Career Path on How to Become a Holistic Nutritionist

Holistic nutritionists are helping to quell preventive health problems, such as obesity, that continue to negatively affect American adolescents. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of youth people throughout the nation:

  • Do not eat the daily recommended 2.5 to 6.5 cups of fruits and vegetables
  • Do not eat the daily recommended 2 to 3 ounces of whole grains
  • Eat more than the daily recommended 1,500 to 2,300 mg of sodium

Since “holistic nutritionist” is still an emerging profession, many states do not regulate health care providers that use this title. However, many holistic nutritionists successful careers completing the following steps:

  • Complete an educational program in holistic nutrition that is approved by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP)
  • Acquire at least 500 hours of work experience in holistic nutrition
  • Pass examination by the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board to become board certified in holistic nutrition

Job Description for Holistic Nutritionists

Holistic nutritionists are specialized nutritionists that heal patients using natural foods and products instead of conventional medical treatments. They also seek to remedy the entire or “whole” person (mind, body, and soul) as opposed to curing isolated symptoms. Holistic nutritionists typically perform the following services:

  • Evaluating a patient’s lifestyle
  • Introducing healthy eating habits
  • Creating customized meal plans
  • Developing stress management skills
  • Educating the public on holistic wellness

Education for Holistic Nutritionists

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Students that are looking for a career-related education are advised to complete a NANP-approved holistic nutrition education program. These programs are offered by colleges, universities, health institutes, and professional associations nationwide and instruct in field-related subjects including:

  • Nutrition & Pathophysiology
  • Introductory Herbology
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Comparative Dietary Systems
  • Nutrition Supplementation

Students that complete a NANP-approved educational program in holistic nutrition could earn one of the following undergraduate or graduate degrees:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health & Wellness
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Science
  • Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Holistic Nutrition

Holistic Nutritionist Certification

Many holistic nutritionists opt to become certified to stay current with professional standards in the industry, demonstrate credibility to future patients, and generate trust within the medical and business communities. The premier certification agency for holistic nutritionists is the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board (HNCB). Individuals that successfully pass examination by the HNCB are granted the distinction of “Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition.”

Employment for Holistic Nutritionists

Holistic nutritionist can anticipate a positive occupational outlook. Between 2020 and 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates employment among nutritionists and dietitians will increase by 11 percent, which is faster than the average growth rate for all occupations during this time.* As of May 2021, the BLS reports that the following industries employ the largest number of nutritionists:

  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Special food services
  • Local government

Salary Expectations for Holistic Nutritionists

As of May 2021, the BLS reported an average salary of $65,620 for dietitians and nutritionists. The salary earning potential for nutritionists are heavily influenced by a professional’s level of education, experience, training, and certification status. Early career professionals earned about $49,490, while highly experienced pros earned about $93,640 during this time.*

According to the BLS, the highest-paying industries include:

  • Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing
  • Merchant wholesales of nondurable goods
  • Home healthcare services
  • Federal agencies (e.g., CDC, FDA, CMS)
  • Scientific research and development services

*2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for dietitians and nutritionists reflect national data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Salary statistics representing entry-level/early career = 25th percentile; mid-level= 50th percentile; senior-level/highly experienced = 90th percentile. Data accessed April 2022.

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