Not a nutritional therapy practitioner or someone interested in becoming one? This blog post is likely not relevant for you. We have a large practitioner and practitioner-to-be base in our audience, and we thought this news was worth sharing some thoughts on.
This week, The Nutritional Therapy Association (the school where both Angie and Mickey obtained their certifications) announced they are making a big change to their program offering, and we wanted to make a public statement and explanation of why we think this is an excellent move by the organization and strengthens the work we are able to do.
How is the NTA program changing?
In a nutshell, The Nutritional Therapy Association is removing what is known as the “functional evaluation” from the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner program, offering the program fully online, and combining it with the Nutritional Therapy Consultant program (both programs offered the same nutrition, coaching, and business training curriculum). Going forward, they will only offer a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner certification, and all prior NTPs or NTCs will be absorbed into this new certification. The “functional evaluation” will become a standalone advanced training (called Functional Assessment Specialist) for those who want to incorporate this skill into their practice, and those who became NTPs before these changes will be able to market themselves with an advanced designation (more details to come) as they received this training in their programs. In addition to the Functional Evaluation and Career Development Course, there will also be other in-depth training opportunities on specialized topics that will further enhance the core NTP credential.
Why is the NTA making this change?
The Nutritional Therapy Association is responding to a changing health and wellness landscape and like all educational programs in any field, over time they must adapt and refine their offerings. Since completing our trainings within the last seven years, the structure and curriculum of the program has shifted and improved dramatically.
When the NTA began their mission as a vocational nutrition school in 1997, the internet as we currently know it was still in its infancy. It made sense in that environment for the certifications offered by the NTA to be focused on in-person, community based work with clients. Graduates started careers that were based in offices or they worked with clients in their own homes. In 2019, the online landscape allows for completely virtual practices with practitioners able to serve clients all over the globe, not limited by space or time. There are also many NTA graduates utilizing their certifications in increasingly diverse ways, for instance writing books, speaking nationally and internationally, making films, conducting research, starting food production companies, etc. From this perspective a more streamlined certification allows the NTA to best serve the aspirations of their students.
Consolidating the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Consultant programs into one helps the Nutritional Therapy Association focus on defining and promoting a clear career path available to us as practitioners. One of their goals is leadership in a movement that is radically shifting nutrition paradigms, and focusing on one certification offers strength and differentiation. In an industry that is becoming increasingly saturated by various programs, many of which do not deliver science-based education, the Nutritional Therapy Association is set up to advocate for us as key players in bridging the healthcare gap and fundamentally altering our broken system.
There is an additional and crucial reason for the NTA to take this step, accessibility. Just like practitioners are now able to leverage the internet in order to serve clients across the world, the training we receive can now be offered to those interested in serving, regardless of their location or ability to travel for in-person workshops. With a global disease epidemic (which can largely be addressed through the very things Nutritional Therapy Practitioners specialize in), training as many people as possible is core to the NTA’s mission. Training that is location dependent or limited to only those able to travel simply will not result in enough trained practitioners harnessing the power real food to address these needs.
Our experience as NTPs and NTCs
Mickey graduated as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner in 2013, while Angie graduated as a Nutritional Therapy Consultant in 2016. At the time, Mickey’s NTP program consisted of nine in-person workshop weekends that were spent mostly on the functional evaluation, a skill she is appreciative of but has never used in her virtual consulting practice or work writing books and speaking at events. At the time she went through the program, she was still navigating her own health crisis, and the long hours and venue of the workshop weekends made it a struggle to complete the course, even though she lived near the Seattle venue. Even though Angie took the NTC program, she was required to attend one 3-day in-person workshop, which she had to travel out-of-state for since there were no programs offered at that time in the DC area where she lives.
Even though each of us took different programs, the way we’ve used our trainings and certifications is essentially the same. Both the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Consultant programs were based on the exact same core nutrition, coaching, and business foundation, with the only difference being the functional evaluation. We’ve used this education as a foundation to build a business together educating the public here at Autoimmune Wellness, writing four books between the two of us, creating various online programs (like SAD to AIP in SIX, The Living Well Collective, AIP Batch Cook and AIP Certified Coach), not to mention our 1:1 virtual consulting practices and medical research efforts. If either of us was considering taking the program again today, we’re confident that the current offering and support from the Nutritional Therapy Association’s Nutritional Therapy Practitioner program would allow us to accomplish this very same work.
Ultimately, the work you do is not about the letters appearing after your name, but about the good work you can do and the difference you can make in the world. We believe the changes to the certification do not impact the energy we bring to doing good work and making a difference.
Considering starting your holistic nutrition education with the NTA and wondering how their program compares with others out there?
Check out our informative post The Nutritional Therapy Association vs. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since Angie has the unique experience of taking courses from both organizations, we were able to lay out some key details and differences in that post in addition to some general information about this career field.
Like we’ve made reference to in this post, we are incredibly grateful for the education we’ve received from the NTA and recommend them based on our great experience. In an effort to be fully transparent, you should know that if you decide to sign up for their program and mention us as referrers, we get a referral fee. You can find more information about the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Training Program by visiting the program page and sign up for the next class by visiting the registration page.