Certificate In Nutritional Counselling

Study human nutrition and food coaching to enhance an existing business or career prospect in advising people about what they eat. A foundation to work in a diverse variety of roles in the health, food or lifestyle industries.

Course Code: VRE009
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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Nutritional Counsellor Course

The global health industry is gigantic. More and more people are seeking help to find more balance in their lives and guidance to greater wellbeing. This provides abundant opportunities for developing a successful business that changes people's lives.
Play your part in the revolution - lead yourself and others to greater health.
Many graduates will work for themselves, creating their own wellness business. Other graduates may work alongside other health professionals to bring in the nutritional aspect to clients. There may also be a wide range of other opportunities in a variety of different contexts, such as working for an online nutrition website, working as a freelance wellbeing journalist, health coaching at a gym or fitness centre, developing an online business offering products or services, working in a health food shop or cafe...
There are ample opportunities in this growing industry, it is just a matter of having the imagination and attitude to create your dream.
An important question you may have in your mind is - "what will I be qualified for when I finish this course". The answer to that is interesting. As it currently stands in Australia, the nutrition industry is not government regulated. This means that, technically, whilst there are specific requirements to be a Dietician, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. Obviously, to provide suitable care for your clients, it is important to have an appropriate level of skills and knowledge in nutrition.
This course will allow students to work as a nutritional counsellor or health coach to provide general nutritional advice to improve fitness and wellbeing through diet, students will NOT be qualified to diagnose or advise others on medical or health problems. Importantly, graduates can join the Complementary Medicine Association, and the Association for Coaching.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate In Nutritional Counselling.
 Food Coaching VRE110
 Human Nutrition 1 BRE102
 Human Nutrition II BRE202
 Human Nutrition III BRE302
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 9 modules.
 Biochemistry I (Animal and Human) BSC103
 Human Anatomy & Physiology (Human Biology 1A) BSC101
 Nutrition for Weight Loss BRE210
 Therapeutic Nutrition BRE211
 Children's Nutrition BRE304
 Gut Microbiome Management (Human) BSC311
 Life Coaching BPS305
 Sports Nutrition BRE303
 Weight Loss Consultant BRE307

Note that each module in the Certificate In Nutritional Counselling is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Want to find out more? Read on...
Sample Course Notes
Human Nutrition III


Detoxification is a concept applied widely in natural medicine. It is based on the premise that the body accumulates a variety of different toxic compounds (both natural and unnatural) over time, and that these compounds will eventually reach a critical level if they are allowed to increase their concentration in the bodies tissues, unchecked.

Detoxification is the process of reducing the concentration of toxins which have been accumulating in the body, bringing those antagonistic compounds back to a level which the body is able to more easily cope with. The net result should be greater vitality and a stronger constitution, hence less likelihood of disease or any other problem.

Detoxification is claimed to be affected by various different techniques, including:

· Fasting

· Water therapies

· Herbal treatments

· Diets

· Massage

· Stimulating Bowel or Urine Movement

During a cleansing period, there should be differences in the normal functioning of the body. There may be some discomfort, and it is normal to experience increased bowel or urine movements. If discomfort persists or increases however, the intensity of the treatment should be reduced or curtailed.


Several methods of detoxification are currently available. These include fasting, specific diets, colon therapy, vitamin therapy, chelation therapy, and hyperthermia. As a word of caution - all long-term fasts require medical supervision as well as prior assessment as to levels of nutrients, to ensure that deficiency does not occur. Weekend fasts are safe for most people, although it is still wise to seek advice from a professional experienced in detoxification.

The easiest, most inexpensive, and effective, methods of detoxification are fasting and specific dietary regimens. Keep in mind that the goal is to achieve a healthier way of eating, not weight loss, or to rid the body of all bacteria. In fact, "the good bacteria," known as probiotics, or commensal bacteria (which is also known as ‘flora’) is necessary in order to remain in good health. Recent research has shown that bacteria plays an important role in digestion, as well as immune function in the body, and without these bacteria body functioning is sub-optimal.

Several methods of detoxification are currently available. These include fasting, specific diets, colon therapy, vitamin therapy, chelation therapy, and hyperthermia. As a word of caution - all long-term fasts require medical supervision as well as prior assessment as to levels of nutrients, to insure that deficiency does not occur. If you plan to make detoxification part of your dietary regime, do so with professional guidance. If you are planning on offering it as a service within nutrition or other complementary medicine service, be sure you are familiar with all aspects of the particular methods you plan to advise on.

Some methods of detox include:

Water and juice fast: Most experts recommend beginners to do one or the other in alternation over a few separate weekends. A water only fast starting Friday evening and ending Sunday morning (or just all day Saturday, as an alternative) should be broken with a day of raw foods (fruit/salad only, plus water), not with a heavy meal. Make sure that not less than four and not more than eight pints of water are consumed during the fast.

Weekend mono-diet: This consists of a full weekend of relying on a single food such as grapes, apples, pears (best choice if you have a history of allergy problems), brown rice, millet, or even potatoes (boiled only).

Vitamin C therapy: Exposure to various toxins, like lead or benzene, will deplete your vitamin C stores. Evidence also suggests that vitamin C deficiency hampers the body's own detoxification process.

Chelation therapy: A synthetic amino acid known as EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is administered intravenously and binds to various toxic metals in the blood. The toxins are then flushed from the body through the kidneys. Used primarily to treat cases of lead poisoning, many doctors have found that EDTA can remove the calcium and plaque present in the walls of arteries in atheroscelerosis. This therapy has yet to receive FDA approval as a treatment for heart disease.


Many experts advise that not eating for a period will have the effect of detoxifying the digestive system. It is not uncommon for a one day fast to be prescribed once every 1-4 weeks. During the fasting period, water should still be drunk. Nothing should be added to water though. A modified fast may involve taking in a limited type of food or clear broths.

The practise of fasting has been around for thousands of years primarily as an act of religious observance. These most typically take the form of 25hr fasts or, for Muslims the entire month of Ramadan, or Baha’i for the month of Ala where fasting occurs from dawn til dusk (approximately) with no food or fluid taken in those hours. Some Buddhist sects also fast, eating only until midday and then fasting until the following morning. For some Christians, a partial fast of forty days is observed during the period of lent. The 40hr famine is held in many parts of the world, to give young people an insight into the suffering of those who lack regular access to food. In all cases a healthy individual should suffer no ill effects of fasting and in general feel more vital, alert and healthy for the practise.

Medically, fasts may be used for diagnostic purposes (blood sugar observance) or in preparation for surgery or diagnostic procedures. For example, it is necessary to fast and drink a medical electrolyte fluid prior to colonoscopy to ensure the bowel is entirely empty or to fast prior to anaesthesia. Fasting should be under the supervision of a medical professional if you are diabetic, have heart problems, kidney problems or any other major health concerns. There is some scientific evidence to suggest that temporary dietary restriction or dietary modification can improve health, combat chronic diseases and perhaps even increase longevity.

Whether this is more to do with people not taking in excessive nutrients as they do in most western diets, or due to the period of rest given to the gastro-intestinal tract, or a detoxification of the tissues is not yet clear. In general, shorter, more regular fasts are more effective than long term dietary restrictions. Certainly a person should go no more than a day without fluids.

Side-effects and symptoms

When fasting you can expect to suffer some mild symptoms that will resolve when you conclude your fast. These include:

· Dizziness

· Dark coloured, strong smelling urine

· Nausea

· Headache

· “Fuzzy” tongue

· Bad breath

· Skin rash

In people prone to migraine, fasts with no fluid should be avoided. If symptoms become severe, the fast should be finished. Symptoms can be reduced by some pre-fast preparation:

· Reduce or cease intake of caffeine

· Drink plenty of water

· Gradually restrict heavy, more difficult to digest foods prior to the fast

· Eat a healthy, easily digestible meal prior to the fast

· Do not undertake strenuous activity immediately prior to, or during your fast

Life Coaching

As a life-coach, you will often find that the barriers that you must help a client overcome to achieve wellbeing in all aspects of a balanced life are not big or life-shattering problems. Much of the time, the fundamental problems are poor habits, lack of self-discipline, or lack of focus. Therefore, your main work will be helping clients decide on their life aims, make plans, set specific, achievable goals with realistic time frames, and develop the self-discipline and habits that will enable them to achieve those goals.

Aims, plans and goals are not the same thing: aims point the client in a direction; goals are the specific targets (often several) that will take them to those aims; and plans are the maps for getting them there.

It is important to recognise that although some people seem to sail through life, most of us encounter difficulties along the way. If we are deterred by these difficulties, then we are less likely to go on to achieve our ambitions. If we remain ambitious we are more likely to go on to achieve our goals in life.


Our goals are often informed by our values which can be the silent and sometimes unacknowledged motivators behind our actions. What is important to us and what we choose to prioritise in our lives over and above others, lets us know about what we value.

Values may include:

keeping healthy and fit

being financially secure

having good friends

enjoying a fulfilling career or work life

helping others

having quality time with your loved ones

Life-coaches often help a client become aware of their values and thus prompt them to work out their aims and then define their goals. For example, a client’s aim may be to become fitter and healthier, but the goal would define the amount of time physical activity is to be performed per day, how, when and where, with whom and the cost allowed. A specific plan may include choosing a personal trainer, developing a time log, determining a time limit.

When mapping a plan, consideration must be given to obstacles a client may experience in achieving their goal.

When setting goals, it is necessary to define short term goals, medium term goals and long term goals.

For instance, a short term goal might be to achieve

30 minutes of physical activity a day. A medium term goal might be to finish a course of study within a year, and a long term goal may involve building relationships with at least 4 close friends within the next five years. Goals however, can span a person’s life-time and may include setting an age for retirement or deciding what you will be doing when in your 90’s

Types of Goals

Goals may be either performance goals or learning goals. Where people focus on learning goals they attempt to do better at any task that they attempt.

They tend to view things as a continuous process of self-improvement. When people set themselves performance goals they tend to view the value of a task in terms of whether or not it had a favourable outcome. They do not take into account any learning or personal development that may arise from attempting the task.

Furthermore, those that set themselves learning goals do not show any decline in performance on tasks where they may have ended up with repeated failures. They will still undertake these tasks with a high level of motivation. Contrarily those who have performance goals will display a marked deterioration in their behaviour when they undertake tasks and are unsuccessful. They tend to give up.

Therefore, having learning goals, and a belief in intelligence as a set of acquired skills, tends to make people more likely to be successful at long-term tasks. The coach can work with the client to ensure that they are focusing on learning goals as opposed to performance goals.


In order to help your client achieve their goals you will also need to assist them in drawing up workable plans. It is wise to set up a time frame for the completion of each part of the plan. For example if someone is wishing to change career, then you may set targets that reflect all the different tasks they will need to fulfil to attain their career change. It might be that they start by finding out what qualifications and experience are required. Next they find out if they need to undertake further study and what the different options are. Don’t set targets that are going to prove very difficult to achieve. Many life coaches also set their clients homework to complete between sessions. This could be doing some voluntary work in their chosen field or contacting someone within the field and speaking to them one to one, or simply attempting to do something that they have a problem with. The coach and client can then discuss the outcome of the homework assignment to see how well they have performed. Feedback should be positive and encouraging.

Future Goals

The client needs to evolve a clear idea of where they see themselves in so many years hence. It may be that the client knows exactly what they want but they do not know what to do in order to get there, or that they have a vague idea what they want and need to discuss it in order to clarify things. Whatever their needs it is the coach’s job to help their clients meet their aspirations. It must be stressed that the coach is not there to tell the client what to do, but to assist the client in reaching their own decisions about how best to achieve what they want.

If you consider that the client is setting themselves far too high expectations or that they are planning to try and achieve too much too soon, then you can advise them to slow down and set them more realistic targets.


  • Identify and write down your goals.
  • Make sure your goal is specific and measurable – that it includes how, when, where.
  • Give your goal a time-frame and a deadline – you may need to establish separate deadlines for sub-goals if your goal is long-term.
  • Break your goal into achievable sub-goals and write down actions needed to achieve them. An action plan includes specific tasks to be done, who will do them and by what date.
  • Get agreement from others who are needed to achieve these goals. They should know what is expected or required of them, how the task is to be accomplished, and when it must be accomplished before they give their agreement and cooperation.
  • Consider any internal or external obstacles to goal achievement and take steps to overcome, eliminate or reduce those obstacles.
  • Review your goals regularly – re-evaluate them as needed and modify goals if they are not realistic or able to be achieved in the deadline.


Modern theories of achievement motivation have focused on the idea that attributions about effort and achievement will reflect how much effort people are prepared to put into succeeding. If individuals attribute failure to a lack of ability, then they are far less likely to put in the effort to succeed in the future because they will consider that their effort will not bring them greater success.

However, if people attribute their failure to some other cause such as lack of effort, then they are more likely to put in more effort on a similar task in the future, and will be more likely to succeed in the long run.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding in your selected discipline. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (6 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

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We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Jade Sciascia

Biologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager.
Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Dip.Professional Education, Cert IV TESOL, Cert Food Hygiene.

Karen Lee

Nutritional Scientist, Dietician, Teacher and Author.
BSc. Hons. (Biological Sciences), Postgraduate Diploma Nutrition and Dietetics.
Registered dietitian in the UK, with over 15 years working in the NHS. Karen has undertaken a number of research projects and has lectured to undergraduate university students. Has co authored two books on nutrition and several other books in health sciences.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Jacinda Cole

Jacinda has expertise in psychology and horticulture. She holds a BSc (hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. In horticulture she has a Certificate in Garden Design and ran her own landscaping and garden design business for a number of years. Jacinda also has many years experience in course development and educational writing.

Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams BSc (Hons), PgDip Eng, MSc, CEng MIET, CMgr FCMI

Andrew has extensive experience across the engineering and building services industries, with specialisms in refrigeration and energy management, with professional recognition as both a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Manager.

This experience includes working in consulting and leadership roles right through to being hands on to deliver projects and outcomes for large scale organisations and within startup and scale up environments.

He has adapted his experience to integrate with new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) to allow for a data driven perspective to be applied to problem solving and is actively using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to solve real world problems.

Alexander O'Brien

Alex was born and raised in Cork, in the Republic of Ireland. Having been trained in Architecture, Permaculture, Mechanical Engineering, Ceramics, Furniture Design/Construction, Sustainable building and Art,Craft and Design, his knowledge base is broad. Much of his professional work has been designing and making nature inspired spaces, creative reuse of materials, permaculture and natural ecology regeneration.

That being said, in his own words, "....my real passion is teaching. I adore sharing my knowledge and experience. Seeing students progress, and learning, that is my soul food."'

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