Voluntary certification for professionals working in the field of holistic nutrition is offered by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, as well as by some private organizations, and may be required by state law. Certificate programs in holistic nutrition prepare students for careers as nutritional educators or consultants. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in holistic nutrition assist students in achieving certification. Program specializations may include nutritional product development, wellness consultation, or education. An advanced degree, such as a master's, might also be needed to pursue a career as a nutritionist, therapist or researcher.
Admission into a certificate or bachelor's degree program requires students to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some bachelor's degree programs may require certain prerequisite coursework or an associate's degree in a related field. Master's degree programs require incoming students to have a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's degrees typically take four years to complete, while a master's takes an additional two years. Requirements for graduation may include completing 500 professional practice hours, and passing a certification exam.
Certificate in Holistic Nutrition
Though there is no national requirement for certification, states may have specific requirements for nutrition professionals. The National Association of Nutrition Professionals (www.nanp.org) is a widely recognized certification body that awards board certifications in holistic nutrition through the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board. To earn professional certification, applicants must complete an NANP-approved program, pass the exam and demonstrate completion of 500 professional nutritionist practice hours. Continuing education is required to maintain board certification. Students in certification courses study the basic principles of food and nutrition and the effects of nutrition on the human body. Courses might include:
- Basic nutrition
- Anatomy and physiology
- Nutritional assessment
- Digestive system
Bachelor's Degree in Holistic Nutrition
A bachelor's degree program provides a solid foundation in nutrition and holistic approaches to health and wellness to prepare students for careers as nutritionists and other careers incorporating nutrition and wellness. Course topics might include:
- Vegetarian nutrition
- Nutritional counseling
- Vitamins, minerals and supplements
- Nutritional therapy
Master's Degree in Holistic Nutrition
Master's degree programs in holistic nutrition take a clinical approach and prepare students for advanced holistic health careers, such as nutritional therapy. Although a bachelor's degree is typically the only requirement for admission, many graduate programs in holistic nutrition are geared towards currently practicing professionals in the field of nutrition. Courses are designed to develop the clinical skills and health knowledge to apply nutritional principles to health and wellness promotion. Topics of study include:
- Clinical nutrition
- Nutrition research
- Current trends in nutrition
- Health counseling
Popular Career Options
- Nutrition therapist
- Nutritional product developer
- Chef or caterer
- Wellness consultant
- Nutritional counselor
- Health educator
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), employment for nutritionists and dietitians is expected to grow 16% between 2014-2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS also reports that nutritionists and dietitians earned a median annual salary of $57,910 as of May 2015.
Some students interested in the study of holistic nutrition might pursue certification through an NANP-approved certification program. Others may earn a bachelor's or master's degree in holistic nutrition, offered by schools specializing in holistic health, natural medicine and health science.