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Scope of Practice for Nutrition Coaches

Graphic image with photo of Sam Vander Wielen, attorney-turned-entrepreneur. This image includes the following text related to the blog article: You don’t have to teach everything you learn. The photo of Sam shows her wearing a tan sleeveless top and standing with her arms up in excitement. She has shoulder length brown hair, and is smiling.

Scope of Practice for Nutrition Coaches

This week I have a really great question from our reader, Sarah, all about scope of practice.

You have to promise me something —

That you’ll read this post, even if you’re not a health/wellness coach. (there’s a nasty rumor out there that I only help health coaches! Not true one bit — my customers include ALL kinds of coaches, practitioners, licensed pros etc).

Let’s jump into our Legal Q&A Sesh! 👇

The Question // Sarah asks,

 Can I give macro goals as a nutrition coach if my certification and education covers how to do that?

The Answer //

Don’t check out on this answer if you aren’t a health/wellness coach!

Scope of practice applies to ALL kinds of coaches — regardless of your industry. Every type of coach or practitioner has a licensed / professional body “above” it that dictates what it can / can’t do (money coach = CPA, accountant, financial planner; dating coach = therapist, doctor, etc)

The reason I chose Sarah’s question this week is because of a dangerous and misleading trend I’m seeing in our industry.

I’m seeing people mention how they’re under the belief that they can do X, Y, and Z (usually a higher “scope” service or area of advice) because it was something they learned about in their coaching or certification programs.

Here’s what you need to know about this:

Coaching programs, courses running by private individuals (money experts, doctors, nutritionists, naturopaths etc) are NOT able to expand your scope.

In other words, taking a course or certification program that’s run by a private company/individual does NOT give you any additional right to talk about things that are outside your scope of practice.

Courses and programs aren’t scope expanders.

⚠️ Our scope is dictated by our state governments and the laws and regulations states have on the books.

So if your state says that only RDs or licensed nutritionists or doctors can give medical advice on nutrition (which is what macros would be), then a private program you signed up for couldn’t make it legal for you to be able to teach macros now.

Learning about something does not make it legal for us to teach it others.

(And if you listened to this week’s On Your Terms episode, you know we don’t need to teach everything we learn to be successful anyway.)

I’m only telling you this so that:

  1. You know what’s actually in your scope of practice so you can stay out of legal trouble.
  2. You have this information available to you before you sign up for another coaching or certification program.

Now you know those ^ programs won’t make it possible for you to do things that are still outside your scope.

But hear me loud and clear — learning new skills is still SO valuable.

It helps you to be a better coach/practitioner AND it can make you more marketable on the job market. So if you’re looking to get a job at a company, then those additional skills could land you a job you might not have “qualified” for before. It just doesn’t expand your scope within your own biz.

So the long and short of it is, Sarah, that if “prescribing” macros isn’t in your scope (likely not as a nutrition coach) then no, you won’t be able to do it – even if you learned it in your program.

To learn more —

I’d recommend listening to Part I of my scope of practice episodes and then going right to Part II of that episode where ever you listen to podcasts.

Hope this was helpful! Off to see if you’ve replied yet to let me know 🙂



Do you feel the pressure to keep up with all the changes online? Or even to teach every single you learn as you go along? This week I’m chatting with you about the permission we all need to give ourselves to slow down & do things on our terms.


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