WPHNA’s certification system for public health nutritionists, starting July 2013, is a practitioner certification system part of the Association’s commitment to, and responsibility for, assisting the professionalization of the public health nutrition workforce worldwide. This system has been developed based on work conducted in the European Union and builds on consultation within the WPHNA membership.
Please refer to the this research paper that describes key features of the certification system.
What is certification?
The WPHNA’s certification system is a system of professional recognition based on the following principles and processes:
- It focuses on an individuals’ demonstrated competency to practice in public health nutrition across settings and jurisdictions
- It requires applicants to present the case and evidence that they meet the competency expectations of the WPHNA
- Assessment is based on peer-review of applications using the WPHNA competency standards as the assessment framework
Functions of the certification system
The primary functions of this certification system are a combination of workforce development and professionalization functions including:
- Setting a standard for peer review and continuing professional development guidance
- Setting benchmarks for competency attainment that inform workforce preparation and continuing education self-assessment
- Helping define the work of public health nutritionists
- Helping inform workforce recruitment (certification can be viewed as a credential), and
- To facilitate workforce mobility internationally.
The secondary functions of this certification system addressed consumer protection, including:
- Assures the public that certified practitioners meet defined quality standards, maintain practice standards and are accountable professionally.
- Provides a mechanism for individual practitioner accountability via complaints and re-certification processes.
Why become a WPHNA certified Public Health Nutritionist?
Professional recognition is a primary objective of the certification system, and successful applicants will be able to use the title “Certified Public Health Nutritionist” and the post-nominals “cPHN” (e.g. illustration purposes only: Barrie Margetts PhD. cPHN).
Self-Assessment and reflective practice is a key behaviour and defining practice of the health professions. The certification application process is designed to facilitate self-reflection and critical review of individual practitioners training, practice experience and commitment to practice in a professional manner.
Peer-review of certification applications provides an opportunity to have public health nutrition exemplars from around the world review and provide feedback on the applicants case, to comment on opportunities for further professional self development and to commend applicants with outstanding practice track records for higher level recognition and award by the Association (e.g. Fellowships).
Certification applications should only be submitted by individual practitioners who believe they have completed necessary university level qualifications (or equivalent experience) and have experience of practicing public health nutrition in the workplace or post-training settings. It is unlikely that a new graduate from a undergraduate nutrition degree would have the evidence of practice experience to satisfy the application review process.
All application forms and guidance materials about the certification are obtainable from this website and each step in the certification process are outlined in the following figure and description.
Certification applications and review incur a fee of:
- 100 Euro per year for applicants from high income countries; and
- 60 Euro per year for applicants from low and middle income countries.
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Applicants can decide to apply yearly, or to apply once for the period of 5 years.
Applicants who apply but fail to meet certification on initial application will have fees held in credit for a further application round.