Certified Nutrition Consultants vs Diploma Qualified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioners - Why Qualifications Matter

18 October 2023 by Leanne Scott

Certified Nutrition Consultants vs Diploma Qualified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioners - Why Qualifications Matter

Our organization frequently gets asks to weigh in on the differences between Certified Nutritional Consultants vs Diploma qualified Nutritional Practitioners and yes there are some major differences.

If you are planning on investing significant amount of time and money into a new career it’s important to know whether the course you enroll in will ensure you will be successful in your goals post graduation.

In this article we will aim to point out some key differences

Diploma qualified Practitioners have a scope of practice that allows the to create bio-individual protocols for their clients with the ability to utilize professional practitioner only supplement lines as part of those protocols. They are recognized as Allied Health Practitioners and have met the minimum of 1200 contact and clinical seat hours necessary for national accreditation with independent professional bodies which allow access to supplement lines and advanced education.

The Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (FNTP)Program is a Diploma level qualification which offers these clinical seat hours via the clinical skillsets we teach - this includes a step by step Course mentored approach on how to work with clients and evaluative techniques such as learning the over 300 signs the human body provides that dysfunction is taking place, how to assess for clues of dysfunction in a food and mood journal and how to clinically assess clients through our powerful clinical modality the Functional Clinical Assessment (FCA) and Lingual Neural Testing which is woven into the FNTP program.  You can learn more about what makes an FNTP unique here.

This skillset allows more individual personalization , to assess not only which nutrients will support restoration of healthy function but it also allows us to understand where the priorities of healing in the body are and what’s driving the dysfunction.

The FNTP Diploma program is accredited with the Australian College of Natural Therapies for a TGA Schedule One Practitioner  status which grants our practitioners right to practice and access to national Practitioner only supplement companies and advanced post graduate educational programs.

Consultant based courses tend to be solely on line programs and do not provide the clinical seat hours necessary for national accreditation with independent professional bodies which allow access to supplement lines and advanced education. They are often compared to Health Coaches but in all actuality they are often not even recognized by the International Health Coaching Associations due to their stringent criteria.

Our FNTP program takes a deep dive into the Foundations of Health, which is a nutrient-dense, properly-prepared, whole foods diet, culinary wellness, digestion, blood sugar handling, minerals, fatty acids, sleep, stress movement and hydration - as well as what happens to our complex organ systems (endocrine, immune, detoxification, cardiovascular)  when these foundational systems become dysregulated.  We also fully explore other aspects of our stress bucket - environmental factors and emotional wellness.

Our practitioners walk away from the program understanding the underlying driving mechanisms (the true root causes) of many health issues including numerous chronic conditions and diseases. They intimately understand how to support each client bio-individually to address the underlying dysregulation via the Functional Clinical Skillset they are taught in our program.

Many online programs teach template diets and protocols without taking the time to teach all the underlying driving mechanism necessary to work effectively with clients. They often don’t go deep enough into the science of how the body works or how/why one dietary therapeutic approach is more beneficial than another. They often do not provide enough or any clinical work so that practitioners can practice working with individual clients and their bio-individual clinical presentations.

We have had many students come to us and take our program after they have taken these types of other programs and say that our program is much more in-depth and they learned a lot more. A key factor is that we teach our practitioners in a way that they can turn around an easily explain this information to someone else - this is so incredibly important for health- for people to become empowered to take back control of their own health.

Our program also differs in a number of ways:

1. Our program is completely privately funded and independent from industry which means that curriculum stays current, ever evolving and non biased. Our teachings are based on three ways of knowing - science, clinical experience, and ancestral wisdom focusing on the bio-individual human standing in front of us - not populations. Our Instructor team are not only Diploma qualified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioners, they are all actively working practitioners who bring their clinical experience to their teachings.

2. Our program is Nationally Recognized by multiple professional independent registering bodies - ACONT, IICT, CMA UK , CAIN and NANP.
This allows are graduates to attain professional indemnity insurance to practice, and be nationally recognized for TGA approval in Australia and also recognized worldwide. In Australia, ACONT Registration allows are graduates to attain TGA approval so that they open Practitioner only professional supplement accounts and access advanced education.

3. Our program consists of everything a practitioner needs to know to work successfully with clients including a detailed business development module to assist you in starting your own business from the ground up. Across these modules our program focuses on all of the underlying drivers of dysregulation from physiological, dietary, lifestyle, movement, sleep, emotional and environmental. We also focus on clinical tools and skill sets that teach our practitioners how to effectively evaluate their clients, make effective bio-individualized recommendations and provide the tools to support change.  See our Course Prospectus.

4. We teach our students a Functional Clinical Assessment skill-set which allows our practitioners to address each client Bio-Individually. It is a unique assessment only taught in our course that tailors each protocol specifically to each clients needs because in reality a persons diet may change many times during their healing journey - not any one dietary philosophy is right for any one person regardless of their condition(s).

Our program teaches an in-depth understanding of physiological dysfunction - the why behind what goes wrong in health. You can have the most perfect diet in the world but if you don't understand what is driving Dysfunction in the body - even the most nourishing foods can have a limited value.

In todays modern world we can all agree most chronic health issues are becoming quite complex, more complex than many of us truly appreciate. Understanding the "how" and "why" is vital for determining "what" someone needs to eat.

If you would like to learn more or chat to one of our program advisors, reach out to us here. 

Study Nutrition

Leanne Scott

Leanne is a certified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Integrative Health Coach and Lead Instructor for NTA Australia/NewZealand. She hopes to change the health of future generations through loving support and knowledge. Find Leanne at