I am frequently asked about my schooling at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, so I thought it might be useful to answer as many questions as I can in one place.
Please keep in mind that these answers are in regard to my own personal experience while at IIN, so things may be slightly different for new and perspective students.
1. Why did you choose IIN over other programs?
Because of my full-time job, I wanted a flexible program that I could complete online. Of my online options, I liked that IIN was organized into a year-long schedule, with specific testing dates, to keep me accountable with my studies. I was also drawn to the program because of the business support and personal health coach that is included in the program. Other programs I looked into were self-paced, with no additional support, which I was afraid would leave me feeling unqualified to coach in the real world.
2. What were the benefits of IIN?
- Working with my own personal health coach for 6 months was invaluable, and worth the price of tuition alone for me. Not only did we address some of my own issues, I was also able to reach out to my health coach for advice when starting my own health coaching practice. Experiencing the benefits that come from working with a health coach gave me the confidence I needed to work with my own clients.
- Everything you need to set up your own health coaching business. Included in tuition is a professional health coaching website, as well as all the materials you need to support your clients.
- Networking. IIN creates a wonderful online forum for each graduating class, so that students could connect with other locals for support. It’s a great opportunity to create study-groups and meet others that you may want to work with in the future.
- Nutrition experts. Teachers at IIN include Dr. Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Mark Hyman, Sally Fallon Morell, Dr. Walter Willet, David Wolfe, Dr. Neal Barnard, and many, many more. The lectures cover everything from raw food to the Paleo diet, so you are left with an arsenal of knowledge and a very open mind.
- You can work with clients while still in school. Once you complete a determined number of nutrition modules and tests, you are certified to start taking clients while still completing the rest of your schooling. This gave me the opportunity to not only earn back all the money I spent on tuition (before even graduating!), but also to ask my own health coach for advice on particularly challenging cases. This is also helpful if you’re “on the fence” about becoming a health coach– you can try it out, earn your money back, and if you decide it’s not for you, you’re still left with a great nutritional education and no school debt.
- You get an iPad! When I attended IIN, I received my materials on an iPod… but now they are sending new students an iPad with all of the course materials! I’m totally jealous.
3. Was tuition fairly reasonable? Yes, and this was definitely a deciding factor for me. Sometimes scholarships are available, too.
4. Did you feel that IIN prepared you enough to work with clients?
Yes and no. Personally, I take working with clients very seriously and I feel a great deal of pressure to be the best coach I can possibly be. I felt more confident working with clients after furthering my education with detox expert, Natalia Rose, and culinary expert, Doris Choi. Though, I don’t think the additional education is necessary, it boosted my confidence and gave me a broader perspective.
5. Are you able to make a good living from health coaching?
Yes, it’s definitely possible to make a good living as a health coach. However, I think it would be necessary to have another means of income, as well, while establishing your practice. Personally, I’m not interested in becoming a full-time coach (as I truly love my current full-time job), but I imagine I’d need to work a little harder at self-promotion if I wanted this to be my sole source of income.
6. How do you gain clients?
I have been lucky in regards to gaining new clients, as my website was already established when I started attending IIN. Client referrals are also helpful! Many of my local clients have approached me after seeing the amazing results that my former clients have achieved.
7. Would you recommend IIN to others?
It depends on what you want to do with your education. Health coaching, like other holistic approaches, is not accredited in the United States, so you will not necessarily be eligible to work in a hospital, nor will you be able to accept insurance. This hasn’t been a problem for me, since clients who are seeking my services don’t want to work with a traditional dietician. If you’d like to work privately with clients, or simply want to expand your personal nutrition knowledge, then IIN is a great choice.
I hope that answers your questions! Feel free to contact me if I missed anything.