How Can I Become a Certified Holistic Nutritionist?

Explore the career requirements for holistic nutritionists. Get the facts about degree programs and certification requirements, job duties, salary, and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Complementary & Alternative Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist?

A holistic nutritionist is a nutritionist who specializes in using diet to improve a client's mental, physical and spiritual wellness. Although certification in this field is not required, it can help nutritionists specialize their practice in holistic health. General nutritionist licensure is also required in many states. Holistic nutritionists typically begin by evaluating the client's overall state of health and wellness, and then they devise a dietary plan based on their knowledge of the healing and health-supportive properties of certain foods. They may also recommend natural nutritional supplements. Over time, they monitor the client's progress and make any necessary adjustments to the meal plan.

See the below table for a snapshot of this career option to help inform your decision.

Degree RequiredBachelor's degree
Training Required500-hour practicum
Educational Field of StudyApplied Nutrition, Holistic Nutrition, Holistic Health Education
Certification RequirementsBoard Certification in Holistic Nutrition
Job Growth (2014-2024) 16%*
Median Salary (2015) $58,410*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do I Study to Become a Holistic Nutritionist?

Enrolling in an associate's degree program in applied nutrition can be a first step to provide you the fundamentals required for this field, however, a bachelor's degree is considered entry-level. Related courses to consider include but are not limited to anatomy and physiology, vegetarian nutrition, skills in nutritional counseling and clinical nutrition. These course basics will help you to learn how to incorporate your knowledge of nutrition into your practice to encourage clients to make healthier food choices.

Bachelor's degree programs in holistic nutrition are also available to prepare you for professional practice or the natural products industry. You might consider continuing your education with a master's degree in holistic health education with a concentration in holistic nutrition. In a graduate-level program, you could study different approaches to nutrition, as well as dietary treatments for diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune disorders.

How Do I Become Certified?

The National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP) offers the Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition credential (www.nanp.org). To qualify for the exam, you must become a member of the NANP and provide a record of a 500-hour practicum in holistic nutrition. You can meet the credentialing board's educational standards by completing a holistic nutrition degree or diploma program, or occupational certification approved by NANP.

What Duties Would I Have?

Certified holistic nutritionists are wellness professionals who have met certain specific educational standards and provide dietary programs. In this career, you would advise, educate and support clients while helping them improve nutritional patterns, lifestyle and behavior.

You can work with people who are willing to change their lifestyle to promote better health, increase their energy and confront the causes of illness. You would focus on creating programs that prevent disease, use non-invasive methods and provide treatments that are tailored to the individual.

You may provide a nutritional analysis of the client to help them identify health goals and develop plans to meet their goals. In this field, you may also need to know when to seek the help of other healthcare professionals when you do not have the skills to meet the needs of a client.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Another occupation where you could help people achieve wellness is a job as a community health educator in a public health department or nonprofit organization. These professionals organize campaigns to raise awareness about health-related issues, including nutrition, and they may counsel individuals about healthy lifestyle choices and connect them to medical resources. Health educators usually need a bachelor's degree. If you want to provide direct patient care, you could consider a job as a registered nurse (RN). Nurses are trained to help diagnose and treat a wide range of physical and mental health conditions, and they may offer advice on illness and injury recovery strategies, which can include specific dietary considerations. To become an RN, you need to get an associate's or bachelor's degree and pass a licensure exam.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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