Nutrition Coaching is a desirable market in the United States, and it’s no wonder why!
It is a unique part of the fitness world and job compensation is a desirable part to question. What is a Nutrition Coach expected to make?
This article covers the average salary expectations of a fitness professional who wants to get into nutrition coaching, along with the following concepts:
By the time you finish reading, you will be well aware of the salary prospects for nutrition coaches in 2021.
Let’s dive in!
Wellness and Nutrition Coach Salary
What is a Wellness and Nutrition Coach’s salary?
There are many factors and different business models to utilize in nutritional coaching.
No matter the choice of job title, nutrition coach jobs will allow the people a higher pay than the general cost of living payscale.
Here we will describe some of the most common ways to go about your nutrition coaching business, the associated salaries, and some factors that may influence your salary.
For example, being salaried and full-time vs. being independent and full-time are two different animals.
If you own a CrossFit gym and are also nutrition coach certified, your income would be very different from someone who works as a personal trainer and is also nutrition coach certified.
And the certified health coach salary will be slightly lower on average than that of a registered professional working in dietetics.
Let’s look at each career path we have as a Nutrition Coach and their respective average salaries!
Salaried employees are ones that have a fixed income, or a base salary, that adds up to their yearly total.
So, with this type of job, you are guaranteed a good amount of pay, regardless of clients and other factors.
Salaried employment is one of the most sought-after forms of payment, but it is the rarer of the forms of employment in nutrition coaching.
There are also two forms of salaried employment. You could be either full-time or part-time.
For a full-time Nutrition Coach, the average salaried employee is said to be about $40,000.00 a year as a national average, according to the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics.
You also need to consider the benefits that come along with full-time salaried positions. Factor this into your job considerations and the salaried positions look a lot more viable in life.
Salaried employment is going to be lower than that of a self-employed person’s high-end earning potential, but the good side is that it is guaranteed money.
For a part-time coach, this entirely depends on how many hours are considered part-time.
For this, we go based on the average pay, which is generally around 20 dollars an hour. So, we could imagine if you worked 20 hours a week, it would come in at half of the full-time pay.
Make sure to find a salary calculator for your own specific work location for the average Fitness Nutrition Specialist salary.
You can often find hourly rates more easily for professionals near you by typing in “Nutrition Coach near me” or some specific search like “Keto Coach near me”.
Full-time employment as a Nutrition Coach generally means working a 40-hour workweek.
Full-time employment can be for salaried employees or for independent employees like the self-employed section we will go over in a few sections.
The typical place of employment is varied, but gyms are common places to have at least one full-time Nutrition Coach on staff.
A full-time health coach salary in a gym environment is typically going to earn somewhere in the $40,000.00 area. This is typical for a salaried dietitian employee.
The average salary for a specific certification like the nasm certification salary would be $41,125.00. This is based on the average pay of $790.00 per week.
When it comes to a self-employed person, the annual salary is generally a bit higher, as it is not guaranteed money each year. There is a little more work required to get clients and keep that client base.
So, when it comes to the annual salary for these self-employed workers, it is generally 10k higher than salaried, which would come in at 50k for a full-time worker.
The top-earning percentiles even earn up to a salary range of 82 – 87k annually. This is, of course, rarer, and dependent on so many things like pricing, private practice, and so much more that we could dive into. This is also generally believed to be a nutrition degree salary.
The top earners will oftentimes have achieved their degree later in their career, and thus, be earning more money.
So, the industry is pretty profitable as a whole and is only getting more and more successful as the existence of health problems rises and the need for health coaching rises with it.
Part-time is again, hard to really give a number to, as it depends on how many hours is considered to be part-time.
Instead, we can look at hourly wages, and then that can be multiplied by hours in a week and weeks in a year to find the general salary to be expected from this type of job.
Coaching rates vary greatly based on the factors we listed at the beginning of the article.
Generally, we can expect Nutrition Coaches to make between $20.00 – $35.00 per hour., which can be more or less depending on the level of coaching done, if it is online, or if it is a part-time salaried employee.
So, if you were to multiply the average pay, which is $25.00, or so, an hour, by 20 hours a week, and then by 52 weeks in a year, you would get a total salary from nutrition coaching equal to 26k. This is pretty good for the typical part-time job.
Self-employment is the most popular business model that we find in the fitness world, and it is the most testing as far as your business skills.
This form of nutrition coaching has a higher range of payment scales, but also you must remember that you will need to pay taxes at the end of the year, generally speaking.
So, the pay might actually equal back out to around the exact same as other salaried positions after taxes are paid.
But, the biggest part of this career choice is the freedom to decide your own work schedule and essentially be your own boss.
You won’t have the company benefits that come with being an employee of a company, but you will have complete freedom to work at the time you want and for the pay that you desire.
Since we touched on the general salaries already, we will simply restate that you can make around 10k or more with this career choice, but you won’t have benefits and will have to pay taxes.
But the freedom of making your own choices in nutrition coaching might outweigh those two things altogether.
Let’s look at how online coaching plays a role in the industry next.
Online coaching is its own topic, so it must be addressed as such.
It is possible to find a salaried online coaching position or be a self-employed online Nutrition Coach.
In general, there is more desire for online coaching and online jobs in today’s day and age. This is due to not needing to leave the comfort of your own home.
Since it is desired so much, the pay rates will be slightly lower, albeit still comparable to the rates we have mentioned.
If we were to break it down to hourly it would still be in the realm of $20.00 – $35.00 per hour for online nutrition coaching, and the average job would bring in $47,349.00. This is due to the average online coaching job being self-employed and full-time.
At the high-end, we do see the ability to make an even greater amount than the top end of salaried workers, so the caps are perhaps higher at this end of the business.
It is important to consider all of these business options when we are deciding our future as Nutrition Coaches.
Okay, so now that we’ve discussed how certain types of employment influence salary, let’s talk about other factors that may influence your Nutrition Coach salary.
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Factors That Affect Nutrition Salary
Location, location, location.
This line has likely been nailed down to exhaustion in the minds of professionals.
And this greatly applies to careers in health and fitness, as well as just about every job market out there.
But, for jobs with coaching and one-on-one work like nutrition coaching, this is a significant factor.
And this can be easily looked at by considering the markets within bigger cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and then comparing them to smaller cities in the country.
You can’t expect to make the same wage in a small city that you would make in a giant city. It’s just not realistic.
If you were going to consider location and had the option to change that factor to some degree, we would suggest that you consider the population size of your choices, the average income of the city, and other smaller factors.
The population size is important because it considers how many possible clients you may be able to reach and it has some influence on the general average salary in the area.
The average income for the city is vastly important since this will determine whether or not people have the general ability to pay for nutrition coaching services, and how much it will be possible to charge for your services.
In addition, actual population size may not matter near as much as the population density.
This means the number of people in a particular space, as opposed to the number of people in a general city, will be more important when it comes to paying rates.
Next, let’s look at how building a client base plays a role in your Nutrition Counselor job.
Building a Client Base
Jobs in the functional fitness and wellness industry have the requirement of building your client base in order to get paid.
This may not be true for the small number of salaried workers, but, for the general career as a health coach, weight loss advisor, or personal trainer, it is true.
Success as a health and wellness coach will rely on your own ability to market yourself and build up a base of clients.
Essentially, you will be required to advertise yourself and rely on references between clients you have trained and new ones.
This is a basic and simple definition for the things you will be required to do for your business model, but it helps to think of it this way.
There are some steps to help with the creation of a client base:
- Create loyal clients with thorough work
- Ask for referrals from loyal clients
- Write articles online and locally to get your name out
- Send out emails every week
- Make use of social media
- Offer free trial periods occasionally
- Get a working relationship with other professionals in healthcare
- Make a website
- Use testimonials to help advertise on your website
These nine steps can be some of the best ways to advance your client base and ensure you are working with as many clients as you can.
Make sure that you think about the things that would make you as a consumer want to hire a Nutrition Coach or instructor. This can help in a major way.
Read this: The Best Health Coach Certification
Experience will always play a role in the amount of money you can make in your health coach career.
People will generally pay more money to a proven and experienced professional with years of experience than they would to one that is just starting off in their career.
Generally, experience also means the attainment of additional credentials and knowledge.
Experience doesn’t have to just mean that the person has been in the career for a long time, it can also mean that you have worked under an educator with great experience or taken other forms of internships to gain knowledge from those that have done the job a long time.
The experience could also mean general knowledge and previous use of random specializations like vegan plans, natural eating, and behavioral psychologist work. There is no end to how many types of experience can be helpful in this industry. More is always better.
We should consider the sources and professionals that we go to when we are learning our profession as learning from a credible person can mean a world of difference in adding experience.
Education and credential can also tie into the last point of experience being a big part of your average salary as a fit professional and diet coach.
They can definitely go hand in hand, but added education and credentials are a more specific form of “experience.”
The credentials you choose for nutrition coaching will make a difference in the pay you receive as some are more respected than others.
It will also make a difference in pay when you look at the presence of a degree, or the lack of one.
A bachelor’s degree is not required to get the average job in nutrition coaching, but it can be for higher-level and salaried jobs, so this is a consideration to make once you’ve decided the exact route you wish to take. Make sure to look into job descriptions for the exact job you wish to have.
Now that we know how the combination of credentials and overall level of experience affects the average salary of a Nutrition Coach, let’s dive into the popular certifications within the nutrition coaching field.
To find how respected certification is, we should consider their level of accreditation and their popularity in the job market.
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Here are some of the most popular certifying organizations and the main considerations to look at with them.
- ISSA Nutritionist
- NASM Certified Nutrition Coach
- Precision Nutrtition Level 1
- NCSF Sports Nutrition
- NESTA Nutrition
- ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist
- AFPA Nutrition
Check out our graph below that shows our personal ratings of each of these comprehensive nutrition certifications!
|Certification||Accreditation||Cost||Quality||Passing Grade||Pass Rate||Retake Fee||Popularity (searches per month)||Study Time||Primary Focus||CEU Requirements|
|ISSA Nutritionist||DEAC||$799||7/10||75%||54%||Free||590||6 Months||Advanced Nutrition Programming||20 hrs in 4 years|
|NASM CNC||NCCA||$899||7/10||70%||90%||Free||320||6 Months||Nutrition Programming||Renewal Exam every 2 years|
|PN Level 1||None||$799||8/10||75%||79.15%||Free||140||Unlimited||Nutrition Programming, Business Integration||not needed|
|NCSF Sport Nutrition||NCCA||$299||8/10||70%||n/a||n/a||10||6 Months||Performance Enhancement Nutrition Programming||20 hrs in 2 years|
|NESTA Nutrition||NCCA||$297||6/10||70%||66%||$95||20||3 Months||Nutrition Programming||not needed|
|ACE Fitness Nutrition||NCCA||$599||6/10||500 points||65%||$199||70||9 Months||Performance Enhancement Nutrition Programming, Business Integration||20 hrs in 2 years|
|AFPA Nutrition||NCCA||$499||6/10||85%||70%||$75||110||6 Months||Nutrition Programming||16 hrs in 2 years|
If you’d like to see the basic information for these respective certifications and want to know more specific details on each nutrition coach certification program, registration, and examination, check out the links below:
An important read: Personal Trainer Salary
As an ISSA Nutritionist, your salary is approximately $46,352.00 per year, which is not too bad!
Next, let’s look at the National Academy of Sports Medicine, or NASM’s nutrition certification and the expected salary.
NASM Certified Nutrition Coaches’ income often varies.
For instance, top earners make about 57k annually, in the 75th percentile, NASM Nutrition Coaches bring in 43k, the average sits at around $41,125.00, while the 25th percentile and newly certified Nutrition Coaches earn around $31,500.00.
And that’s not all, because if you have other credentials or certifications besides the NASM nutrition certification, then your income may be more than what’s expected.
Moving on, to Precision Nutrition.
Average earnings for Precision Nutrition Coaches are approximately $49,000.00 a year, given they work at least 30-40 hours.
Next, we have the NCSF, which is the National Council on Strength and Fitness nutrition, and a well-establish company in the fitness industry that was created back in 1996.
The average annual salary for those who are an NCSF-SNS (Sports Nutrition Specialist) is roughly $47,000.00, which is about the same salary as those with other food and nutrition certifications.
And now, we’ll touch upon NESTA, the shortened form of The National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association, which was founded back in 1992.
NESTA Nutrition coaches earn approximately anywhere between $39k – $101k per year.
This depends on employment type, years of experience, education, location, and basically, the whole 9!
Now, what about ACE Fitness Nutrition Coaches?
The ACE Fitness Nutrition is one of the biggest in nutrition, just like its CPT.
ACE Fitness Nutrition Coaches make roughly $50k per year on average, which isn’t bad for a reputable nutrition cert.
Lastly, The American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA), founded in 1994, has been set out to bring health and fitness certifications to professionals with a passion for affordable entrance to their health and fitness careers.
For top earners, the typical AFPA Holistic Nutrition & Wellness Consultant salary is about $83,000 per year, whereas average earners brought in median annual salaries of around $55,000.
This is spectacular!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Nutrition coaching is a rapidly growing specialization in the health and wellness fields.
It can be very profitable for new entries into the nutrition coaching business and is undoubtedly a great option for current personal trainers and group exercise instructors to add to their repertoire.
Nutrition Coaches will have a variety of tasks, such as keeping athletes in shape, helping athletes get stronger, assisting people in the ways they eat and also helping change the lifestyle choices of the general population understanding basic behavioral psychology.
As discussed above in more detail, nutrition coaching salary can be very lucrative, all depending on you!
In other words, if you want to make a decent salary as a Nutrition and Wellness Coach, keep in mind the factors that may influence your earning potential.
Things like educational background, experience, other certifications and specializations, degrees, location, ability to maintain and retain clients, and employment type all influence your pay.
Overall, the median salary for Nutrition Coaches ranges between $45k – $57k per year, with top earners making around $80k – $101k or more!
Good luck with your future in the health and fitness industry!
We know that given this knowledge on Nutrition Coach salary, there is no doubt that you’ll make your career as a certified Nutrition Coach outstanding!
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