There are various programs that prepare individuals to be natural health consultants. Some certificates are more specific to one kind of natural health, such as holistic nutrition. Others are broader, such as a general natural health consultant certificate program. This certificate includes modalities such as digestive health, homeopathy and herbal remedies--and even a touch of Chinese medicine, naturopathy and aromatherapy. Programs may also offer courses that focus on the business side of consulting.
Natural Health Consultant Certificates
Many comprehensive certificates for the field of natural health are available through community colleges, often via online programs. A Natural Health Consultant Certificate offers something that other certificates in this field do not: strategies and skills for the health consultant. Those in the field of natural health focus on wellness rather than illness, although part of a certificate program is devoted to coping with illness. In the case of online certificate programs, students have constant access to coursework and materials so that they may work on their own schedules. Schools may have no educational prerequisites for enrollment in these programs.
Coursework typically addresses five themes: natural health overview, natural digestive health, homeopathy, herbal therapy and health coaching. Course topics include:
- Human health and wellness
- Anatomy and physiology
- Homeopathic remedies
- Herbal alternatives
- Motivation and guidance
- Substance abuse
Certificate in Wellness Consulting
Wellness consulting certificate programs most often have one of two focuses. The first is a focus on how nutrition can aid the body in balancing itself and overcoming some physical problems. The second is to understand how illness or imbalances cause biochemical or mechanical changes in the body and vice versa. Some schools combine the two topics and add further courses to present a diploma option. Education prerequisites are generally a high school diploma or a GED certificate.
Program curricula that must be completed to earn a certificate in wellness consulting require 12 hours of credit. Required coursework can include:
- Alternative health protocols
- Holistic nutrition
- Pathology for alternative medicine
- Pathophysiology for holistic practitioners
- Natural health consultant business skills
Most consultants holding a certificate in the field of natural health choose to be generalists who point clients to alternative health practitioners in specific areas. But other career options are also available, including:
- Nutritional educator
- Developer of niche food products
- Food preparation
- Speaker or writer on natural health topics
- Health food store owner
Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has no statistics specific to wellness or holistic nutritionists, the source does predict that jobs for nutritionists and dietitians in general will continue to become available at a faster-than-average growth rate of 16% from 2014-2024. The BLS also states that most dietitians and nutritionists are licensed, and many hold advanced degrees. The median yearly salary for nutritionists as of May 2015 was about $57,910 (www.bls.gov).
Natural health consultants usually continue to increase their knowledge and expertise in many natural health fields. They find these courses at colleges, naturopathic schools and a variety of online schools. Some of these options are not accredited, so consultants need to determine which ones will truly be helpful in furthering their careers. Depending on their experience or field of interest, consultants may also wish to join organizations which would further their learning and professional standing, such as the American Association of Healthcare Consultants (although any bachelor's degree is needed to qualify).
Education programs for students with an interest in becoming natural health consultants vary by the approach the individual prefers and the treatments they wish to incorporate into their practice. General training programs include Natural Health Consultant Certificate programs and Certificate in Wellness Consulting programs.