How to Become a Weight Loss Consultant: Career Roadmap
Research the requirements to become a weight loss consultant. Learn about the job description and duties and read the step-by-step process to start a career in weight loss consulting.
Do I Want to Be a Weight Loss Consultant?
A weight loss consultant works with clients to educate them on issues regarding weight loss, diet and exercise. The consultant assesses a client's current weight and lifestyle to guide the client to a healthier lifestyle so he or she can lose weight and keep it off. Evening or weekend hours might be necessary in order to meet clients' scheduling needs. Tact is often called for when dealing with clients who struggle with weight loss.
The requirements to become a weight loss consultant vary by employer. A bachelor's degree and experience in the field can help improve career outlook. The following table outlines common requirements to become a weight loss consultant:
|Degree Level||Varies by employer, from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree*|
|Degree Field||Health, nutrition, fitness or related field*|
|Experience||1-2+ years of experience in the field*|
|Licensure and Certification||Voluntary certification is available**|
|Key Skills||Analytical skills, instructional skills, problem-solving skills, people skills***|
Sources: *Indeed.com Job Postings (November 2012), ** University of West Florida, ***U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Consider Earning a Bachelor's Degree
The typical education for a weight loss consultant is a high school diploma; however, individuals may get a bachelor's degree if they want to work for an employer that requires a degree or if they decide to become certified. Weight loss consultants may obtain a bachelor's degree in an area related to health, nutrition or fitness. These degree programs offer students the chance to learn about proper fitness and different aspects of health and wellness, as well as holistic medicine.
- Participate in an internship. Aspiring weight loss consultants may benefit from participating in an internship through a weight loss or fitness center. An internship will enable students to gain hands-on experience working with clients and will enable students to learn new skills outside of a classroom environment.
Step 2: Obtain Certification
Certification allows a person to focus on specific areas and information that is relevant to a career as a weight loss consultant. Most employers do not require certification, but it can help a person become competitive in the job market. Certification is offered through health and wellness organizations, including the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA).
ACE offers a certification program for people who have a bachelor's degree in a health-related field. The ACE Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant Certification program offers specific education and training in how to help clients lose weight and get healthy.
AFPA offers a weight management consultant certification program that focuses on a holistic approach to weight management. Participants in this program must have a bachelor's degree in a health-related field.
Step 3: Gain Work Experience
Weight loss consultants can work for private companies, fitness centers, human service organizations, government agencies, hospitals or schools. Job duties may vary depending on where a consultant works, but the main job duties involve consulting with clients and helping them to lose weight.
Step 4: Pursue Advanced Career Options
A bachelor's degree is a start for a weight loss consultant; however, many advanced positions in this area require a graduate degree, such as a master's degree in nutrition or fitness. These programs offer students the chance to expand on what they learned in their undergraduate program and advance their knowledge of how nutrition plays a role in weight management. Students may have the option with this program to specialize in areas such as obesity, eating disorders and fitness.
Step 5: Continue Education
A weight loss consultant needs to be involved in continuing education because information and techniques used in the area of weight loss are always changing and evolving. Continuing education may include attending seminars, taking certification courses or getting an advanced degree.
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