Institute for Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Training Program
Integrative Nutrition offers a “Health Coach Training Program” online. That program promises to teach anyone how to become a certified health coach. Here’s our review of the program.
What is the IIN Health Coach Training Program?
The Health Coach Training Program is a program offered by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. The program recently launched a campaign online where you can get a sample class for free, letting you try out the program without inputting any payment details.
By inputting your data into the online form, you consent to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition using your contact information (and sharing that contact information with advertisers) to send you further details about the program by phone, email, text message, or voicemail. So just a warning – the class isn’t totally free.
In any case, whether you sign up for the full program or not, you’ll learn a little more about becoming a certified “health coach”. The program consists of online lessons that teach you everything you need to know about being a health coach.
The program takes a year, costs $5,000, and delivers all materials online. By the end of it, you become a certified “Health Coach” according to the IIN. No previous education, experience, or skills are required to sign up.
What is a Health Coach?
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition claims that the current medical system in America isn’t working. It’s not a sustainable system: the country spends more on healthcare (“trillions”, explains the Integrative Nutrition website) than any other nation in the world, but has worse healthcare, worse obesity, and unhealthier people than many developing nations.
With that in mind, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition offers a different solution: focus on a health care system that emphasizes education and prevention.
By educating people today, we can prevent diseases in the future.
Ultimately, a Health Coach’s job is to educate the world on how to live a healthier life. Here’s how the Institute for Integrative Nutrition explains the job title:
“Health Coaches are at the forefront of today’s health revolution, offering services and filling gaps that doctors, nutritionists and dieticians don’t have the time or resources to fill.”
In other words, you’re performing a range of duties that cover personal health, diet, nutrition, and other aspects of someone’s physiology.
After undergoing the Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Training Program, you can advertise your services as a Health Coach and charge people for improving their health.
How Does the Program Work?
Here are some of the core features of the program:
— World’s Largest Nutrition School: The Institute for Integrative Nutrition claims it’s the “world’s largest nutrition school”.
— One Year Program: You can launch your career as a Health Coach and “build a life you love” in just one year (you can actually graduate in as little as 6 to 8 months).
— Online Learning Center: All materials are distributed online, which means you can access them via any computer, smartphone, or tablet, letting you study online anytime from anywhere.
— Real-World Business Training: Integrative Nutrition lets you interact with clients before you graduate, giving you on-the-job training before you dive into the deep end. It also explains how to market yourself as a Health Coach and charge clients $125/hour for your services.
— Multiple Dietary Theories: Integrative Nutrition doesn’t advocate one specific dietary principle or theory. Instead, the company claims to explore 100+ dietary theories.
— Over 100 Educators: Integrative Nutrition claims to offer a team of 100+ world-class educators you can learn from. These educators include leading physicians, researchers, and nutrition experts “at the forefront of the health and wellness movement.”
Integrative Nutrition Curriculum
So what do you actually learn when you sign up for Integrative Nutrition classes? You get a variety of online courses led by some of the world’s leading health and wellness experts.
The school promises to go “beyond government guidelines” (like the food pyramid or the four food groups) and cover over 100 dietary principles across its curriculum.
Examples of some of the diet principles covered by the program include the following diets: vegan, “The Zone”, paleo, Mediterranean, raw food, and Atkins. There are also more alternative diets, including the South Beach diet, pescetarian diet, hormone diet, juice cleanses, Chinese medicine supplements, and much more.
By learning about all of these diets, you get a better idea of which foods work and which ones do not.
The curriculum takes one year to complete. There are 40 modules in total, which means you can complete one module per week to finish the program in a year.
Each course consists of:
— Online video lectures
— Supplementary materials (like PDFs, slideshow presentations, and assigned reading)
— Skill-building activities
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition doesn’t want you to feel like the course is full-time school. Instead, they say you should aim to spend 5 to 8 hours per week on the program.
Overall, the IIN curriculum is based on two core concepts, including:
1) Bio-Individuality: This means everybody is different and has unique individual needs and diets. There’s no “one size fits all diet”.
2) Primary Food: Everything in your world that feeds you “that doesn’t come on a plate”. Integrative Nutrition lists your career, relationships, and spirituality as your “primary food”. This is a key part of your health.
Once you’ve learned these things, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition will equip you with the business skills you need to market yourself in the modern world. These final lessons teach you how to launch your own health coaching practice. They provide real-world business training that lets you see clients before you’ve completed the program. You receive all the materials you need to coach clients, including a website, session outlines, handouts, email templates, business cards, and more.
Who Leads the Courses?
Integrative Nutrition lists more than 100 people among its teachers, including some of the world’s leading health and wellness professionals. Founder Joshua Rosenthal plays a key role, for example, as does Mark Hyman, MD.
Other recognizable names you might have heard of include Arianna Huffington and Mehmet Oz (Dr. Oz). There’s also Deepak Chopra, Marion Nestle, Andrew Weil, and Gabrielle Bernstein.
Integrative Nutrition Pricing
The Integrative Nutrition online course costs about $5,000 per year.
Once you’ve completed your training, you’ll be told to charge $125 per hour for individual counseling services.
In the past, IIN charged between $8,000 and $10,000 for in-class education, which involved attending classes on weekends.
Is the Institute for Integrative Nutrition a Scam?
For many people, seeing Dr. Oz involved in any type of online project immediately sets off a red flag. So is IIN a scam?
You can find all sorts of results online that claim it’s either a scam or a legitimate education organization.
The truth is: the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is a for-profit education organization. Unlike with public schools or universities, they’re not built with the goal of making people smarter. Instead, they’re built with the goal of earning a profit – just like with any business.
Skeptics will tell you that for-profit universities are designed to “Overadvertise, oversell, overcharge, and underdeliver.”
The real question is: does that mean the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is a scam? The school charges $5,000 per year and tells students to advertise their services as a “Health Coach” at a price of $125 per hour.
The thing is: do you know anyone in your life who goes to a “health coach” for advice? Most people will just go to a doctor. Some people will talk to a dietician or nutritionist. To become a doctor, dietician, or nutrition, you need 4 to 8 years (if not more) of professional education and certification. People are willing to pay over $100/hour to visit these professionals.
How does a “health coach” fit into all this? How do you carve out a niche and convince people to pay you $125/hour after you just completed a one year course? Remember: there are no previous skills, experience, or education requires to become a Health Coach.
In the future, people may be willing to pay $125 per hour for a “health coach”. Today, however, the career just isn’t really there.
There’s also the problem of the many poor-quality reviews found online for IIN. VegSource.com reports that “the company mistreats/discriminates against many of their employees”, and claims that three women from the company filed a lawsuit against the company after they were fired or demoted when they got pregnant. You can view that lawsuit here (PDF file).
The company also specifically states that 70% of their grads are earning a living in their field – which isn’t a great number to advertise (this also doesn’t specifically state they’re earning a living as “health coaches”).
Studies have repeatedly reinforced the fact that for-profit schools are rarely worth the money. Many students spend an enormous amount of money – only to not be certified to get the jobs they were promised.
The fact that IIN doesn’t clearly advertise tuition information upfront or give us transparent statistics about graduates working in their field is worrying, to say the least.
Should You Sign Up for the Free Sample Class from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition?
If you recently received an offer for a free sample class from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, then you’re probably interested in health and wellness in at least some way or another.
There’s no real harm in signing up for a free sample class from IIN. However, be prepared to be pestered through email, texts, and phone calls after signing up. The company will give you the hard sell (and you’re also prevented from putting in a fake email address or phone number).
If you enjoy the sample class, have a spare $5,000 lying around, and think you can make a living as a “Health Coach”, then the Institute for Integrative Nutrition may be the right choice for you.
Most people, however, will be better off joining a reputable diet and nutrition program from a traditional university – not a pricey for-profit online school.