Why choose the Institute of Health Sciences?
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. With over 230 students currently enrolled on our various courses, we pride ourselves on the support that we offer our students throughout their time with us and also after they graduate. To date, over 300 students have graduated from IHS, including more than 100 Nutritional Therapists.
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 the latest, evidence based research. To this end, all IHS courses have module leaders attached to the various modules who update the material constantly. IHS being able to use this new research to run shorter courses for healthcare professionals from all disciplines such as Functional Nutrition for Healthcare Professionals, Health and Wellness Coaching and our new Functional Sports Nutrition course is testament to this.
Course Material – What is provided to assist me in my studies?
IHS provides student handbooks, study skills guides, lecture notes, home study notes, module information (including all learning outcomes students are expected to meet) and free web access to the scientific journals American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the Journal of Nutrition, Advances in Nutrition, Journal of Medicinal Food, Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Alternative and Complementary Therapies. Our lecture notes are referenced so that it is easy for you to complete extended reading without having to search these resources yourself. We also provide all clinical practice paperwork and handbooks required for each year. Interactive webinars, bootcamps 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 e.g. literature reviews, sample exam papers, sample assessments and collate assignments such as client fact sheets on different foods, supplements etc available so that all members of a class can benefit from each other’s efforts. We also have an extensive library including books and industry journals and magazines onsite at the Education and Research Centre in Dublin.
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 nutrition 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.
In our drive to have the diploma in Nutritional Therapy accredited as a degree programme, IHS has had our course validated by an independent team of top UK and Irish academics in conjunction with the Institute of Technology Carlow. We are still working towards final accreditation with HETAC or alternatively a UK university and are committed to gaining a formal degree accreditation for the Nutritional Therapy course. Our certificate courses in Dietary Counselling and Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology have been reviewed and accredited by ITEC.
Lecturing Team – Who will be teaching me?
There should be a good variety of lecturers, with whom you will have regular contact throughout your chosen course, each expert in their own areas with good lecturing experience. At IHS we have a passionate and committed team of educators, highly qualified and respected in their fields. We ensure that students have contact with the whole IHS team as each member has their own style of practice and teaching to help broaden our student’s skills and knowledge. Before studying with IHS we are happy for you to speak to any member of our lecturing 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 and we can guarantee that, from your first year of study with us, Nutritional Therapy and Dietary Counselling students will be taught by at least 4 different lecturers per year.
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 at every lecture weekend, monthly online tutorials and there are online forums throughout 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. Either Suzanne, IHS Director or Moira, Academic Manager, (or both) attend each lecture weekend so as to be available to students for queries, concerns etc. Louise Mullaney and Melissa Turner, IHS Administrators, are also IHS graduates and give exceptionally valuable support to students in terms of providing advice on assignments, clinics etc. IHS use their forums, a Facebook page and a website blog to update our students on latest developments in the arena of diet and health.
Clinical Practice: How many clinics 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 a nutritional therapist as we believe that the hands-on application of theory provides the best learning experience. We require our students to have 250 clinic hours by the end of their studies. These hours are reached by attending relevant lectures and clinical practice observation weekends, through in-class role plays, case study based assignments, video linked live cases and then through supervised clinical practice in Year 3 and 4. We begin our clinical practice for students in Year 1 which ensures that they are very familiar and competent with the practice of nutritional therapy by the time they have to take patients 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 offer all prospective students the opportunity to come to a lecture and meet with our current students. 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. Where possible, our open days run when we have lectures on so you can speak to our current students – even attend a lecture so that you can see how our lectures operate yourself!
Built-in Awards: Can I start to practice while I am studying?
A good course will have appropriate awards built into the course throughout. For example, the IHS Diploma in Nutritional Therapy offers a number of built in awards. After Year 1 you will receive the IHS Certificate in Dietary Counselling and may complete an ITEC exam and case studies to receive an ITEC Diploma in Nutrition for Complementary Therapists. During Year 2, you can complete an ITEC exam to gain an ITEC Diploma in Anatomy & Physiology.
However, it is worth noting that if your ultimate goal is to become a Nutritional Therapist then you should always keep this in mind when choosing your Nutritional Therapy course. Any interim awards offered should not detract from the standard of education you will receive throughout your time at your chosen college. At IHS we do not exclusively teach Dietary Counselling modules as year 1 of our diploma programme as our extensive experience teaching at different Nutritional Therapy training institutes has demonstrated that to understand the effects of nutritional elements on the body it is vital to study the workings of the human body (anatomy and physiology) alongside the nutritional science. We also believe that, by not introducing scientific subjects until year 2, students are not given the space and time required to build their knowledge in these areas prior to graduation.
Therefore, our course structure is based on the UK model where all accredited institutes teach the basic human sciences from year 1 onwards.
Course Recognition: Is this course recognised in Ireland?
NTOI (Nutritional Therapists of Ireland) are the only independent professional body that represent nutritional therapists in Ireland. 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 and, 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 diploma in Nutritional Therapy and certificates in Dietary Counselling are also recognised by the Federation of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners (FNTP) www.fntp.org.uk. The IHS Nutritional Therapy diploma is written to the standards outlined in the Nutritional Therapy Council (UK) core curriculum. Our health & wellness coaching and NLP courses are also accredited by the appropriate bodies, please see the respective 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, one graduate appears as an expert on the Afternoon Show and some of our graduates are working overseas to name a few!
What support does the college offer graduates afterwards?
As many graduates will become either partially or solely self employed it is important to know that you still have a support system helping you achieve your career goals.
The IHS mentoring scheme is a collection of services uniquely aimed at supporting Nutritional Therapy graduates in Ireland (we will be expanding this to include Dietary Counsellors very shortly). Most Nutritional Therapists will become either fully or partially self-employed and may involve a number of different activities. Therefore, for graduates to develop a successful and long term career, they need to keep up-to-date with the latest research, and also take guidance and support from those who have experience in the field and have already carved out a successful career.
Individuals signed up to the IHS mentoring scheme can benefit from:
- 1-2-1 personal mentoring from experts in many fields of nutritional therapy, healthcare and communication skills. Sessions may involve discussion on complex cases, specific elements of a case, client communication and how to move their business forward.
- Information on postgraduate education opportunities.
- Discounts and special offers on all IHS postgraduate courses and seminars.
- Access to top industry scientific journals.
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! IHS course fees are listed in the college prospectus and can be obtained by contacting the office. Our course fees include the cost of course materials, monthly classroom and online tutorials, assignment corrections, clinical practice, exam fees (except for repeats), personal tutor support and cooking days. There are no hidden costs. The only other cost to you will be your course books but IHS have chosen books that will be useful to you throughout your studies and later when you are practicing. We also have an extensive library so that you can borrow books throughout the academic year. 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 the Nutritional Therapy Diploma?
As degree level programmes in Nutritional Therapy are not currently 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. Nutritional Therapy graduates from all Irish colleges, including IHS, can currently upgrade their qualifications to BSc and MSc level via distance learning modules from UK and other international training providers (specific details can be provided on request). This process currently involves students independently providing evidence of prior learning which exempts them from modules of their chosen degree programme. IHS are actively working with a UK training provider to formally map our course into their degree programme allowing graduates easier progression into degree level education whilst we work towards offering our own degree programme.