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Certification Scheme: Applications

How to apply for certification

To be eligible for certification through WPHNA, the applicant must be an Association member. If you are not currently a member, you can apply for membership here.

The following diagram illustrates the different stages of the certification process, described in detail in the following sections. Figure 1. PHN certification process schematiccertification

Step 1: Application and payment

It is the responsibility and challenge of the applicant to provide evidence to support assessment against prescribed certification standards. Applicants should read the background document describing the competency framework for public health nutrition. All application documents are to be completed in English. Applications for certification must include the following documents:

  • A curriculum vitae or resume: Use the CV/resume you would use if you were applying for a job. This document should summarise and list your qualifications, previous positions, publications (research and evaluation reports and journal publications) and any projects you have worked on.
  • Statement against certification assessment criteria: Download the template form here and complete it. Note that guidance about what to include in each section is included in the template to assist applicants. Applicants are required to nominate at least 2 referees to be contacted to verify applicant claims and to testify to the professional integrity of the applicant.

Applications are to be submitted via email (an email message + curriculum vitae [pdf] + completed statement template [pdf] ) to the Certification Registrar at wphnamembership@gmail.com. Applications will be processed on receipt of advice from the WPHNA Treasurer that certification fees have been received.

Step 2: Assessment

Assessment will involve peer review managed by the certification registrar by at least two peer-reviewers, including at least one reviewer from the country/language of application (similar to established journal editorial review processes). The assessment process will assess the applicant’s submission and evidence portfolio against agreed standards, evidence of practice and commitment to ongoing professional development . Assessment will include consideration of evidence of required knowledge, skills and attitudes required to effectively perform public health nutrition functions in the workplace (=competency). In situations of variable assessment recommendations from reviewers, an independent moderator would review the application, each review and make recommendations.

Step 3 Certification

There are two outcomes of the assessment process, either:

  • Certification: that the application is deemed to meet the required standard and therefore a recommendation is made to award certification to the applicant, or
  • that the applicant does not meet certification (i.e. the full range or level of standard/competence required of a public health nutritionist) and further experience or underpinning knowledge is needed.

In both cases, the outcome is communicated in formal feedback to the applicant. In the case of certification being recommended, applicants are informed of the terms and conditions as well as period of certification. In the case of unsuccessful certification applications, the applicant is given detailed feedback on the strengths & weaknesses of the submission/application and advice as to what is required in order to achieve the necessary standard/competence.

Step 4 Re-Certification

It is recognised that an individual’s competencies can lapse without ongoing professional development and practice exposure (use it or lose it principle). A regular process of external peer-review and feedback is an important iterative process for professional development. After 5 years, certification as a public health nutritionist will expire and an individual wishing to continue to be certificated will need to go through a process of re-certification. The purpose of re-certification is to ensure ongoing competency in the range of functions/skills required of a public health nutritionist and this cannot be assured without some form of periodic verification. Therefore, the re-certification process is designed to ensure ongoing competency. The process and evidence for re-certification is the same as for the initial certification process and hence the same standards in terms of the range & quality of evidence that is deemed acceptable which would be agreed by the certification body, will apply. The form of submission is the same as for the initial certification process.


An applicant has the option of appealing any decision and to rebut feedback from reviewers (provide further evidence etc). This rebuttal/appeal will be reviewed by the Certification Registrar and referred to a third reviewer not originally involved in the initial decision in order to ensure transparency in the process (similar to editors who manage authors rebuttal to reviewers comments in the journal editorial process). On review of an appeal/rebuttal, the certification registrar would refer the additional information to reviewers for re-assessment/consideration. Decisions made by the certification registrar based on second round appraisal will be binding.