Functional Nutrition

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Prepare for the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board (HNCB) certification exam.

Are you serious about starting a healthcare career in nutrition, or do you want to incorporate nutrition into your current healthcare practice? The Functional Nutrition program at PCC Institute for Health Professionals will provide a solid foundation to start your professional nutrition career or add holistic nutrition to your practice. Students are accepted each summer for the Fall cohort. Sign up for the Functional Nutrition newsletter to be alerted about pertinent details and deadlines related to the Fall program.

Program Highlights

The year-long program consists of two 6-month noncredit training certificates (Fall-Winter and Spring-Summer), which together qualify you to sit for the HNCB exam. Your National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP) student membership is included in your tuition costs. The Functional Nutrition program is 1 year (4 terms) and cohort-based. Each term consists of 10 weeks of live online class learning with two sessions per week: Monday and Thursday, 6-8pm Pacific Time. Each session will be recorded for viewing later. Expect to prep 1-3 hours per class hour.

  • High quality. PCC Institute for Health Professionals has been a long-time sponsor school of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP), and our Functional Nutrition program is approved by NANP.
  • College-level rigor. After successfully completing the program, you will receive 2 Non-Credit Training Certificates (NCTC) from Portland Community College.
  • Prepare for the HNCB exam. As part of the program, the HNCB resource guide and exam fee is included. You will take the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board (HNCB) certification exam after you complete your studies.
  • Future-focused. The program is based on the evolving landscape of healthcare, and how nutrition is playing an important role in functional medicine and integrative healthcare.
  • Taught by practitioners. Our instructors are practitioners and experts in their specific field.
  • Science-based. Our curriculum is science-based. You’ll learn nutrition principles backed by peer-reviewed scientific research.
  • Traditional wisdom. The program also pulls on traditional wisdom such as ?Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine for a well-rounded perspective on nutrition.
  • Firm foundation. This program will provide you the foundational platform for continued, life-long learning in the field of nutrition.
  • Partners. We have established relationships with several organizations to support students and help them quickly launch their practice. We are continually growing our relationships and clinical tools to give our students advantages in putting their education into practice before they graduate.
Who should enroll in Functional Nutrition?

Functional Nutrition is a college-level, professional preparatory program. Only individuals serious about starting a career in nutrition or expanding their current healthcare practice should apply.

You may benefit from the program if you are a nurse, psychiatrist, naturopathic physician, chiropractor, acupuncturist, or massage therapist.

The Investment

  • Time:
    • 1 year, consisting of 4 terms, 10-weeks per term
    • Meet via Zoom 2 times per week, Mondays and Thursdays, 6-8pm Pacific
    • 1-3 hours of preparation for each hour of class time
  • Tuition:
    • $5,996 for the entire program, or $1,499 + $20 fee per term
    • Includes NANP student membership ($99 value)
    • Does not include books
    • Payment plans are available through PCC

Program Modules and Instructors

Program Outcomes

Our Functional Nutrition Program ensures that you learn all that you need to successfully begin working in the field. Our faculty and advisors review and update our Program Outcomes annually, ensuring that you are receiving the most relevant content possible.

See our Program Outcomes by module


Will this program help me get a job or prepare for a career?

Finding a job or starting a career in nutrition depends on two things.

  1. What are your personal goals? Do you want to start your own practice? Do you want to supplement your current healthcare practice? Do you want to work as a nutritionist at a retail location? Knowing your goals is critical.
  2. What does your state allow? Each state has different laws concerning what you can do as a nutritionist. In some states, for example, only Registered Dietitians (learn more about the difference between nutritionists and dietitians) can provide nutrition counseling. Please review your state’s stance on practicing nutrition at NANP Legislative Affairs and the Center for Nutrition Advocacy.

With these two things in mind, the Functional Nutrition program at PCC Institute for Health Professionals is a rigorous entry-level, professional preparatory program to get you started on your career in nutrition. As part of the program, you will take the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board (HNCB) certification exam. If you pass, this certificate will give you credibility. As you advance in the field, you can pursue additional certificates and degrees to increase your knowledge.

If you’re interested in learning more about what you can do as a nutritionist, please see our blog post “Explore the Many Job Opportunities for Nutritionists”.

Does this program focus on specific illnesses?

No, this program does not focus on any particular sickness or disease. Instead, this program will give you a solid foundational understanding of nutrition. From this foundation, you can pursue continuing education to dive deep into a specific niche.

Is this program completely online?

Yes, this program is completely online with no in-person classroom time.

Is this program eligible for FAFSA funds/financial aid/scholarships?

Because the program is a non-credit college program (not a for-credit degree or certificate), no scholarships or financial aid are available. PCC does offer special, interest-free payment plans for this program. Upon registration, a student can make arrangements for payments through the Student Accounts Office. Full program costs are evenly divided between the two certificates that make up the year-long program. For each of the 2 Certificates (Fall-Winter and Spring-Summer), students can take advantage of a special 6-month payment plan through PCC. The plan is typically $25 to set up, 20% the first month, and equal payments for the remaining 5 months. Note: due to FERPA, Lynne can only respond to PCC email addresses. Please contact Lynne Baxter for more.


Contact Amy Evans.


National Association of Nutrition Professionals logoThis program is approved by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP). NANP is the only professional association that board-certifies holistic nutrition professionals (BCHN?). NANP’s mission is to advocate for and empower a flourishing community of professionals dedicated to the principles of holistic nutrition through online resources, workshops, and a yearly conference. Its vision is a future where people choose food as their medicine.


“The Functional Nutrition Program at PCC is the single most comprehensive and well-rounded functional nutrition program in the United States. No other program is cohort-based, live online with two sessions a week, and taught by highly-qualified nutrition professionals. Since completing the program, I have been working as a nutrition consultant helping families adopt a whole-food, plant-based, and culturally-appropriate diet.” Juan D.

“The PCC-IHP Functional Nutrition program prepared me to work in public health and local food systems, by strengthening my understanding of food as a foundation for health and well-being. I enjoyed learning about nutrition with a thoughtful, engaged cohort. It inspired me to think about food as the shared connection we have to the land, our health, and one another. I applied the knowledge I gained during an internship with CSA Partnerships for Health, and used nutrition research to help inform work in my MPH program.” Margo H.

“The PCC-IHP Functional Nutrition Program provided me with all the necessary groundwork to begin a career as a Holistic Nutrition Professional. This program is an ideal study environment for those who want to learn science-based nutrition principles to incorporate into their existing career, or to begin one. I appreciated that the experienced practitioners who taught this program considered the varied levels of educational background of students and made complex information easy and fun to learn. The program seamlessly prepared me to pass the HNCB exam and I am now on track to begin my own nutrition career!” Rosie R.

Upcoming Integrative Healthcare courses


Apply Today

Submit a complete Application Packet. Make sure you include the required documentation.

We are currently accepting applications for our 2024 cohort. For early consideration, all materials must be received by May 1, 2024. Materials received after this date will be considered in order of receipt and as space allows. No application will be considered after September 9, 2024.

Please email your completed application to the email address listed in the application.