By Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D. (July 29, 2009)
As I said, I am not a fan of these “holistic” health, “herbalist” or “nutritionist” programs , and have taken several of them. I would rather see people pursue a traditional accredited education and take courses in biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, etc many of which are even available now online from traditional universities. Many of them can also be done at your own pace and for a reasonable price.
The reason I feel this way is if people really want to help other people and be effective in helping other people, then they need to really learn these issues, concepts and skills in the best way possible. I have yet to find one of these courses that effectively covers these or teaches these skills in an effective way.
Somehow or other it seems that good solid nutrition science (which i am a strong proponent of) gets its self aligned with lots of stuff that is really of questionable value, and some of it is just plain quackery (of which I am strongly opposed to).
Some people seem to be surprised to learn that the info I follow and teach is actually based on (and I consider it) solid traditional science. I will show you documents by the NAS, the WHO, the FAO and the IOM that supports virtually everything I teach in part 4 of this series.
In addition, in most all professions, there is regulation and accredited licensing and certification. While it is not perfect and does not guarantee quality, but in my opinion, it does serve a beneficial purpose.
John Bear, has a website and a book that is updated regularly where he evaluates many all these online, correspondence, non-traditional and traditional colleges/programs. Unfortunately, my personal and professional experience is that they often do little more then turn well meaning, good intentioned and caring people into quacks.
John Bears info: http://www.degree.net, http://www.degree.net/books/bearsguide.htm
As I mentioned earlier, there are also online programs now to study traditional nutrition and offer an RD at both the Bachelors and Masters levels.
http://www.eatright.org/cps/rde/xchg/ada/hs.xsl/career_2192_ENU_HTML.htm (scroll down and you will see the full list of online programs)