Q&A Session: Becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

Hey friends! Today, I want to do something a little bit different and answer some common questions i receive about my career. I get contacted all the time from my readers about becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP, for short) and what that means exactly. There is a growing number of NTPs and NTCs (Nutritional Therapy Consultants) out there, which is amazing, and we are all doing our part to grow and expand the real food movement.

If you have any interest in becoming an NTP or NTC yourself, and you are curious about what it means and what you can do with the certification, I hope this post will help you!

Becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

What is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)?

A Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) is someone certified by the Nutritional Therapy Association (NTA), by going through the 9-month online course (with in-person workshops) and passing the exams. The course teaches real food nutrition and our body’s physiological responses to various nutrients, while covering how the body functions, both anatomically and physiologically. The NTP curriculum teaches students a foundational approach to functional, holistic nutrition.

The NTA focuses on bio-individuality, the concept that there is no one diet that works for everyone. We all have unique nutritional needs, depending on our genes, gut microbiome, our activity level, health history, stress, sleep, metabolism, blood type and the list goes on.

By the end of the program, I felt that I had enough knowledge on how to support the body so it can heal and balance itself, by focusing on the core foundations of health that the NTA teaches.

What is a Nutritional Therapy Consultant (NTC)?

An NTC goes through the same training that an NTP goes through, but without the hands-on Functional Evaluation (FE) and physical tests included in the NTP course. Because of this, the NTC program costs less and there are also reduced course materials. Also, there is only 1 in-person workshop for NTCs, while there are 3 for NTPs.

While I don’t use Functional Evaluation in my practice, I’m so glad I’m familiar with it, because I ended up gaining so much knowledge about how our body works and the tests are really fun and fascinating to learn about. They are an incredibly powerful tool that can tell you so much about your client’s health and nutrient deficiencies.

Have you gone through any other programs and how were they different?

I went through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), based in New York. This is a popular school and you may have heard of it if you have ever have looked into getting a nutrition certification. While it provided a good base for nutritional knowledge, I didn’t gain an in-depth learning about how food impacts our body and its physiological responses. Instead, the IIN teaching mostly focused on the different diets out there, the importance of bio-individual nutrition, and how to start your own business.

While those are important to learn about, I did not feel ready or confident enough afterwards to start working with clients. To be completely honest, I felt that the program was a bit overpriced for the quality of material.

I also considered the Bauman College, because I heard great things about about their program. However, I decided to go with the NTP program because the price was more reasonable for me, and I liked that they required in-person workshops so I can meet my classmates.

How is the NTA course material set up? 

Most of the course is online. Each week, you go through a module of various topics, which consists of reading materials, videos, audio files, and short and long essay questions you answer through the student portal. You also have group calls with your instructor and classmates each week where you can ask questions and talk about that week’s module. These calls were super helpful for me in clearing up any confusion I had that week about what I learned.

For NTPs, there are 3 in-person workshops that are mandatory. When you first register, you pick the location for the workshop that’s the closest to you. Mine was in Sacramento when I lived in the Bay Area. These weekend-long workshops are when you really learn how to do the Functional Evaluations and learn the course materials in-depth. The midterm and the final exams are also held during these workshops.

There is only 1 in-person workshop for NTCs, where you learn the client consultation process and review the course materials.

How many hours of school work can I expect?

It really depends on the module, but I think I spent about 10-15 hours depending on the workload. I worked full-time for most of the program, and many of my classmates did as well. So it’s definitely do-able to go through the program while working full-time.

What are the in-person workshops like?

For me, the workshops were really intense but so wonderful because that’s when you learn SO MUCH from the instructors and the group leaders. They provide all the amazing nuggets on how to practically apply everything you learned when working with a client, along with their in-depth knowledge of the the course materials.

It’s also really amazing getting to meet your classmates during the workshops. Even though you only meet for 3 weekends, you get to form strong friendships that continue even after you graduate. Most of the time, the people there have decided to become students after having some personal experience of healing their body with the power of real food. This connection alone is incredibly powerful because you can relate to each other and share a similar view when it comes to nutrition. I still keep in touch with my former classmates today, and I turn to them first when I need help with my practice and business.

Do you receive continuous support from Nutritional Therapy Association after graduating? 

Absolutely! There is a very active group for NTA graduates where you can ask questions when you need help with clients, supplements, and/or nutritional protocols, and you’ll be flooded with helpful tips and wisdom every time.

In addition, the NTA requires you to turn in 24 continuing education units (CEUs) every 2 years to hold your certification, to make sure that you are continuously educating yourself and growing as a practitioner. You can learn more about CEUs here.

Were you trained on how to start your own business during the course?

One of the last modules of the program was dedicated to learning all about starting your own business as a Nutritional Therapist, which was extremely helpful. The in-person workshops were also a place where we had a chance to ask questions to our instructors and group leaders about how they started their business, and I learned from them the most.

Did you feel confident taking on clients after you were certified?

Yes! The NTA really focuses on the step-by-step process of how to work with a client, from the initial consultation to nutritional recommendations. You also get to practice the entire process with your classmates, as well as your friends or family, so by the time you graduate, you are familiar and comfortable talking to clients and working with them.

Can I start seeing clients right after becoming a certified NTP or NTC?

It depends on where you live and your state laws. Most states allow NTPs and NTCs to practice, but some states require additional certifications if you want to provide nutrition counseling. I suggest you research your state to check to see if you have any limitations with opening up your own practice.

What can you do with the knowledge after you graduate?

The possibilities are endless! You don’t always have to do one-on-one nutrition consultations. Graduated NTPs and NTCs have SO MANY different jobs that I’m always in awe of their accomplishments.

There are many alumni who became students just to be more knowledgable about health and nutrition, and to learn how to feed their family in the best way. Others, like me, are bloggers who educate through healthy recipes and nutrition articles.

The RESTART program is a sugar detox program that another NTP created, and NTPs and NTCs can become instructors and start teaching small group classes. I’m actually one of the instructors and it has helped tremendously in getting my name out there and growing my practice.

Some have gone to create health food products, supplements, and essential oils. Others have written books and created online courses. Many actually created programs and courses FOR other NTPs and NTCs to help them grown their businesses.

There are so many paths you can take once you graduate, and it opens you up for further certifications, workshops, and even board positions.

I hope this was helpful! If you haven any additional questions, please feel free to contact me. I’m always excited to talk about how I currently have a job that I absolutely love and am so passionate about.

If you want to learn more about the program and are interested in becoming an NTP or NTC yourself, CLICK HERE.

Becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

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