Last updated on September 26th, 2023.
The keto diet is growing very popular among people of all ages, but some people may struggle with knowing exactly what to eat on a keto diet. This is when a Certified Ketogenic Nutritionist comes into play to help those who want to learn how to become the healthiest that they can be.
To become a Certified Ketogenic Nutritionist (CKN), you must complete the appropriate training courses and be a Certified Nutrition Specialist or higher. After passing the courses, an examination will take place. If passed, you will become a Certified Ketogenic Nutritionist.
There may only be five steps to becoming a CKN, but the journey can take a while for many. It takes time to learn everything you will need to know in order to be able to safely help others with their nutrition. If someone were to just go off on their own and try and guide others without training, it could lead to medical issues. Read on to find out everything you need to know about how to become a Certified Ketogenic Nutritionist.
What is a Ketogenic Nutritionist?
A Ketogenic Nutritionist is someone who is already a nutritionist but has had extra training specializing in the ketogenic diet. They can work with you in person or via video chat to help you on your weight loss journey. They will help you with where to start and to keep you on track along the way.
The great thing about them is it is not necessarily a person you will need to go see often.
Certified Ketogenic Nutritionists are almost always available by:
- Video calling
This makes it easier when dieting as it is so easy to fail and harder to get motivated when you can’t reach out to someone often. It is hard to push yourself to go to the gym or eat right in the beginning. If you have someone to help push you or share their medical advice, you will thrive in your keto diet. Being a Ketogenic Nutritionist is different than being a certified keto coach, although both are very helpful.
What Does a Ketogenic Nutritionist Do?
A Ketogenic Nutritionist will help guide you on the right track. It can be very overwhelming when you are starting to try a new diet and even more so with keto. There is a right and wrong way to do the keto diet. It is not just eating one type of food or not eating at certain times.
The nutritionist can help those that may need a special diet due to health reasons such as:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol Issues
- Heart Disease
People that have any of these health issues can benefit from having help with the way they eat. Many people feel much better and can manage their illness easier when they are following the right diet. They will take all of the guesswork out of the keto diet for you. You can put your trust into them, knowing they have had a lot of training the be able to be certified.
Your Certified Ketogenic Nutritionist will work together with you to meet the goals you have set. It doesn’t matter if your goals are to:
- Lose weight
- Eat healthier
- Feel better
- Eat more of what you want
All of these can easily be done with the help of your CKN, no matter what you may want your outcome to be.
Is There A Difference Between Keto and General Nutrition?
There are quite a few differences between Ketogenic Nutrition and General Nutrition. General Nutrition is what it sounds like as it covers all of the basic nutrient needs of the human body and what the USDA recommends a person should eat daily to be at their healthiest.
General Nutrition will more follow the USDA guidelines of having a well-balanced daily meal of:
Unlike the keto diet that steers clear of many items on the list as they have found a system to make the body go in a state of ketosis, General Nutrition will not have as much fat as the keto, far less in fact. It also allows carbs and fresh fruits, unlike the keto diet.
Whereas a Ketogenic Nutrient focuses on eating a diet that is very high in fat. The diet also consists of food that is very low in carbs. When you eat this way, your body is put into what is known as a state of ketosis.
When your body is in ketosis, it will then start to burn fat to fuel you. This is a widely popular way to lose weight, and there is no wonder why many people all over the world are doing a keto diet.
As mentioned above, the diet, or any diet for that matter, can seem very overwhelming at first, just like plant based nutrition for beginners. This is why a Ketogenic Nutritionist is such an important part of your process when you are learning keto.
It is important to note there are many people out there that may refer to themselves as a nutritionist, but they are not certified. You will not know their level of training, so it is best to stay with someone you can trust to guide you in the right direction. Said differently, ask when and how they became certified.
Five Steps to Become a Certified Ketogenic Nutritionist
If you want to try your hand at becoming a Certified Ketogenic Nutritionist, it is not as easy as just taking a simple test. To become certified, you will need to do a decent amount of training and then sit for an exam. If this is something that you are interested in, you will need to work hard, but the outcome will be more than worth it.
You will be able to help many people reach their goals and become healthier in life. You will also have your certification standing behind you, which can open many doors to job opportunities for you in the future. Now let’s look at the five steps it takes to become a Certified Ketogenic Nutritionist.
Decide if Becoming a Ketogenic Nutritionist Is Right for You
The first step is to figure out if taking on a ketogenic program is something you can do both financially and mentally. It can be a lot to take on and handle in the time frame given to complete and pass the program.
It is highly recommended to already have some form of background in Nutrition. Many people will take classes and courses for nutrition. If you already are in the medical field as a nurse or doctor etc., you can just jump right into the program of your choice. Depending on your background, you may need to start with the basic course or even start a nutritionist program before a ketogenic one.
Figure Out What Type of Program You Will Need To Enter
The next step when wanting to become a Certified Ketogenic Nutritionist is to get yourself into a program. There are two programs to choose from that are given by the American Nutrition Association that are for ketogenic. These courses are:
- Foundational Ketogenic Nutrition – This can be taken without any prerequisites. It is highly recommended that you know biochemistry or at least general science. This is why experience in the medical field is beneficial, but many do just dive right in and do well in the program.
- Advanced Ketogenic Nutrition – This program is for those that have already taken some form of a program or have experience in the following:
- Nutrition assessment
- Nutrition therapy
Both programs do take time and effort to complete. They also cost between $295 – $695 just for the program itself.
Enroll in a Ketogenic Nutritionist Program
After deciding which program you would like to choose, you can finally enroll. Both programs are completely online. The programs must be completed in under three to six months. They are self-paced, which is great for those that work, go to school, or have a life in general. There are quite a few differences between the two sources, which are:
|Foundational Course||Advanced Course|
|Hours required for course||16 plus supplement material||56 plus supplement material|
|The time it must be completed||Three months||Six months|
It is important to note that if you take the foundational course, you will then still need to take the advanced course to be able to sit for the Certified Ketogenic Nutrition Specialist Examination. The foundational course does not give you the right qualifications. If you do not have a medical background or any type of degree, you will end up taking the advanced course.
The Certified Ketogenic Nutritionist Specialist Examination
After you complete both courses (or the advanced course if you were able to jump right into that program), you will need to sit for the Certified Ketogenic Nutritionist Specialist Examination or CKNS. This exam is offered by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists and not the American Nutrition Association. They simply offer the programs.
To sit for the CKNS, you must complete the advanced program mentioned above but also at least be a Certified Nutrition Specialist or CNS.
You can also sit for the exam if you are:
- Doctoral Degree in Dietetics
- Doctoral Degree in Health Science/Medicine
- Doctoral Degree in Nutrition
- Masters in Dietetics
- Maters in Nutrition
- Medical Doctor
- Nurse Practitioner
- Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
- Registered Nurse
This is why if you are already in the medical field, the program will not only be much easier for you, but you will be able to easily sit for the CKNP exam. The exam is offered twice a year, every year in March and September.
Passing The Certified Ketogenic Nutritionist Examination
First, you will need to apply for the exam, at which point there will be a $50 application processing fee. You will need to wait up to two weeks to hear back about your application. Apply as early as you can, so if any issues may come up with your application, you will have time to handle them. Once you are approved to take the exam, you will need to pay $150 to take the exam.
Once you have taken the exam, you will need to wait for your results. If you fail the exam, you will be able to retest at the next testing time.
This is not a big problem for some but keep in mind you still must qualify and have everything in good standing to take the exam again; otherwise, you will be waiting yet again.
If you do pass the exam, you will then be a Certified Ketogenic Nutritionist. There are requirements to keep your CKN in good standing. You will need to complete thirty continuing education hours every five years to recertify with the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialist. You will also need to pay a $125 fee.
Becoming a Certified Ketogenic Nutritionist
It may be a long road to becoming a CKN than you had initially thought, but within two years, you should easily have the programs finished and have taken the exam. You will then be doing what you love and helping those to lose weight with the ketogenic diet.