This post may contain affiliate links.
With all of this time off, wouldn't it be nice to learn something? I've always wanted to earn a certification in animal nutrition, but I don't have the time. I work full-time, I manage three blogs, we're raising five dogs and a cat, plus I'm a DIY raw feeder.
Several years ago, I took the Pet Food Nutrition course offered by Dogs Naturally Magazine and I still have the Raw Feeding and Herbal courses awaiting my attention – but these aren't true certifications. We receive a certificate of completion, but this isn't something I can put on a resume or LinkedIn as proof that I know what I'm talking about.
Dogs Naturally Magazine is one of the biggest pet focused websites and while the courses they offer are very informative, if someone is building a business in pet nutrition, the DNMU certifications may not be enough because DNMU isn't an accredited university. It's an online magazine. #NoShade
I woke up this morning and wondered if there were online certificate programs that would stand up to scrutiny if i put them on a resume or LinkedIn. I asked friends on Facebook and they shared the following. This is not a complete list.
Companion Animal Sciences Institute (CASI)
Canine Nutrition / Advanced Canine Nutrition
All certificate or diploma programs of study are completely distance oriented. You do not have to attend classes at a physical location and your program starts as soon as you are enrolled. For most courses, you can expect to work through course notes and/or required course textbooks and answer assignment questions. This allows your instructor to ensure you are developing the program objectives and provides them with an opportunity to help you where you are having any trouble. You may also make use of the Classroom for asking questions and participating in discussion on the assignment topics. CASI provides In-depth, challenging, personal interest courses and programs of study in dog nutrition and fitness. These are not cursory basic courses. The textbooks utilized are, for the most part, university level textbooks.CASI website
- Fees: Each certification is $999 (CAD) / $706 (USD)
If I were to take any of the courses listed here, I would choose this one because (1) I know several people who have taken it, (2) it's a respected program in the pet lover community, and (3) it's in my price range. From the friends who have taken this course, it's no jokes. At the moment, I'm working a full-time job, my blogging business takes a tremendous amount of my time, I'm caring for five dogs and a cat, and then there's the house chores and yard work. I would need to take a break from blogging or from my day job to make the time to fit this in, so it's on my radar, but not something I'm going to invest in at the moment.
Royal Animal Health University (RAHU)
Certified Integrative Animal Caregiver (CIAC) Certification
CIAC for all Students: There are 10 core modules and many electives available in the certification course. In completing this certification, students will develop a practical understanding of the natural causes of health for each species and the ability to navigate through the many healthcare options available for animals. This body of knowledge we will create a more educated and proactive healthcare partnership between veterinary caregivers, pet parents and the animal industry.RAHU Website
- Fees: Total Certification costs $999 One Time Payment or Payment plan of $99 x 11 months ($1089 total)
I love this one because I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dr. Barbara Royal and I've invested in the Animal Diet Formulator and I'm happy with the product. I think that this could be an interesting program that goes beyond animal nutrition and I would very much be interested in signing up, but I need more information on the time commitment involved.
While the following programs are impressive, each one is far out of my budget. If I were launching a business as a nutrition consultant and professional meal formulator, then one of these programs might work out to be an excellent investment. However, as a pet blogger, these programs wouldn't be the best use of my limited funds.
NCTM for Equine and Companion Pets
Diploma of Nutrition for Companion Pets
Nutrition for Companion Pets provides the student with information based on researched outcomes of what our canine and feline loved ones are designed to eat and how this pertains to the various stages of their life. The information contained in this course has been complied with the astute help of two very important Veterinarians who have made natural nutrition for dogs and cats a priority to aid in reducing the more common conditions and diseases that affect so many dogs and cats of today. At the end of this course the student will understand what is a species specific diet, the merit of food products available, versus the nutritional quality, digestibility and purity of raw appropriate foods and therefore use objectivity when professionally prescribing a complete diet that meets each nutritional requirement for dogs and cats on an individual basis.NCTM Website
- Fees: $2700 (AUD) / $1699 (USD)
Academy of Natural Health Sciences
Nutrition Online Certification
The Academy has one of the best online nutrition certification programs available. We teach you how to be a nutritionist with the most complete online nutrition education of its kind. Our holistic, online nutrition certification sets us apart from what other online nutrition schools are offering. We offer a combination of theory and real-life, practical application training that can make you a highly competent nutritionist. We invite you to compare our certification to your favorite University online nutrition degree program.ANHS Website
- Fees: Tuition = $3,095.00; Down payment = $500.00; Balance due = $2,595.00; Balance paid in 10 monthly payments of $259.50. Approximate cost of text books and materials (not included): $400 for new books
Pet Nutrition Coach Certification
The NAVC Pet Nutrition Coach Certification program prepares veterinarians and animal hospital staff with the knowledge and tools necessary to communicate and provide expert guidance for clients about their pet’s nutritional needs. Pet nutrition and feeding management are vital aspects of preventive and therapeutic veterinary care, that’s why it’s important that your veterinary healthcare team is the definitive source for pet nutritional information and advice.NAVC Website
- Fees: $199 per person, with group discounts available if you'd like to have employees certified in pet nutrition.
Companion Animal Nutrition Certificate
The Companion Animal Nutrition Certificate program is an online program that gives industry professionals, veterinarians, animal scientists, pet breeders, and pet enthusiasts the opportunity to take in-depth courses on various aspects of companion animal nutrition. Course topics include canine and feline metabolism, nutrient functions and requirements, pet nutrition and disease, pet food ingredients, principles of diet formulation, pet food processing technologies, good manufacturing practices, pet food regulations, and market trends. In order to be accepted, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree. No specific discipline for this bachelor’s degree is required.Illinois ACES Website
- Fees: $700/credit ($2,100 for each 3-credit course). The certificate, which requires three courses of three credits each, would cost a total of $6,300.
More Opportunities in the Pet Industry
- Enhance Your Pet Nutrition Knowledge With These 10 Resources
- How to Position Yourself As the Pet Nutrition Expert in Your Community
Beware of The Following Websites
I have returned to update this post with a warning and will add to this list as I learn more.
Beware of Shaw Academy
Starting the weekend of May 9, I began seeing ads on Facebook for a company called Shaw Academy. They are offering 90% off their courses and I considered enrolling in a course for coaching. This is an industry that I've always enjoyed and I believed a certification could benefit my business, Keep the Tail Wagging®.
The second time I saw an ad, I decided to check out the company to make sure they are legit and this is what I found:
- a review on Quora posted in October 2017: Totally awful experience! Avoid it asap because it's totally scam and theft.
- billing complaints to the Better Business Bureau of Wilmington, Delaware, the most recent being March 16, 2020 (at the time of this update).
- WorkFromHomeReview.net updated their review May 2020, Is Shaw Academy a Legit Learning Platform or a Scam?, after receiving many complaints.
- The Shaw Academy Review – Why I Didn't Join by LegitimateAffiliateTraining.com is another interesting read that convinced me that this is a company to be avoided.
- TheMakeMoneyOnlineBlog.com also wrote a review, however, check out the comments. I did see one positive in a see of complaints.