Choosing a course is the first step to a new career or a new way of life so it is important that you choose the college that will provide you with the best training to suit your needs and will support you throughout your studies. We pride ourselves on the support that we offer our students throughout their time with us and also after they graduate.
When researching different training providers it can be difficult to ascertain who will best meet your education requirements. We have therefore put together a series of questions that will help you to determine which college and course is the best for you. Any training provider should be prepared to offer you as much information as possible regarding their courses, costs, course material, lecturing team and course recognition. At IHS we aim to offer total transparency to all potential students so that you can make an informed decision on the courses we offer:
Quality of course material – how up to date is it?
It is important that you study material based on the latest, evidence based research. To this end, all IHS courses have unit leaders for every unit who update the material constantly. This also enables IHS to use this new research to run short CPD courses for healthcare professionals from all disciplines such as Functional Nutrition for Healthcare Professionals, Health and Wellness Coaching, Personalised Sports Nutrition, Certificate in Stress Management and Coaching Skills for Everyday Life.
Course Material – What is provided to assist me in my studies?
IHS provides student handbooks, study skills guides, home study material and unit information (including all learning outcomes students are expected to meet). We also provide all clinical practice paperwork and handbooks required for each year. Video clips, test your knowledge questions and quizzes through our e-Learning management system allow you to brush up your knowledge at a time that suits you. We make student research projects, sample distinction assessments, case studies and client information sheets on individual foods and supplements etc available to other students so that all members of a class can benefit from each other’s efforts. We also provide past exam papers for revision purposes.
Standard of Course: Has the course material been externally validated?
It is important that you are confident of the quality of the course, course material and training provider when making a decision to study. External validation by a respected and independent body of experts can help ensure you make the right decision. Accreditation and validation should only be conducted by independent bodies with expertise in education and the relevant healthcare industry. Your prospective training providers and their accreditation/validation partners should be transparent with the procedures used and any affiliations which may compromise their impartiality. The education level of your training course should be high enough for graduates to join relevant trade associations to demonstrate practitioners have the required skills to work with members of the public.
The CI Level 4 Diploma in Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching is approved by Ofqual as a UK level 4 regulated qualification, which guarantees learners a high quality learning experience and employers, members of the public and others that the learner and the centre have reached the required standards. The Level 6 Diploma in Nutritional Therapy is a self regulated qualifications which is academically certified by Crossfields Institute, an Ofqual regulated awarding organisation.
Who will be teaching me?
For longer practitioner training courses you should be taught by a good variety of lecturers and unit leaders with whom you will have regular contact throughout your chosen course. Ideally these would each expert in their own field with extensive teaching experience.
At IHS we have a passionate and committed team of educators, highly qualified and respected in their fields. On any course lasting one academic year or more we ensure that students have contact with a variety of unit leaders and lecturers as each has their own style of clinical practice and teaching. Exposure to different approaches and philosophies helps to broaden our students’ skills and knowledge. Before studying with IHS we are happy for you to speak to any member of our academic team so you can verify their experience and their regular and continued involvement with the college. ALL our teaching and clinical supervising team have valuable clinical experience which can be passed to IHS students.
Student Support: How will I be supported in my studies?
As a student you need to know that you will receive ongoing academic support and mentoring during your studies. Specific details of the support you will receive should be outlined by prospective training providers.
IHS provides group tutorials, optional online tutorials and there are online forums for all courses to allow discussion and clarification on material and assignments. Both directors – Suzanne and Laurence – are directly involved in the day to day running of the college and in supporting students throughout their time with IHS. IHS also has a dedicated student support officer who can offer additional support to any students struggling with their studies, with specific learning challenges or simply requiring additional support.
Clinical Practice: How many clinical hours are provided?
Clinical practice should be an integral part of any practitioner training course you choose. Ask for details of the number of clinical hours included on any course you choose and the scope of clinical practice i.e. how exactly will they prepare you for practice.
IHS believe that clinical practice is the most important element of training to become an integrative healthcare professional as we believe that the hands-on application of theory provides the best learning experience. All our practitioner training courses include clinical practice in the form of a combination of role play, videoed case studies, case study based assignments, communication/coaching skills practice and reflection.We specifically require our Nutritional Therapy students to have 250 clinical hours by the end of their studies. These hours are reached by attending relevant lectures and clinical practice weekends (including all of the above activities) and also through supervised clinical practice in Years 3 and 4. We begin our clinical practice for Nutritional Therapy students in Year 1 of their course which ensures that they are very familiar and competent with the practice of nutritional therapy by the time they have to take clients in Year 4.
Student Satisfaction: How do I know that you really are the best?
The most direct way to learn about student satisfaction with a college is to talk to students that are studying with the college to determine how satisfied they are with the quality of service.
We constantly monitor student satisfaction by conducting anonymous student satisfaction surveys. This ensures IHS maintains and constantly improves upon its high standards. Many of our graduates also agree to speak with prospective students to help advise them on our courses but also opportunities after graduation.
Built-in Awards: Can I start to practice while I am studying?
A good course will have appropriate awards built into the course throughout.
After year 1 of the Level 6 Diploma in Nutritional Therapy students receive the CI Level 4 (UK) Diploma in Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching and so can start seeing clients as a Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach whilst continuing their studies.
Course Recognition: Are your courses recognised by the appropriate industry bodies?
All IHS courses are recognised by the appropriate leading independent registering bodies. We do not affiliate ourselves with any association that is not completely independent of all training providers. It is important that your qualification allows you to register with a body that is not directly affiliated with any training provider, as this ensures impartiality when setting standards within the industry.
The IHS Diploma in Nutritional Therapy is recognised by NTOI (Nutritional Therapists of Ireland), the independent professional body that represent nutritional therapists in Ireland. On graduation, you can become a full member and gain your professional insurance to start practicing. Contact NTOI directly for their input on the different nutrition courses available in Ireland www.ntoi.ie. Our Diplomas in Nutritional Therapy and Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching are also recognised by the Complementary Medical Association (CMA) www.the-cma.org.uk and the Diploma in Nutritional Therapy by the Federation of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners (FNTP) www.fntp.org.uk. Our Diploma in Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching is also approved by the UK Health Coaches Association for full membership. The Nutritional Therapy diploma is written to the standards outlined in the Nutritional Therapy Council (UK) core curriculum. Our health & wellness coaching course is also accredited by appropriate bodies, please see the respective course pages on this website.
What are my career opportunities? What are the college graduates doing now?
It is important that you understand not only what career opportunities are open to you upon graduation but also how you may achieve your goals within your chosen field.
At IHS we pride ourselves on qualifying competent and confident practitioners. IHS graduates have not only set up their own clinics, but also write for magazines and national media, work with community based projects and some of our graduates are working overseas to name a few!
Costs of study: What do the course fees cover?
You should understand and be able to budget for all costs associated with a course prior to enrolment. Be sure to ask all prospective training providers about hidden costs associated with their courses so you do not get any nasty surprises once you commence your studies!
Our course fees include the cost of online course material, online tutorials, assignment corrections, clinical practice and personal tutor support. There are no hidden costs. The only other cost to you will be your course books and dietary analysis software access where required. IHS course fees are all listed on this website or can be obtained by contacting the office directly.
Study progression: What options are there for further study after graduation from my chosen course?
Nutritional Therapy: As degree level programmes in Nutritional Therapy are not available in Ireland it is important to know your options in terms of upgrading your qualification to degree level and above should you wish to. It should be made clear to you by prospective training providers whether options available are solely for their students or available to graduates of all Nutritional Therapy diplomas. Any claims can be verified by contacting the relevant education providers.
IHS Nutritional Therapy graduates can apply for direct access onto the MSc in Personalised Nutrition with the Centre of Nutrition and Lifestyle Management (CNELM) validated by Middlesex University.
Diploma in Nutrition and Lifestyle Coaching graduates may choose to continue their studies with IHS and either upgrade to a Diploma in Nutritional Therapy or choose from our growing list of CPD and short courses.
Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching: Graduates from this programme may choose to complete a Certificate in Advanced Wellness Coaching Competencies with the Wellness Coach Training Institute (www.realbalance.com).