A Master's in Holistic Nutrition has become a popular degree choice for nutritionists and health wellness experts desiring to improve community wellness. Holistic nutrition incorporates natural approaches to healthy eating to reduce stress on the body and balance the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of daily living, according to LiveStrong. To achieve this outcome, holistic nutritionists design dietary programs around organic foods in their whole state and use natural supplements to promote nutritional well-being and address chronic health complaints.
Foundations for a Master's in Holistic Nutrition
Candidates for master's programs in holistic nutrition may come from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds, but often hold bachelor's degrees in health science, nutrition, public health or holistic nutrition. Those coming from non-health backgrounds may need to complete prerequisites in biology, chemistry, herbology, holistic nutrition practices, anatomy, physiology or basic healthcare before beginning master's level work. Prospective students also need to pass the general portion of the Graduate Record Examinations.
School Accreditation and Credentialing
Accredited schools offering a Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition are endorsed by the National Association of Nutritional Professionals, which provides curriculum standards expected from holistic nutrition programs. NANP also prepares candidates to sit for the Board Exam in Holistic Nutrition overseen by the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board. Though licensing at federal and state levels is not yet mandated for holistic nutritionists, being HNCB certified can enhance competitive employment opportunities by entitling holistic nutritionists to use state-approved professional designations such as Certified Nutritionist, Nutrition Educator, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, or Nutrition Consultant.
Program and Coursework Requirements
Candidates with backgrounds or experience in health science or nutrition can complete a Master's in Holistic nutrition in about two to three years. Programs span 27-36 credits depending on the school and are offered in traditional, online or hybrid formats for convenience. Degree specializations include herbal medicine, community nutrition education or human clinical nutrition. NANP curriculum guidelines suggest courses should cover a number of trending topics and best practices in the field:
- Nutritional fundamentals of macro- and micro-nutrients
- Herbology and nutritional supplements
- Nutritional supports of major body systems
- Life cycle concerns for all ages, genders and socio-economic groups
- Environmental influences on health and disease processes
- Nutritional assessments, counseling and education
- Dietary programs and whole foods preparation
- Business, legal and ethical protocols
A variety of employment opportunities await those with a master's in holistic nutrition. Graduates can find competitive employment in hospitals and clinics, residential and rehabilitation facilities, government agencies, community wellness programs, senior centers and living communities, correctional institutions, schools, resorts and health spas, sports groups and private practices. Positions include working as health support personnel, holistic health practitioners, lifestyle or wellness coaches, health education specialists, dietary planners and nutritional consultants, or customer service representatives for insurance or health companies.
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The demand for innovative ways to improve health using sustainable practices continues to spark growth in the nutritional industry. General nutrition careers will experience a 21 percent faster-than-average growth rate according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics while earning professionals a median salary of $55,240 annually. As a result, earning a Master's in Holistic Nutrition can lead to viable careers creating nutritional health programs that benefit the community's well-being.