Don’t forget: you can get $500 off your NTA enrollment for September 2022 with code liz500.
As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP™) certified by the Nutritional Therapy Association, I’m thrilled to have the chance to help future nutrition professionals. Let’s spread the word about Real Food far and wide!
My NTA education was the BEST professional investment I’ve ever made. I hope it will be for you, too!
Because I receive a high volume of career-related inquiries, I created this post to help you quickly and efficiently.
Remember: I’m not a doctor, a registered dietitian, or a clinical nutritionist; but I do not consider that a limitation to my career – nor does it have to be a limitation to yours. I’m not attempting to do what they do (nor should you), and most of them aren’t attempting to to what I do, either.
Thanks to the knowledge base and confidence I developed through the NTA program, I have had a 10-year career (and I’m just getting started!) helping others seek, develop, understand, and apply the principles of holistic nutrition. I’ve also expanded into the “clean living” category by providing support to those who want to level up their fitness, reduce their stress, and mitigate their toxic load.
Here’s a bit of what I’ve done:
Before and alongside these endeavors, I spent several years in private practice, helping individuals cultivate a rewarding approach to eating, preparing, and choosing their food. I specialized in helping those who wanted to cater their nutritional approach toward skin health, sports performance, and fertility.
I’ve been featured on television and in several publications as a nutrition expert, including Paleo Magazine (where I wrote a regular column for several years); OK! Magazine; Peppermint Magazine; The Huffington Post; and The Examiner.
I’m blessed that a good volume of people find me trustworthy. When you’re not a doctor or a conventionally-educated professional, you’ve got to be grateful for every single person that trusts their gut enough to trust YOU. And above all, you’ve got to trust yourself.
That said, to lack a conventional education in nutrition means I’m absolutely required to read, research, and seek as much independent education as I possibly can in order to be a reliable source of information. All the information you’ll need, as an independently certified practitioner, will NOT be handed to you. You must seek it!
My undergraduate degree was in English, which powers my first love – writing (I didn’t say grammar – I said *writing!*) and this is why I’m able to communicate nutritional and lifestyle information effectively online and in print. I was a writer first. This has been the single most powerful force in driving the success I’ve been blessed to have. This won’t necessarily be YOUR experience – we all have different strengths – but it has been MY experience.
More about the NTA (use code liz500 for $500 off the September, 2022 cohort)
The Nutritional Therapy Association is, in my opinion, the best holistic nutrition program available. I believe this for several reasons:
All that said, a few important points:
Creating a successful Nutritional Therapy career is not necessarily easy. It helps immensely to already have a network established – whether that’s through a blog, a gym, or a community group that you’re part of.
It took me several years to build a self-sustaining practice, and those were years of relentless hard work. I continue to work hard each day, but with the passion and flexibility that self-employment provides. It was not easy, but it was worth it!
YOU must figure out what you’re good at. Nobody can do this for you. If you have a passion for helping, you must trust yourself and your gut instinct when building your career. It may not look like anybody else’s career, and that’s OK.
Example: writing and speaking are my talents, and I have leveraged that by encapsulating my knowledge in books, publications, and even podcasts. It doesn’t have to be 1:1 consulting.
You MUST seek continuing education. The pace at which new information and research is released is staggering. You MUST keep up! For example, if you’re interested in sports nutrition, the NTA will provide a great springboard – now, go seek further certification in sports-specialized arenas and institutions. Self-experimentation is also a form of continuing education. Sometimes it backfires – but you always learn something. (Wink.)
If you build it, they don’t always come. Getting your certification doesn’t always guarantee clients. You may have to pound the pavement, network, and be patient as you build your practice. You may have to spend money on web development or “trade” consulting for web work. There’s nothing more rewarding than building a practice, but it may not come easy. Don’t get discouraged. Be innovative, creative, and openhearted.
My Nutritional Therapy practice
I started out doing consultations at my gym and online. As my personal bookings grew over the years, however, I felt it was professionally and financially sound to open an office. I opened this office within an excellent sports-oriented chiropractic clinic; a clinic from which I was also able to draw clients.
Around that same time, I began consulting with several companies and non profits about their nutrition programming.
In 2013, my husband’s military orders moved us halfway across the country – so I closed my office, packed up my practice, said goodbye to several beloved projects, and began my new adventures as an amateur homesteader while continuing to write, podcast, research and learn. Several years later, we added our first child to the family, then several years later, another; after which I streamlined my projects even more – but I still love the work, and I’ll never totally stop.
Know the laws in your state. If working directly with individuals, you MUST find out the laws governing nutrition consulting in your state yourself. I cannot help you with this. In many states, you must work UNDER a licensed health care practitioner to legally consult with individuals about nutrition. Working with local physical therapists, chiropractors, or trainers not only helps establish a referral base, but keeps you legal. Writing and creating other materials not related to individual consulting is a great way to help people without going the 1:1 route.
Charge for your time. Your time is valuable, and as your practice grows, you will do yourself a disservice by not charging for your time. Even if you WANT to help everyone for free (and you may HAVE to work for free at the beginning to gain experience or in exchange for testimonials), you need to value your time, your sanity, and your ability to support yourself enough to bill as is appropriate. If you’re generating content through a blog, a podcast, or a facebook page, you’re creating plenty of free material for people to use. At some point, you must draw the line. You’ll know when that is. (Generally, it’s before you get chronically stressed and after you realize you’ve replied to requests for free advice until 3AM one too many times.)
Trust your instinct. In choosing an educational program, a career path, or a daily work routine, you must do what feels right FOR YOU. My practice is – and should be – unique to me. We all have different strengths, interests and points we find important. Trust that your voice is IMPORTANT (it is!) and move forward confidently. You won’t always have the approval of others, and sometimes seeking too much advice can harm more than help. Sometimes you’ve just got to GO FOR IT!
Be honest and realistic about your scope of practice. You should utilize disclaimers and be clear about your INABILITY to diagnose, cure, speak to, analyze, or treat any disease. You can offer guidance about FOOD and LIFESTYLE, and, at times, targeted non-medical SUPPLEMENTS, to people who understand who you are and what you’re able to do, and who have willingly engaged your services. Protect your clients, protect yourself. Period.
Don’t stop learning. I think I’ve covered why this is important!
WRITE. We should ALL be talking about the things we’re passionate about, and we should be doing it ONLINE. Blogs are free, and they HELP PEOPLE. Get your voice out there. It may even enable your practice to grow.
Be genuine. Don’t spam. And for God’s sake, start an email newsletter. If you go online, don’t try to build an audience – whether via blog, Instagram, Facebook or newsletter – by making meaningless statements, requesting “like” exchanges or tagging multiple popular pages in generic statements in hopes of building a community base. Build your base organically, through the content you provide. Feel free to “tag,” create partnerships, or cross-post relevant or helpful information, of course (WITH APPROPRIATE CREDIT). This will help garner the audience you want and enable you to help people rather than just accumulate “likes” from people who aren’t necessarily engaged with your purpose. And START AN EMAIL NEWSLETTER. I have used Convert Kit and MailChimp.
Understand that, when it comes to MY practice, I try really hard. And I’m also really damn lucky. In 2008, when I first stumbled upon this way of life, I was working in a totally unrelated field. I started blogging as an enthusiast of the “real food” diet and lifestyle…and, soon after, I realized that THIS was what I wanted to do.
With a little luck, MANY hours of writing and income-free passion projects, and lots of support from my family, I was able to build my website and my practice. But the work, updating, and project management never ends! And there have been many stops, starts, backtracks and changes-of-mind. I am extremely fortunate to have gained momentum organically, but that doesn’t mean it was an effortless or overnight process.
I hope this helps! Don’t forget: you can get $500 off your enrollment for September 2022 with code liz500.