Master of Science (MS): Natural Health Degree Overview

Oct 15, 2019

An MS program in natural health focuses on how nutrition affects the human body and how it can be used to help maintain good health. Additionally, students prepare for future careers as nutritionists.

Essential Information

Some programs incorporate theories of the impact of food on the local and global environment. Students participate in cooking labs, clinical research and practica. To work professionally, nutritionists typically need to meet state regulations that include licensing and certification from the national Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists (CBNS); graduates of a master's program should be eligible to apply.

Students need to have a bachelor's degree to apply to the master's program. Although programs may not require the bachelor's degree to be in a specific major, relevant coursework is often required. Prerequisite classes may include nutrition, biochemistry, college-level algebra, organic chemistry and microbiology. Some programs may offer foundational courses to students lacking those credits.

Natural Health Degrees

Coursework teaches students nutritional science from a holistic perspective. Students study how food affects people physically, emotionally and culturally. They learn methods for evaluating individual nutritional health. Students also study research methodology, which they use in thesis and research development. Topics in the program include:

  • Whole foods production
  • Nutrition assessment and therapy
  • Food science
  • Ecological and global issues
  • Disease processes
  • Human nutrition

Popular Career Options

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that nutrition-related positions often require a bachelor's degree, but advancement in the field is enhanced by earning a master's degree. A master's degree is essential if a person is seeking a career path in research or public health. Some careers in nutrition include:

  • Community health educator
  • Nutritional consultant
  • Nutritionist
  • Dietician

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, dietitians and nutritionists were projected to see an 11% growth in employment from 2018-2028. The median annual salary earned in 2018 was $60,370.

Continuing Education and Licensure Information

Graduate certificate programs are available for people seeking training in specialized areas, such as herbalism or women's health. Depending upon the career, some natural health professionals may need a license. The BLS points out that most states require nutritionists and dieticians to be licensed, certified or registered by the state. Meeting these requirements typically includes obtaining at least a bachelor's degree, gaining supervised experience and passing an exam, but this varies with each state. The Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists grants the Certified Nutrition Specialist credential to individuals with a graduate degree, sufficient nutrition-related experience and a passing exam score; recertification requires 75 hours of continuing education credits every 5 years.

Students interested in natural health can earn a master's degree that uses a holistic approach to nutritional science. Graduates may need to pursue a certificate or license to work as nutritionists and dieticians.

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