, there is no strict control over the use of the label ‘nutritionist’, since professional nutritional practice is not regulated by the government.

Therefore, if you are a prospective student or recent graduate wishing to work in the field of nutrition and dietetics, it is important to get the right qualifications through a course that will allow you to apply for accreditation with professional bodies and be covered by insurance.

A career as a nutrition coach will allow you to use food as medicine to improve your client’s quality of life and overall wellbeing and is perfect for anyone with a passion for being healthy.

Qualifications needed to become a nutrition coach

Even though there are no strict laws in Australia over who can label themselves as a ‘nutritionist, undertaking a relevant course allows you to gain accreditation and recognition as a professional and qualified nutrition coach. If you are interested in working as a nutrition coach in a clinical setting or have a desire to become a dietitian, the minimum level of study required is a Bachelor’s Degree in nutrition or health science. Generally, these courses take three years to complete and will cover all aspects of the health & nutrition field, including:

  •   Nutrition
  •   Anatomy and physiology
  •   Biochemistry
  •   Pharmacology
  •   Clinical training and diagnosis
  •   Microbiology
  •   Communication and counselling

These courses will give you a well-rounded knowledge and basic grounding of the health & nutrition field, with options to go into more specialised training or areas of interest. This can include health & nutrition coaching, wellbeing coaching, or as a meal & menu planner. These areas of study are usually shorter than a typical Bachelor’s Degree and can equip students with the knowledge and experience to pursue these career paths or use as a prior study to gain access into university-equivalent studies.

Why become a nutrition coach?

Having a career as a nutrition coach can be incredibly rewarding, as you’re making a positive impact on people’s lives. Your work and consultation will have a direct impact on a client’s dieting success as well as help your clients overcome challenges and break old habits.

In the past 20 years or so, there has been a huge shift in food awareness and insight into how diet affects our physical and mental health. Because of this, there’s a real need for passionate and professional individuals who can educate others on the role good nutrition plays in our overall health and longevity.

As a nutrition coach, you will be able to help people achieve their weight loss goals, detect food intolerances and sensitivities, eliminate poor food choices, and create specialized programs to help clients become fitter and to eat healthier. In addition, you may even be called upon by professional athletes to help draw up a tailored nutrition and diet plan to coincide with their on or off-field performance.

Different areas of nutrition

A qualified nutrition coach consults with their clients on their eating behaviours and works with them to structure a diet and fitness plan specific to their needs. Additionally, nutrition coaches can also be employed in the following areas:

  • Clinical nutritionist: Clinical nutritionist look after the nutrition of patients in health care. They assist inpatients and outpatients in creating special diets to aid them on the road to recovery. They also evaluate a patient’s eating habits and help manage certain diseases and illnesses with a diet plan formulated to aid in their health.
  • Exercise nutritionist: An exercise or fitness nutrition coach structure diet plans for athletes who have strict dietary requirements. They aim to ensure the athlete gains optimum levels of health and vitality by getting the nutrition and macronutrients they need to perform at optimum levels.
  • Public health & community nutritionist: Public health nutritionists help to draw up programs and systems to educate the community on nutrition and public health principles.
  • Dietitian: Nutritionists can undergo further study in clinical nutrition and dietetics to become a dietitian. Dietitians are qualified to give medical advice and counsel patients on nutrition and the use of food to help manage disease or illness.

Become a qualified nutrition coach

Ready to kick off your journey as a professional nutrition coach? Sign up to our Nutrition Coach course. The Nutrition Coach course is online and has been designed to empower fitness professionals to be better equipped to provide current nutrition information to clients within their scope of practice.

Using the latest evidence-based principles, students will learn nutrition for optimal health at every age, for weight management, and for performance and muscle growth.

Jessica Bryant

Jessica Bryant

Jessica Bryant is the National Communications Manager at the Australian Institute of Fitness.


At the Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF), we are no stranger to the competitive and evolving nature of the fitness industry. That’s why we remain the #1 fitness educator since 1979. We continuously raise the bar by providing the best education and resources through dynamic and hybrid training methods that mould to your lifestyle. We are strong believers in evidence over fads, so you can be assured your training with AIF will solidify your career for the long-term.

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