Holistic nutritionists promote health and well-being by evaluating individuals and creating customized diet plans that consider each person's emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs. Anyone interested in becoming one of these practitioners must first finish high school. Courses in biology, chemistry, English and Speech serve as a solid foundation before entering college for the curriculum needed to obtain a degree in nutrition.
Secondary Education Requirements
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that professional nutritionists need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in food service management, nutrition or another related area. Earning the degree typically requires obtaining 120 credit hours in a variety of classes that include anatomy and physiology along with a number of courses dedicated to nutrition science, clinical nutrition, food management and production. Students must also enroll in a choice of recommended elective classes and may additionally choose to minor in a related field.
Upon graduation, students are then eligible to apply for an internship to observe and learn the practice of performing the daily duties of a nutritionist. After obtaining a necessary degree, students may then continue their education by earning a certificate or a diploma in holistic health or holistic nutrition. Coursework in this area requires classes in food composition and their effects on the body, chemistry, phytochemistry, endocrinology, Eastern and Western medicine, organic foods, and nutritional research.
Although obtaining certification is not always necessary, most states mandate that nutritionists become licensed. It is also advisable for students to take and pass the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board certification exam, which enhances the chance of finding employment by verifying that a student possesses adequate knowledge and experience in holistic nutrition. Qualifying to take the exam requires that individuals must complete 500 hours of professional experience in the field. Retaining the certificate requires that each nutritionist become a member of the NANP and complete at least 30 hours of continuing education every two years.
Holistic nutritionists may gain employment through hospitals, local government agencies, nursing or outpatient facilities. They might also go into private practice and receive referrals from area healthcare providers. With an advanced degree of master's or higher, nutritionists may become educators at holistic health institutions. The employment prospects for nutritionists in general are expected to increase by 21 percent in the next decade. Though salary largely depends on location and employment facility, the median salary for a nutritionist was determined to average more than $56,000 annually.