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. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of dietitians and nutritionists employed throughout the country to jump from 67,400 in 2012 to 81,600 by 2022. This 21% employment growth change indicates that these occupations are expanding faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. Currently, the top five industries employing dietitians and nutritionists are:

  • State, local, and private hospitals
  • Nursing and residential care facilities
  • Offices of health practitioners
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Government sectors

Salary Expectations for Holistic Nutritionists

As of May 2012, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics found that dietitians and nutritionists were earning a median annual wage of $55,240. The salary earning potential for nutritionists are heavily influenced by a professional’s level of education, experience, training, and certification status. Nutritionists that fall into the lowest 10% of the salary scale typically earn less than $34,500 annually, while those landing in the highest 10% can receive over $77,590 annually.  Currently, the highest paying industries for nutritionists are:

  • Home health care services
  • Insurance carriers
  • Grantmaking and giving services
  • Federal executive government
  • Office administrative services

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