Becoming a Sports Nutritionist

The question, "how to become a sports nutritionist" can be answered as a series of steps. These steps are education, internships and networking, and certification. Depending on where you wish to work, the specifics of these steps may vary.

Be a Sports Nutritionist in Just a Few Steps

The first thing you need in order to become a sports nutritionist is education. What degree of education you need to attain will depend on what kind of employment you are looking for. Sports nutritionist programs range from certificate/diploma programs to undergraduate to graduate degrees. The dietetic practice group Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition's website, explains that sports nutritionist jobs can be found at, "universities, sports organizations, food corporations, fitness clubs, corporate wellness, cardiac rehabilitation, and with physicians in bariatric surgery or family practice." So, if you were planning on working in cardiac rehabilitation, it is likely that they will want you to complete a graduate degree. However, if your goal is to work with a small fitness club, a certificate may suffice.

To become a sports nutritionist, while you are completing school, it would be a wise decision to look into internship opportunities. If you could get an internship shadowing a professional, than that would be a great line on your resume. Even if you held a small job at a fitness club or a food corporation, than your dedication to the field would be obvious and that could also help to boost your potential job attainment. Plus, in these kinds of small positions, you may be able to make some connections that would lead to a sports nutritionist job when you graduate. Even volunteering is a good idea. For instance, if you would like to work at a sports organization, it might be a good idea to volunteer at a community program so that you can gather some hands-on experience.

Lastly, there are a number of certifications you can attain to boost your credentials. The International Society of Sports Nutrition ( offers a certification exam that allows you to become a Certified Sports Nutritionist from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (or a CISSN). To take the exam you need a bachelor's degree, and once you pass the exam they require you to take continuing education credits, which ensure them that you will always be well informed about new innovations in the sports nutrition field. Other people prefer to become a Registered Dietitian (or an RD). To take this exam, you not only need a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, but you also need to complete a supervised practice program. Then you may take the test. They also require you to complete continuing education credits. Before you jump right into these certifications, check and make sure your prospective employer requires or prefers them because not all do.

So, as you can see, the question "How to become a sports nutritionist," is not met with only one right answer. First, you have to decide what kind of establishment you would like to work at and once you figure that out, you will have a much better idea of the kind of schooling, experience, and certifications you will be required to meet in order to reach your goal.