Degree programs in holistic nutrition are offered at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. These programs expose students to both Eastern and Western medical approaches to illness and disease to better understand the philosophy of holistic treatment.
To get into a four-year bachelor's degree program, students need a high school diploma or GED, satisfactory standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and an admission essay. A bachelor's degree in holistic nutrition and satisfactory standardized test scores are needed for a master's program. Master's degree programs vary in length and often include internships and research projects.
Holistic nutrition makes use of food and nutritive therapies to treat the whole individual as opposed to treating specific symptoms or conditions. Holistic nutrition practitioners develop diet, nutrition and exercise strategies to fight illness and disease.
Degree Programs in Holistic Nutrition
The Bachelor of Science degree program in Holistic Nutrition provides students with a fundamental understanding of key holistic concepts, including digestion, physiology, food and drug interactions and nutrition.
In a Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition degree program, students examine the methods and means of treating illness, disease and chronic pain in a holistic fashion. Courses focus on the use of holistic methods to evaluate physical, mental and spiritual health. Students develop an understanding of the roles they play in promoting wellness. In addition, students learn about holistic techniques like acupuncture, aromatherapy and biofeedback. Most Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition degree programs feature a graduate thesis or research project as a degree requirement.
The Master of Science program in Holistic Nutrition curriculum is designed around the theories and methods of holistic practitioners. Students may take courses in subjects like:
- Life cycle nutrition
- Whole foods production
- Food science
- Contemporary nutrition
- Public health
In addition to the core holistic nutrition curriculum, students must complete a liberal arts curriculum that has been designed to foster critical thinking and communication skills needed by holistic practitioners. Students can expect to study:
- Eastern and Western nutrition
- Stress and fitness
- Approaches to holistic nutrition
- History of food
- Vitamins, minerals and nutrition
Continuing Education Information
The Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board (HNCB) provides a competency exam that allows professionals to earn board certification in holistic nutrition. The HNCB website contains more information on taking the exam (www.holisticnutritionboard.org.)
Salary Information and Employment Outlook
Holistic nutrition is a growing field due in part to increasing awareness of non-Western medical approaches to health and wellness. Specific wage and salary information for holistic nutritionists is difficult to determine because the majority of practitioners are self-employed. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median salary of all nutritionists (holistic and traditional) and dietitians was $57,910 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Students with an interest in holistic nutrition may earn a bachelor's degree in holistic nutrition to learn the fundamentals. They may then go on to earn a master's degree to examine the approach more in depth, and even earn certification through the HNCB.