Nutrition is an essential part of life that affects every living being on a daily basis. It determines how you look, feel and work throughout your life and can directly impact your ability to be productive and live life to the fullest.
This makes the study of nutrition one of the most important departments in higher education. It is even truer when we consider the increased prevalence of diet-based diseases in people around the world and of all age groups. From obesity to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, and even cancer, nutrition seems to be at the root of it all.
Holistic nutrition aims to offer people a way to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives by integrating the concept of connectedness into their diet. This type of nutrition comes with the belief that it is important to consider the whole instead of a specific element.
Hence, holistic nutrition requires young learners to have a whole-life approach. Instead of simply saying don’t eat fatty foods and sugars to prevent obesity and diabetes, it shows us how, when, where, and what you eat affect you in a whole, full-body way. It also focuses on where your food comes from, the nutrition it receives, etc.
If you believe in the importance of holistic nutrition and are interested in developing a career in this field, you’re at the right place. Today, we will cover everything you should know about being a holistic nutritionist, including steps on how you can become one, the expected salary range, and which industries to apply to. Let’s get right to it!
Who is a Holistic Nutritionist?
Holistic nutritionists are individuals who have received specialized education and training in the field of nutrition. These nutritionists focus on offering guidance to their clients and patients based on natural foods and products instead of processed powders, typical medical treatments, and other ‘diet foods.’ The main focus of these nutritionists is to remedy and heal the whole person, with attention to their mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing, unlike mainstream nutritionists who cure isolated symptoms and tackle disease-causing agents of food.
A holistic nutritionist takes things a step beyond the conventional nutritional plans by addressing various lifestyle factors. They help their clients understand how diet fits into their lives and influences their health directly. They will offer guidance on whole foods and any appropriate supplementation that a person may require to combat their health issues.
Lastly, holistic nutritionists don’t just focus on treating patients; they also educate them to ensure their best health and fitness in the future.
How is it Different from Health Coaching?
While it is true that there is commonality observed between holistic nutritionists and health coaches, it is often limited to their approach. Both holistic nutritionists and health coaches will do offer you guidance on how to improve your lifestyle and diet for healthier and happier living. However, the services of a holistic nutritionist are far more specific and extensive.
Holistic nutritionists receive clinical education and have a broad knowledge of their scope of practice. They will specifically target your nutritional habits and identify any problems that may be putting you at risk of diseases. Additionally, the scope of practice of a holistic nutritionist stretches beyond any limitations that health coaches may have. The former offers you science-backed facts on how to eat healthier, while the latter often bases their advice on experience and research.
Education Requirements for Holistic Nutritionists
Becoming a holistic nutritionist requires you to have a bachelor’s degree at minimum and a master’s degree preferably. Your chosen field for the bachelor’s degree should be nutrition, dietetics, or other related departments. Moreover, you should further enhance your skills by completing a NANP (National Association of Nutrition Professionals) approved educational program in holistic nutrition.
To add further credibility and expertise to your practice, you should pass the examination held by the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board. This will allow you to become a board-certified holistic nutritionist and ensure a successful career path for you.
Steps to Become a Holistic Nutritionist
Now that you know more about the job description of a holistic nutritionist and the education levels required let’s go over the steps to follow if you wish to become one. Here is how to become a holistic nutritionist if you’re passionate about this field.
Step 1: Get Your Bachelor’s Degree
Having a bachelor’s degree is the minimal education requirement if you wish to enter the field of holistic nutrition. Therefore, all aspiring holistic nutritionists should consider enrolling in a relevant degree program that includes dietetics, health sciences, human nutrition, holistic nutrition, nutrition, and pathophysiology or nutritional counseling.
It is important to ensure that the degree or discipline you enroll in is approved or accredited by the American Dietetic Association (ADA). The ADA further recommends that anybody who wishes to pursue a career in holistic nutrition should obtain a valued degree in the field of science in nutrition.
Your bachelor’s degree program may also include other courses like human anatomy, food principles, biochemistry, etc., to offer you leverage as you seek out jobs in the future.
Step 2: Receive Formal Training
As per the research conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, holistic nutritionists typically require a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or food service management, followed by a diploma or certificate courses in holistic nutrition to receive formal training in the field.
Since it is rare for colleges or universities to have specialized degrees for holistic nutrition, the best way to ensure a successful career for yourself is to enroll in these training programs. They cover most of the essential matter you will require to carry out your practice, including:
- The physiological effects of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
- Optimal acid-alkaline balance for the human body.
- Organic cultivation of food for holistic growth.
- Endocrinology and nutraceuticals.
Step 3: Work for a Holistic Nutritionist Internship Program
As you make your way through your degree to become a holistic nutritionist, you will be required to complete an internship. This internship should be done under the direct supervision of a certified nutritionist, and you must receive a certificate of completion after your required hours have been fulfilled.
Since most nutrition-based internships are held within health care facilities, it allows enthusiastic students a chance to interact with trained professionals as well as patients. It is an excellent learning opportunity and helps you develop essential skills, so make the most of your internship!
Step 4: Become a Registered Dietitian
When you have graduated and received your bachelor’s degree, you should focus on acquiring a license. This is because most states have made it compulsory for holistic nutritionists to be licensed before they can start practicing.
Qualification requirements vary from state to state. You are likely to be asked to sit for a state examination and offer proof of your ADA-accredited bachelor’s degree program in a relevant field.
For holistic nutritionists, it is best to seek the ADA’s Registered Dietitian credentials as it increases your credibility and puts you on the right path to success as a holistic nutritionist.
Step 5: Continue Your Education and Apply for Certifications
Continuing to learn and grow is a common, albeit not strict, requirement for holistic nutritionists. Doing so will help you maintain your ADA credentials and continue your practice safely.
You can also consider choosing to apply for a certificate or program which has been approved by the NANP. This will serve as your first step into becoming a board-certified holistic nutritionist. However, it is important to keep in mind that these certifications require at least 500 hours of holistic nutritionist experience beforehand.
Where Can Holistic Nutritionists Find Employment?
With the increasing need to focus on nutrition to slow down the current rise in diet-based diseases, holistic nutritionists can expect quite a successful future once they are board-certified. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported more than 81 thousand holistic nutritionists employed across the city in 2022, with numbers expected to keep increasing in the coming years.
There is a 21% employment growth in the field of holistic nutrition, which has opened doors for new areas of employment for these individuals. Here is a list of the top industries that are currently hiring holistic nutritionists at respectable wages.
- State and local hospitals
- Private hospitals
- Outpatient care facilities
- Nursing homes and residential care centers
- Government sectors and nutrition centers
- Health practitioners’ offices
Salary Expectations for a Holistic Nutritionist
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported an average salary for dietitians and holistic nutritionists to be around $55,240 per annum. However, it is important to note that your salary potential is directly influenced by your level of education, years of experience and whether you are board-certified or not.
Nutritionists with the lowest education levels typically earn around $35,000 per year. On the other hand, more qualified experts in this field easily make over $78,000 annually. The highest paying industries for a holistic nutritionist include:
- Home health services
- Office administrations
- Federal executive government offices
- Insurance carriers
- Grant giving services
All the best in your journey to becoming a holistic nutritionist!