Developing an online certification program for nutrition education assistants
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Objective: To develop an online certification program for nutrition education paraprofessionals to increase knowledge and confidence and to overcome training barriers of programming time and travel expenses. Design: An online interactive certification course based on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program core competencies was delivered to employees of both programs. Traditional vs online training was compared. Course content validity was determined through expert review by registered dietitians. Parameters studied included increase of nutrition knowledge and teaching technique/ability, educator satisfaction, and programming costs related to training. Setting: Utah State University Extension. Participants: Twenty-two Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program educators in Utah. Main Outcome Measures: Knowledge and skills were measured using pre/posttest statistics. Participant satisfaction was measured with a survey. Analysis: Paired t test; satisfaction survey. Results: The change in paraprofessional knowledge score was statistically significant (P < .001). Forty percent of paraprofessionals strongly agreed and 60% agreed they were better prepared as nutrition educators because of the training. An estimated $16,000 was saved by providing the training online as compared to a face-to-face training. Conclusions and Implications: This interactive online program is a cost-effective way to increase paraprofessional knowledge and job satisfaction.
Christofferson, D., Christensen, N., LeBlanc, H. R., & Bunch, M. (2012). Developing an online certification program for nutrition education assistants. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 44(5) 407-414. doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2011.11.007.