Recognition / Endorsement
The IOPN Diploma is an advanced (EQF Level 7) practice-focussed education program. Many of our students undertake the IOPN Diploma to bridge the gap between their university academic-focussed studies and “real world” practice.
Most of our students who have a relevant degree (i.e. sport and exercise science, nutrition, dietetics etc) undertake the IOPN Diploma to enhance their practice-focussed knowledge and credentials in order to increase their employability and most importantly their confidence and competence to practice in both professional team settings and/or in private practice as a specialist in sport and exercise nutrition.
See what our students and graduates have to say about the IOPN Diploma in these testimonials (PDF download).
Current Endorsements / Recognition
We are proud to have thus far achieved the following recognition for the IOPN Diploma, which is endorsed and/or recognised by the following professional bodies:
- SENr (Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register): The course content has been endorsed for CPD by the British Dietetic Association’s Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (current period of endorsement is May 2020 to May 2021). SENr endorsement applies only to the educational content of the learning activity. Completion of the diploma will not lead to automatic qualification or graduate registration onto the SENR register, but can be used as suitable evidence of learning to support a relevant application for SENr registration in which an IOPN Diploma graduate will be able to demonstrate their ability to meet many of the professional competencies outlined in the SENr Competency Framework for those that are eligible to apply (typically those with undergraduate and/or postgraduate degrees in nutrition, dietetics, or sport and exercise science).
- AfN (Association for Nutrition): The course content has been endorsed under the AfN CPD endorsement scheme from January 2020 to January 2022. This means that it is considered to be appropriate CPD activity to further the professional knowledge and learning of AfN registrants, and as suitable evidence of learning to support a portfolio application for UKVRN registration as a sport and exercise nutrition specialist in those that are eligible to apply (typically those with undergraduate and/or postgraduate degrees in nutrition, dietetics, or sport and exercise science).
- SDA (Sports Dietitians Australia): The course has been endorsed for CDP (50 Professional Development Points) to support suitably qualified candidates toward accredited and advanced Sport Dietitian status. For context: An SDA Accredited Sports Dietitian requires a minimum of 100 CDP Professional Development points per 3 year cycle.
- ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine): IOPN accredited as an approved education provider.
- PINES (Professionals in Nutrition for Exercise and Sport): recognition of IOPN Diploma and eligibility for student and professional membership.
- ECSS (European College of Sports Science): recognition of IOPN Diploma in Performance Nutrition students and graduates for membership.
More national and international academic and professional body accreditations and recognition are currently being sought.
Academic vs Professional Education
They are not the same thing. They both have much to offer, and here is our perspective on both approaches to education:
An academic or research degree, such as an MSc or PhD, typically focusses on a specific and theoretical field of study (i.e. Sport and Exercise Nutrition) and is often much more research-oriented than professional programs such as the IOPN Diploma. Academic courses build on the technical knowledge that is learned throughout the program, and students are typically required to plan, organise, and conduct research to complete their coursework on a very specific topic. Academic degree programs often require many written projects and a substantial written final project (typically a dissertation) based on their research in order to graduate. Whereas professional education programs are designed to directly prepare students for a particular career, such as being a performance nutritionist working in professional team settings and or private practice, with practice-focussed skill-based projects to emulate work-based activities and practice-relevant written coursework, such as multiple comprehensive “actual client scenario” case-studies, as employed on the IOPN Diploma.
A professional education program, such as the IOPN Diploma, is specifically designed to help students prepare for careers in specific fields, such as being a sport and exercise nutrition specialist (AKA Performance Nutritionist) working for a sports team or in private-practice. The length of the program can vary considerably and can span anywhere from one to five years, depending on the level of the program (i.e. PGCert to Doctorate), the learning mode of study (100% online, blended learning, or taught on campus only), mode of study (i.e. part-time, full-time, flexible study etc), and the institution you attend. Professional programs tend to be more flexible and fit-around the student’s other work and life commitments, with academic programs typically being more rigid in terms of ability to integrate with work and life commitments.
Professional education programs such as the IOPN Diploma, typically put a much greater focus on “real-world” application, with many professional programs requiring students to complete practical projects (rather than written projects) in their field of study before graduation. This allows students to gain extensive “job relevant” training which enables them to perform more competently and confidently in the workplace (“real world”) as soon as they graduate, which employers value highly.
In reality, it is our firm belief, that students should strive to achieve both an academic and a professional education in order to excel in professional practice. Both forms of education have a great deal to offer the student. They are very much complimentary to each other. It is on this basis the IOPN Diploma was developed, as a Level 7 program to advance and develop current and aspiring sport and exercise nutritionists, looking to excel in their career as both highly knowledgable and effective practitioners.
At this time the IOPN Diploma is unique in its class, being the only level 7 Professional Diploma program in Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Currently, the common pathway to a career as sport and exercise nutritionist is to obtain an academic qualification (PGCert, PGDiploma or MSc) in Sport and Exercise Nutrition. The rapid growth and popularity of our program, with students and graduates in over 70 countries world-wide in just a few years is evidence in-itself that the IOPN Diploma is fast becoming a viable, accessible, and efficient if not more logical, choice for many. Perhaps even more impressive, is that a rapidly growing number of professional sports teams and national sporting institutes (in the UK, Australia, USA, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Russia thus far) are recommending or even paying for their staff (nutritionists, dieticians, sport scientists, physiologists, performance chefs etc) to undertake The IOPN Diploma in Performance Nutrition.
Over and above our commitment to delivering the highest quality of evidence-based and practice-relevant knowledge and support on the IOPN Diploma in Performance Nutrition, we strive to ensure that our students will graduate with a credential that is also highly respected and recognised by employers, sports teams and relevant professional bodies and societies:
The European Qualifications Framework (EQF)
…and what that means for you as a student with the IOPN:
The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) is a way of mapping academic and vocational qualifications across EU member Countries. The EQF was officially adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in April 2008. The UK has completed the cross-referencing of its frameworks; the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).
The EQF is a common European reference framework which links countries’ qualifications systems together, acting as a translation device to make qualifications more readable and understandable across different countries and systems in Europe. It has two principal aims: to promote citizens’ mobility between countries and to facilitate their lifelong learning.
What are the benefits of using the EQF?
The EQF enables learners, learning providers and employers to compare qualifications between different Countries’ national qualifications systems.
This is thought to help increase mobility in the labour market within and between the countries because it makes it easy to determine a person’s level of qualification which in turn will improve the balance between demand and supply of knowledge and skills.
What levels and qualifications do the EQF cover?
The EQF is a lifelong learning framework and covers all types of qualifications ranging from those acquired at the end of compulsory education (Level 1) to the highest qualifications such as Doctorate (Level 8 in the QCF and Level 12 in the SCQF).
The framework also includes vocational (professional) qualifications such as the IOPN Level 7 Diploma in Performance Nutrition. Just like the RQF, the EQF consists of 8 levels which indicate the difficulty level and the EQF (as are both the RQF and SCQF) is focused on the outcome of learning and the person’s actual knowledge and skills rather than the amount of study needed to complete the qualification programme.