It has been quite some time since I’ve graduated from college, but I consider myself a forever student. I graduated with a psychology degree, convinced that I wanted to become a psychiatrist or counselor but towards the end of my college career, my lifestyle, and along with it, interests, changed drastically. Also, I realized I was the type of person who would cry with someone if they started crying which is probably not what most people are looking for in therapy!! I considered switching my major, or adding a minor onto my degree but unfortunately wouldn’t have enough time unless I wanted to forgo graduating early so instead I stuck to my psychology studies, focused on organizational psych and forgot about my other interests because I really didn’t want to go back to school or pursue higher education.

The funny thing is, when you’re passionate about something, the curiosity for it never really goes away. I became more and more interested in holistic healing, nutrition and yoga, so much so that I even started to consider going back to school for nutrition or medicine even though I said I was done with school. I was educating myself as much as I could, and would spend hours researching, reading books, attending workshops as it was, so I thought, why not invest the time in a formal certification?

I think it’s really valuable to formally educate yourself on a topic for your own education of course, but also for the safety of others if you intend to share. We can do our own research to the end of the Earth, but certifications are great things that make it more appropriate to share information as a qualified individual. Given that I had been blogging about all of the things I loved, I knew it would be beneficial in so many ways for me to pursue something a little more formal. The problem was, I had been traveling Asia and Australia for about 9 months after graduating early, so my options were geographically very limited and that’s when I fell in love with online certifications. Initially, I became familiar with online certifications because while I wanted to study nutrition, I was only interested in a program that focused on plant-based diets (as you know, I’m vegan myself and a firm believer in a plant-based diet for health), and I could really only find programs like that online.

So I started with my Yoga Teacher Training (IRL, not online) and at the same time, began studying Aromatherapy (Essential Oils) online, then after completion moved onto an online Mindfulness and Medication Certification and finally my Holistic Nutritionist Training, also online.

Overall, there are many benefits of pursuing a certification online. A few negatives, too, of course, but we’ll get into that in a second. Some of the benefits include:

  • Flexibility in timing
  • Studying at your own pace
  • No geographical limit!
  • Accommodates individuals who cannot commit to being a full time student (got a job? kids? already enrolled in physical school? no worries!)
  • May or may not require former education in the subject area
  • Can be much more affordable than a full time tuition

Things that are important to note are:

  • Some things are better IRL than online (this applies to most things in life, ha!). But really, things like yoga for example, are much better OFFLINE.
  • You need to pay attention to what your certification allows you to do/not to do. Most of the time, an online certification will not compete with formal higher education. For example. a nutritionist certification is VERY different from an Registered Dietitian certification.
  • Because of the flexibility in timing and the go-at-your-own-pace, I would not recommend this if you are not an organized person. It is easy to procrastinate, but there usually is a time frame within which you need to complete.
  • Consider whether or not you have access to all the materials you need. For my aromatherapy course, I needed access to specific essential oils and hydrosols and I needed access to specific herbs and plants for my holistic nutritionist certification.
  • What are your goals? If your goals are to open a practice, take on clients, or teach, make sure that the course you select will allow you to do so.

I asked you all over on Instagram to leave me your questions so I could provide additional insight (thank you!), but I would still highly recommend visiting the website for each school I’ve studied with for the most reliable and up to date information first (sometimes, programs/regulations change). It’s also a good idea to get in touch with a representative from the online school because they are usually very responsive, and can give you the most accurate and informed answers. Below are the courses I’ve completed and answers to the most frequently asked Qs! Side note: I will not be talking about my mindfulness + meditation course because I really did not enjoy it.


Where: New York Institute Of Aromatic Studies

Why: I initially became aware of this institute after attending an event hosted inside their lovely Lower East Side location. My intention was to attend as a regular student (versus online), however due to my schedule and travels overseas, I ended up committing to the online program. I actually had the opportunity to experience both in person and online, because I wanted to be able to provide others with insight into both, but this is typically not something you can do. Finally, this school is the only NAHA certified in the city.

Cost + Equipment: $650 for the foundations course + $495 for the introductory equipment, or opt to purchase equipment according to list on your own.

What you can do: You can start a business integrating essential oils, or practice as an aromatherapist and treat clients. The school offers continuing ed if you wish to further your practice.

General thoughts: If you have the opportunity to do an in-person course, I would highly recommend it because it is a very hands on and sensory experience. You smell oils together and can really pick the instructors’ brains (they are absolutely wonderful and so knowledgeable). That being said, you will have a great experience attending the online course as well, so long as you keep in mind that there is a lot of hands on work involved. You’ll be mixing oils, and creating beauty products at home if not in-school. This is a great course and highly recommended for anyone who uses essential oils or shares about them. You could be a wellness blogger or a holistic beauty product entrepreneur–either way it’s important that you’re properly educated if you choose to share about them.


Where: American Fitness Professionals & Associates

Why: AFPA offers a wide range of courses and certifications at various levels too. The certifications get as narrow as pre + post natal fitness, weight management specialist and youth nutritionist specialist. I specifically was looking for one that was nutrition focused, but didn’t intend to, say, open a practice, or really take on clients. For that reason, I wanted one that would provide me enough education to do so if I wanted to, but was not as intensive as a course built with the sole intention of my creating a business. I also wanted a course that focused on a plant-based/vegan diet that aligned with my own values, and found that the AFPA course texts were written by some of my favourite doctors and professionals in the plant-based nutrition space. Finally, as a firm believer in wellness as a holistic practice, I loved the variety of holistic health practices tied in with nutrition. You can expect mention of healing herbs, plants, Chinese medicine, ayurveda, meditation and so on.

Cost + Equipment: $899+ (choose between online texts, or print materials)

What you can do:

  • Counsel clients on basic rules of good holistic nutrition, healthy wholesome eating habits, and nutrition monitoring to improve their quality of life.
  • Advise on nutritional principles, food plans and diet modifications, and food selection and preparation.
  • Advise on habits for consciously eating healthy foods that promote vibrant physical and mental health while supporting a strong immune system and preventing disease.
  • Holistic Nutrition Consultants may perform the above, in addition to advising patients on buying organic, taking supplements, and other nutritional considerations.
    via AFPA website.

General thoughts: I absolutely loved “studying”, and I say studying because many of these texts I have read before and return to often. There was not only sound scientific evidence to support all dietary advice offered, but also an eye opening introduction into the current state of the medical/health industry in America. Finally, the holistic element was truly what set this program apart from the others I had looked into. You’ll find yourself brewing herbal infusions, dipping your toe into healing modalities beyond just consuming plants (but using them in other ways too), and really thinking about health as a mind-body-spirit experience. In addition to learning, I also completed the course feeling very prepared to take on clients SHOULD I wish to do that in the future.

And finally, what do I plan to do with my certifications? Many of you asked whether I planned to begin taking on clients, or what my goal was in doing all this learning. The answer is really that I just wanted to learn. Much of the information I studied was information that I had looked into on my own time and spent hours upon hours researching and reading scientific studies about. That being said, at the end of the day it was still my own research and not knowledge that I could say I was qualified to share. As you know I’m talking about food, veganism and holistic health non-stop here on this blog, in my newsletters, on podcasts, panels, in my Instagram captions and even throughout my YouTube videos, so having some sort of formal education was very important to me. I feel that pursuing education is a responsible thing to do if you intend to share/educate others about… really anything. So here we are! I am now a certified holistic nutritionist and aromatherapist, yoga teacher and a few other things.

I hope this is helpful and gives you insight into why I decided to pursue online certifications and continue to enroll in new courses on the internet. If you have any additional questions that were not answered in my blogpost, I would contact a representative of the school for more information. Next, I want to complete an herbalist course, but I’m taking a quick break from studying for the remainder of this month. 😉

Love & learning,


Filed under: Live, Thoughts

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BY Remy • April 4, 2019

Online Certifications & Why I Love Being a Student

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  1. Alisia says:
    Thank you for sharing this! I am about to begin my certification in holistic nutrition as well. My story sounds very much like yours...i went to school and got my degree in computer science....but never wanted to go that route! Good luck to you on your journey! God Bless!
  2. This was so helpful, I've been thinking about looking into some type of certification for holistic nutrition! Also, where are your glasses from?!? I LOVE them!!

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Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.

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