How to Become a Weight Loss Specialist in 2024

More than 2/3 of American adults are overweight or obese.

Now more than ever, Americans need help losing weight. 

If you’re interested in helping people lose weight and keep it off for good, you can become a certified weight loss specialist.

With an average salary in the U.S. of $60,911, it makes more sense than ever to get your weight management certification; and the growing problem with obesity in American strengthens the need for the weight loss industry. Even with recent economic issues, the job outlook for the industry can see an increase of at least 0.08% in the coming years. 

To become a weight loss specialist, you’ll first need to take courses and get a certification. Here, we’ll discuss our top choices for weight loss certifications based on some objective analysis. Read on.

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NASM Weight Loss Specialist

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) offers a weight loss coach bundle which includes three of NASM’s essential course for your success:

You can also get the Weight Loss Specialization (WLS) certification separately if you’ve already been certified as a personal trainer. Course topics include the Obesity Epidemic, the science of weight loss, metabolism, nutrition, psychology, and more.

The details for the NASM Weight Loss Specialist certification are:

  • Prerequisite: Your CPT, since the program is a CEU specialization. 
  • Price: $629
  • Program Length: You have one year to complete your course by taking your final exam.
  • Recertification Requirements: The WLS itself does not require recertification, as it is considered a CEU for the CPT.

NASM’s certification is completely online and all of the resources for the course are digital.

ISSA Weight Management Specialist Certification

The International Sports Science Association (ISSA) upholds a gold standard of exercise and nutrition credentials. The organization is working to remove the stigma of vanity in weight loss and instead focuses on the health aspects of weight management. The ISSA Weight Management Specialist certification details are:

  • Prerequisite: Must be over 18 and have a CPR certification
  • Price: One payment of $399, 6 monthly payments of $66.50, or 12 monthly payments of $33.25
  • Program Length: From the point in which you purchase, you’ll need to complete the course and the exam within 8 months. You will still have access to the course indefinitely.
  • Recertification Requirements: After 2 years, you’ll need 20 hours of continued education to be recertified. There is a $99 renewal fee.

The course gives you the materials that you need to pass the exam, including digital textbooks, video lectures, and downloadable study materials. Once you complete the course, you will have access to a professional website and comprehensive student support.

ACE Fitness Weight Management Program

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) Fitness Weight Management Program helps certified weight loss trainers add professional credentials to their resumes and boost their business. The course is taught by experts in the weight loss industry. Topics include the science behind obesity, behavior changing, nutritional guidelines, pediatric obesity, bariatric surgery, and more.

  • Prerequisite: For an official ACE Specialist designation, you’ll need to hold a current professional certification in health education, fitness, or wellness, or be a licensed healthcare professional.
  • Price: One payment of $341.40, 6 monthly payments of $56.90, or 12 monthly payments of $28.45
  • Program Length: Once you purchase the course, you’ll have as much time as you need to complete it.
  • Recertification Requirements: Since this course is considered a CEU, there is no recertification necessary.

The program includes:

  • Recorded videos
  • Printable PDFs
  • Podcasts
  • Online quizzes

The program consists of 9 modules followed by an online quiz in which you must receive a score of 70% or higher. 

NESTA Lifestyle and Weight Management Certification

The National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association (NESTA) Lifestyle and Weight Management certification offers comprehensive training. The training comes from a reputable institution that can help you to learn the fundamental science and psychology behind nutrition and weight loss. Some of the course topics include healthy eating, tackling triggers, cooking a healthy diet, dietary supplements, fad diets and more.

The certification is available online and via online resources. 

  • Prerequisite: Since this course is considered a CPT CEU, you’ll first need a personal trainer certification.
  • Price: One single payment of $127
  • Program Length: Once you purchase the course, you’ll have unlimited access to the course. However, you’ll need to complete the course within one year of purchase.
  • Recertification Requirements: NESTA does not require recertification for this program.

You’ll need to pass a 100 question non-proctored online exam. If you do not get a 70% or higher after exam attempts, a $95 fee applies to retest.

NCCPT Weight Management Specialist Certification

The National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT) offers a Weight Management Specialist Program certification. The program has a focus on the nutritional aspects of weight loss. It uses the psychology behind eating to help clients lose weight and keep it off. You can expect to learn the principles of weight gain and weight loss, energy balance, how to conduct nutrition interviews, the energy content of food, and more.

  • Prerequisite: Since this course is considered a CPT CEU, you’ll first need a personal trainer certification and a valid CPR card.
  • Price: $199 for the exam only, $239 with study materials, and $279 for premium study materials like sample tests and study guides. There may also be an additional proctoring fee for the exam.
  • Program Length: From the date of purchase, you will have 6 months to take your exam. After 6 months, a late fee will be incurred.
  • Recertification Requirements: NESTA does not require recertification for this program.

The program’s exam is done through a live proctor (online or in-person depending on your location). You will be given 120 minutes to pass a 74 question exam with at least a 75% or higher.

AFPA Weight Management Specialist Certification

The American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA) offers a more holistic weight loss approach with their Weight Management Specialist certificate. Topics covered include obesity concepts, metabolic rate, body composition, lifestyle balancing, and more.

  • Prerequisite: You must hold a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant certification, Holistic Nutritionist Certification, or similar certification. You also must be 18 years of age and have a solid understanding of the English language.
  • Price: One payment of $649, or multiple payments over 3, 6, or 12 months using Affirm or PayPal Credit..
  • Program Length: From the date of purchase, you will have 6 months to take your exam. 
  • Recertification Requirements: You are required to earn 16 CEUs during each 2 year certification period. In addition, an $85 fee applies.

The exam requires an 85% or better to pass, and a $75 retest fee applies.

Benefits of a Weight Loss Certification

As a weight loss trainer, you will be able to reach your clients with empathy while using results-oriented science to help them meet their weight loss goals. 

The industry is growing as Americans continue to struggle with obesity – getting the certification means that you are creating a solution to a national problem. The above programs offer world-class knowledge allowing you to help others without resorting to another fad diet. 

With any of these programs, you will be recognized as an accredited weight loss specialist. The programs provided by these agencies are known for training top-rated weight loss specialists to help you achieve success in your career. 

Steps to Become a Weight Loss Specialist

The best online weight loss coach program for you depends on your budget and what you expect to get from the program. Once you’re certified, the steps to become a weight loss specialist are fairly straightforward. 

  1. You’ll need to get professional and general liability coverage to cover your business in the case of any client injuries or other dissatisfactions. This insurance coverage will protect you from any mishaps where clients may choose to sue your business.
  2. Start your business! A helpful course, such as this one from Fitness Mentors, will guide you through starting your new weight loss coaching endeavor. We’ll teach you how to optimize your brand, attract clientele, engage your prospects and close the sale to be on your way to financial freedom.

By getting started today, you are forging a path of success. Choose one of the above top-rated courses to get your weight loss specialist credentials in the near future. Contact Fitness Mentors today for a consultation that will help you determine the path best for you.

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