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How to Become a Sports Nutrition Specialist for Your Practice

Healthcare professionals are often approached as ‘thought leaders’ and experts in their field. But with healthcare professions ranging from doctors to nurse practitioners and nutrition consultants, everyone has their own area of expertise. If you find yourself challenged with the number of patients that are seeking athletic healthcare advice, it may be time to consider a specialized certificate so you can better serve your patients.

In today’s post we will explore the responsibilities and expectations for becoming a sports nutrition specialist.


A sports nutritionist certificate is the optimum way for you and your clients to get more out of their experience and tailor a nutritional plan that will enhance their overall sports performance.

The basic responsibilities you will have as a certified Sports Nutrition Specialist: 

  • Counseling individuals and groups on daily nutrition for athletic performance and health
  • Simplifying scientific evidence into practical sports nutrition recommendations
  • Serving as a resource to your clients with regards to food and nutrition
  • Providing sports nutrition education to health and wellness organizations, athletic teams or groups and individual athletes.
  • Tracking, documenting and analyzing the outcomes of nutrition services

Interested in Pursuing Nutrition for Athletes? Check out our Sports Nutrition Certificate.

At AFPA we offer a number of different certifications, including the AFPA Sports Nutrition Certification. Our certificate delivers the knowledge you need to give sound advice to athletes and active individuals. This certificate will give you the necessary credentials to work one-on-one with athletes to develop nutritional plans that are healthy, balanced and enable optimal sports performance. You will be educated to address different issues that come up in specific sports, and also the pros and cons of utilizing supplements.

In addition to becoming certified, consider the benefits of getting hands-on experience. Working with a mentor in your field can help you to build experience, networks, clients and credibility. Volunteering at a local sports organization, like the YMCA, or with a high school or college level team is also a great way to gain hands-on experience.

Career Opportunities

Now that you have an understanding of the basic responsibilities and what you can get out of becoming certified, where can you apply yourself and grow your career in nutrition? Sports nutritionists can acquire a job at a number of different organizations, including: colleges and universities, professional sports teams, fitness centers and gyms, health care facilities, or as a self-employed specialist. 

Just like any career, a sports nutritionist salary can vary depending on the demand, location and experience. According to, U.S. dietitians earn on average between $45,000 and $56,000 annually. However the more experience you gain, or the industry you are in (professional sports teams), specialists can earn more than $80,000 annually. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Sports Nutrition Certification visit our website.

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