The Internet is so confusing, so I am hoping someone here can answer my question. I am very passionate about nutrition and traditional eating. I have a masters in public health and would like to, at some point, start a business helping people lose weight eating this way. I don't want to be an RD because they are held to strict guidelines by the ADA (which I think are actually making people fatter), but I believe I need some credential to start a nutrition counseling business. I found holistic nutrition programs that offer degrees - is that the way to go? Do the laws regarding who can do nutritional counseling vary state by state? Anyone with any insight?
I'm going back to school to become an RD. There is a very wide variety of jobs you can have as an RD, some of which require that you counsel people to follow certain diets (like working in hospitals or dialysis centers), and some of which allow much more freedom (like having your own consulting business). One of the advantages of being an RD is the potential for having your clients' insurance pay for your services. It also allows you to have a job as an RD to pay the bills while you work on developing your own business. Amy Kubal has had some articles on these issues recently on Robb Wolf's Paleo blog.
States do vary regarding who is allowed to practice as a "nutritionist." There are also several states that are currently considering laws to prevent anyone who isn't an RD from providing nutritional counseling, so that is something to be aware of.
I am studying to be a Nutrition Consultant through Hawthorne University and once I have completed that I will become certified through the NANP. I like the program, but what you can call yourself is based on the state you live. I really like distance learning online, because I have the freedom to study whenever I want to within a certain amount of time of course. But this program really teaches you to become a nutrition counselor. For instance, you have to work with practice clients frequently and in the 2nd half of the program with every class.