Barret B.’s Avatar

Barret B.





Wondering whether or not to get certified.

I'm currently getting a master's in counseling. During my time getting my master's, health has become more important to me and has allowed me to lose a good deal of weight. I still wish to participate in my master's program, but I would also like to get certified in nutrition. I want to be able to make a niche for myself in the counseling world. Do you think this would be a good idea? #nutrition #masters #counseling #niche

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4 answers

Any education, certification, training, and the like is going to benefit your career and life goals. The challenge is to weigh the "risk vs reward" and what this certification means to you. If it is something that you feel will continue your journey to good health while also giving you a vehicle to make money in a professional role then it may be worthwhile in pursuing. The key is researching the actual career and perhaps volunteering at a gym, asking to job shadow a current fitness/health trainer, or interviewing a fitness professional. You want to be fully informed as to the actual job since the new found health interests may not necessarily correlate to liking the training aspect. Chances are, if you are in pursuit of the counseling field, working in a field that helps people achieve their fitness goals may be a good fit. Once you do the position research it will be time to research the best certificate programs and what fits your budget. Also, make sure you can get certified and continue your masters degree, both time wise and economically wise, so that you don't get overburdened or burnt out. My expose to both industries suggests that you can likely pursue both schooling and a certification, as they both offer flexible scheduling in today's environment. Lastly, and depending on your career goals and networks within both fields, you will likely supplement your role in the counseling field with your health/fitness certification, at least at the outset. My advise to anyone that is pursuing any career/employment interest is to network as much as possible and be involved in as many activities as possible that are directly related to your career interests.

This professional recommends the following next steps:

  • Job Shadow or Interview professionals in the field.
  • Research program costs and time commitment. Hybrid programs (online and in person) are the most effective for balancing multiple tasks but minimizing the personal experience needed for both professions.
  • Decide on time management and cost implications involved in pursuing multiple endeavors. Look for payment plans and potentially committing to work for a particular organization in turn for free certification/sponsorship.
  • Create a manageable schedule that will not limit your commitment to both pursuits. Last thing you want to do is pay for a certificate program, typically non-refundable, and not be able to make commitment due to other commitments.
  • GET OUT IN THE FIELD AND WORK, VOLUNTEER, OR INTERN. This goes for any new graduate or person seeking new career. Starting out as a trainer at a franchise gym (Planet Fitness, Gold's, etc) may not pay much at the outset but it is a great resume builder and way to network.
Last updated Aug 27 at 11:01 PM

I'm not sure what kind of nutrition certification you are talking about, but specializing in counseling is a great idea. I know of a counseling student who double-majored in nutrition and psychology in undergrad before getting her Masters in counseling because she wanted to specialize in eating disorders. I also know that there is an entire field of "health counselors" where they use counseling techniques such as Motivational Interviewing to help people lose weight.

I definitely second Joseph Young's answer as well--be careful of overburdening yourself with schooling. Making a niche does not always require being enrolled in a whole other program. Find a professional doing what you want to do and ask them how they got there before you make any commitments. In some cases, you just need the experience rather than any official certifications, and you can get that through internships, volunteering, or other means.

Last updated Oct 12 at 01:28 PM

Yes this is a great career path for you to follow. You can do so much with obtaining your masters degree in counseling and getting certified in nutrition. In order to get in the right state of mind with wanting to get healthy a lot of people need counseling to work through the emotional and mental aspect of things that have held them back.

Last updated Sep 16 at 04:50 AM


Last updated Oct 12 at 12:37 PM
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