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My experience getting my nutritionist certifications

What’s inside: I compare my experience and credentials from two main schools, IIN and NTA as I have both certifications. I also mention my advanced level training as a Restorative Wellness Practitioner that I was able to apply for as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner.

my experience with getting my nutrition certifications (via Food by Mars) reviewing IIN and NTA

Becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

After I completed my Health Coach certification and started practicing (more on that below), I was able to hone in more on the types of clients I loved working with. I started to crave some deeper-rooted scientific knowledge and wanted to work with clients dealing with Autoimmune diseases, hormonal imbalances, and harness my health coach skills together with more scientific data-based training. I researched EVERY school out there, and realized what I really wanted was to be a Holistic Nutritionist. And to be Board Certified under NANP, it required me to attend a school that was approved. I kept finding myself really liking the NTA curriculum which is based on the Dr. Weston A. Price findings and traditionally prepared food, and a foundational root-cause type of approach. I was able to chat with a friend who attended the school and she gave glowing reviews so I was even more ready for it!

We learned about the foundations of health, how to test and address symptoms and were trained on protocols and supplements to help support the natural healing process. We had an onsite weekend which was highly valuable and it was a small class with a lot of attention from real professors. The exams (midterm and final) were very comprehensive and true proctored exams. There are required textbooks, projects, and assignments throughout the entire time, and I was devoting around 20hrs per week to school while working full-time and keeping up with the blog. It was challenging, but I loved it all so I was up for the challenge! For me, this education gave me an immense sense of confidence and structure to working with my clients. I’m able to speak to doctors and other practitioners on a more even playing field and educate my clients on their natural healing mechanisms to empower them.

One of the most amazing things about going the holistic route is you can really shape your own education and experience. It’s not as institutionalized, so you can do some soul-searching to determine what education you really want and how you want to work with people and tailor your learning to that. Sadly, some more of the traditional institutions and degrees are out of reach for so many and I didn’t find the curriculum to be something I agreed with or wanted to pay for. I am so grateful I found the NTA to give me the confidence and structure to practice and truly help others at a foundational, root-cause level.

Each year, NTA holds a conference with amazing speakers and there are also more events coming! If you’re curious if this could be right for you, I encourage you to attend a webinar to hear more about it! And as always, feel free to reach out to me if you have more questions. If you’d like to add me as a referral on your application, I’d be delighted!

One of the best things about the NTA is the amazing, tight-knit community, and the fact that I was able to help myself in my own healing journey on a deeper level through learning this curriculum. I no longer get overwhelmed by symptoms and have a strong system for prioritizing what area to begin with in order to heal at a deeper level and becoming an NTP has opened up new doors in the field for me.

learn more about NTA

Since the NTA, so many new doors have opened up for me and I’ve gone for additional training to add more to my practice (like gut testing), which wouldn’t have been possible without first becoming an NTP.

Bottom Line: NTA is the best online education to go DEEP into nutrition and come out feeling like an expert to be able to get your clients results in a structured, proven way. If you want to help others with issues like digestion, hormones, chronic illness, and more through food and lifestyle… you will have everything you need to get going. You’ll set clients up for the long-haul by passing on the knowledge you learn at the NTA. There are other schools out there, but none have the same type of curriculum, real live teacher support, and amazing community.

Becoming a Holistic Health Coach

My first plunge into my career change as a holistic nutrition professional, started with me unsure of exactly what I wanted to do… but I was hungry to learn more and help others. I found my way to The Institute of Integrative Nutrition which opened up the whole world for me and was very reasonable to complete as I worked full-time. As for the content itself, you’ll learn a wide spectrum of valuable information such as:

  • Diets – what they entail, what they’re good for, who might benefit from them, their origin/logic behind it, etc. You’ll be an expert on more diets than you ever knew about before. From veganism to paleo, to macrobiotics – there’s over 100 you’ll touch on.
  • Holistic Wellness – through something called “Primary Food”, you’ll learn much more than just nutrition and what diets could help someone. You’ll learn that there’s so much more to health and well-being like relationships, spirituality, career, exercise, etc. You’ll learn about practices for each and how to help clients (or just yourself and your family) with identifying weak spots of each of these crucial pieces and help them through targeting them little by little.
  • How to Run a Successful Health Coaching Business – by the time you’re nearly through with the curriculum, you’ll begin to learn the business tools on how to make money at this if you choose to. The world needs more health coaches, there are sick and unhealthy people everywhere and the more knowledgeable professionals there are to help, the better. There is no shortage of clients if you want to take them on. Working with Integrative Doctors, in Wellness Centers, or for yourself online are all major possibilities. And on the flip side, you could just walk away having had an amazing and transformative year to better your own health and the health of your loved ones. You’ll know how to help others make small but lasting changes. You’ll also have your 1-year Health Coach Certification. I’d also recommend reviewing the curriculum here.

Bottom Line: IIN has a huge online presence and community. They have expert speaker videos to help you learn a wide range of nutrition and wellness topics and it’s easy to follow and complete with minimal time/effort. It’s a great way to get your feet wet and become a health coach to help others make lifestyle changes to support their health. However, there is very little personal interaction or hands-on help and I found that if you want to be more specialized or go deeper in a topic, you will likely need to seek out more education.

Which do you choose?

What I usually say to those who ask… IIN goes wide, NTA goes deep. You have to decide what’s bests for your career/life goals as both could fit different needs!

Advanced Training

I later added to my certifications by becoming a Restorative Wellness Practitioner, enabling me to run certain labs like GI-Map stool testing and more for my clients which has added a whole new level to my coaching! You can learn more about their program here and will need to already be a certified nutrition professional (like a NTP or similar), as this is an advanced level training.



Restorative Wellness Practitioner, 2019 | Restorative Wellness

Registered Yoga Teacher, 2019 | Three Sisters Yoga in New York City (You can read more about my experiences with YTT here.)

Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, 2018  | Nutritional Therapy Association (Affiliated with NANP)

Holistic Health Coach, 2016 | Institute for Integrative Nutrition

-Alison Marras
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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1 comment

  1. Hi Alison, really appreciate your article. It reinforced my decision to attend NTA this May A friend of mine highly recommended it as well. I am curious how you got your business up and running and if you have any business resources to share. I found you through Growth Tools webinar you did around partnership marketing. Hope to hear from you. Thanks!

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