How to Become a Holistic Nutritionist?

Overview

A holistic nutritionist advises clients on how to improve their physical condition and health through nutrition. These providers use alternative techniques (homeopathic remedies, nutrition and dietary supplements) to stimulate the body’s natural healing properties, improve the condition of the body and treat health conditions. Holistic nutritionists focus on natural remedies and proper nutrition to enhance the quality of the client’s life. This article will teach you what you need to know to enter the field of holistic nutrition.

Job Duties

As a holistic nutritionist, your main duties will be to help clients alter their diets, lose excess weight and improve their health and well-being.  You may work in a hospital, school, skilled nursing facility, private practice or state agency. Moreover, you may be titled as a private or contract consultant.  When assessing the condition of your clients, you will consider all aspects of their lives in order to develop a treatment plan that will improve their overall health and help manage their health conditions.

You will also consider your client’s physical and emotional health, environment and energy level to ensure that the treatment plan includes the appropriate balance of vitamins, minerals and proteins. Moreover, you will suggest natural, whole foods to improve your client’s physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological health. Lastly you may be responsible for helping your clients create their own nutrition plans and/or developing nutrition-based community programs.

Educational Requirements

If you are interested in becoming a holistic nutritionist, you will need to acquire a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, dietetics or a health sciences field. You may also need to be certified in nutrition in order to practice. Nutrition or dietetic training programs teach you how the body digests various foods and how certain foods contribute to health and well-being. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013), most states require that nutritionists and dieticians seek licensure and/or certification. This process consists of: a bachelor’s degree, supervised clinical internships and passing licensure exam.

While in your degree program, you will learn how to add organic and healthy foods into a client’s daily diet, how to properly assess your client’s diet and how to relate you client’s food consumption to his/her health condition. You may also provide nutrition, health and diet consultations, help your client find a diet program that works for him/her and encourage your client to participate in an exercise routine.

Some of the holistic health courses you may take during your undergrad program include:

  • Medical Nutrition Therapy
  • Cultural Complementary Medicine
  • The Function of Essential Nutrients
  • Lifestyle Assessments & Diet
  • Food Production Systems
  • Diet Trends & Fads

Licensure & Certification

It is important to note that licensure requirements are not specific to holistic nutritionists, although, many states have established standards for general dietitians and nutritionists. In addition, you will need to be certified in order to practice as a nutritionist. You may be able to seek certification, specifically in holistic nutrition, but that depends on your degree program and state. Moreover, once you have completed 500 hours of coursework and clinical experience, you will be eligible to sit for the certification exam. Furthermore, you will be required to complete continuing education training courses every 2 to 3 years to maintain your license and/or certification.

Salary Prospects

The salary of a holistic nutritionist is based on education and work experience. As an entry-level holistic nutritionist, you can expect to earn between $30,000 and $45,000 annually, while if you have at least 20 years of experience in the field, you can expect to make between $50,000 and $90,000 per year (bls.gov). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013), if you fall in the lower 10%, you can expect to make approximately $30,000 a year, while if you are in the upper 10%, you can expect to make approximately $70,000 or more per year. It is important to note that the bureau does not distinguish between nutritionists and holistic nutritionists.

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013) the career outlook for nutritionist is favorable. Employment for nutritionist and dietitians is expected to increase 20% by 2020.  This increase will stem from the increasing rate at which people are being diagnosed with diabetes, obesity and heart disease. There is a growing interest in nutrition and health which causes people to pay more attention to the foods they consume. As more and more people turn to alternative treatments to improve their health, enhance their quality of life, naturally treat medical conditions and cut health care costs, the need for holistic nutritionist will continue to increase well into the future.

References

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