Weight loss consultants help clients shed extra pounds. They may be self-employed with their own clientele, or they may work for weight-loss groups, fitness centres or private companies. There are a few set standards for becoming a weight loss consultant which depend greatly on the employer and the state where a person lives. However, individuals can enhance their chances of employment and establishing a client list by completing more formal education in a relevant field.
Some weight-loss companies, such as Weight Watcher and Jenny Craig, perform in-house training for their consultants. Weight Watcher leaders must have been successful members of Weight Watchers themselves before they will be hired and trained as consultants. Weight Watchers conducts meetings both online and in-person. Leaders must have used the program to reach their goal weight or be within 4.54 Kilogram of their goal weight. Jenny Craig consultants speak with clients in-person and over the phone. They do not have to have used the program, but must possess good customer service skills and a focus on health. Jenny Craig then provides consultants with its own training course and continuing education in nutrition, stress management and motivational techniques.
Interested individuals who do not want to first work for a specific company before becoming a weight-loss coach may be able to find private courses in weight-loss counselling at local wellness centres, gyms or online. Such programs generally offer topics such as behavioural coaching, psychology as it applies to weight loss, the role of the counsellor, how to conduct sessions and dealing with emotional, social and physical issues. The American Council On Exercise offers its own course for those who want to become certified Lifestyle and Weight Management coaches. Students must purchase and download study materials and then pass a certification exam. Before doing this, students must already have certificates in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillators, as well as a current personal or group fitness trainer certification. The American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA) also has a certification course in weight-loss consulting, but students must first hold a relevant degree or AFPA certification in Nutrition and Wellness.
A degree in a relevant field such as exercise science is helpful in establishing credibility as a weight loss consultant. The knowledge a coach gains from it will assist in motivating clients and getting them to choose more active lives. The American Council On Exercise accepts a degree in exercise science in place of certification as a fitness specialist for its Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach certification.
Registered dietitians receive the most training in weight management and have the best opportunities for employment. Registered dietitians can work in hospitals, corporate wellness programs, public health, schools and private practice. In order to become a registered dietitian through the American Dietetic Association, dietitians must first have a bachelor's degree in food or nutrition and have completed a dietitian program approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education, or CADE. They must also pass a national examination given by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Once registered, dietitians must complete 75 continuing education hours every five years in order to keep it current and valid.
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