What Is Required for Earning a Clinical Nutrition Certificate?

Clinical nutritionists assess a person's physiological needs and provide him or her with an individual nutrition plan. Keep reading to learn how you can become a Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN). Schools offering Fitness & Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Postsecondary Education

To be eligible for the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB) certification examination, you need a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in nutrition or a related major, or an advanced professional degree in a licensed healthcare field, such as osteopathy, pharmacy or dentistry, among other fields. Those with a bachelor's degree must have completed core nutrition courses, such as nutrition assessment, life cycle nutrition, counseling, herbology or nutrition supplementation, as well as core science courses including chemistry, microbiology, human biology, and anatomy and physiology.

Important Facts About This Field Of Study

Online Availability Fully
Common Courses Biochemistry, Allergies and Asthma, Optimal Human Nutrition
Possible Careers Dietician, nutritionist, health educator, nurse
Key Skills Analytical skills, compassion, speaking skills, problem-solving skills
Median Salary (2018) $60,370 (for dietitians and nutritionists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% (for dietitians and nutritionists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Supplemental Education

Certification candidates with a bachelor's degree or an advanced professional degree in a field other than nutrition must complete CNCB's 56-hour postgraduate program in clinical nutrition before taking the certification exam; some candidates with a graduate degree in nutrition can be exempted from this requirement, based on the curriculum of their graduate program.

The online postgraduate program includes courses in biochemistry, environmental health issues, nutritional deficiencies, herbology, food allergies, human toxicity and counseling techniques. There are also several laboratory testing studies, many of which focus on fatty acids, gastrointestinal functions, detoxification and individual case reports. This program typically takes nine months to complete.


The CCN exam features 150 multiple-choice questions, which you'll have three hours to complete. Upon passing the exam, you'll be presented with a Certified Clinical Nutritionist certificate by the CNCB.


To maintain your CCN certification, you'll need to amass 40 continuing education (CE) credits every two years by attending scientific symposiums or completing other CE opportunities. Additionally, you'll be required to pay yearly fees and complete a recertification exam in your fifth year post-initial certification.

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