You’ve heard the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but with processed foods and super sizes, it can be difficult to make healthy choices. As a nutritionist, you’ll be instrumental in helping various populations—from schoolchildren to private clients—stay on track with diet and exercise.


A nutritionist’s career can be as colorful as a crudité. You can reach people of all ages and backgrounds using a holistic approach.


A nutritionist incorporates plenty of greens into their day—kale, broccoli, lettuce—but what about the other greens to consider?


Should you earn a nutrition certificate or degree? Based on your career path, you’ll need to choose one or the other.

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Learn More About Your Nutrition Journey


To join the holistic health field, you’ll need to start with getting an education at one of the many holistic medicine schools in the country. It’s common for students to choose one modality, such as massage therapy, to start. As your career progresses and you want to gain more expertise, there will be a holistic health program waiting for you.

If you’re looking to get to work quickly, certificate programs are available in yoga and massage. If you’re interested in advancing your career further, many holistic schools offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate programs. Narrow down your career goals to make the best decision.

Think about why you want to take this path. Are you interested in teaching and counseling? Would you prefer using your hands as a healing tool? Massage, nutritional counseling and yoga are all part of the holistic health sphere. Consider all of your natural skills to determine the right path for you.

Because of the wide variety of holistic health careers, you can expect the salaries to differ. However, what you earn is also dependent on your ability to market yourself. Holistic health practitioners can boost their salary by building a strong clientele over time. Even if money isn’t your motivator, it’s a good idea to compare the pay of different careers.

Need-to-Know School and Career Facts


Nutritionist licensing can be a little confusing because each state has different restrictions. In some places, nutritionists don’t need to hold a license in order to work, but in other states only dietitians (and not nutritionists) are permitted to dispense nutrition counseling. Always check with your state’s licensing boards to determine what credentials you need.


Professional certification is available in the nutrition field. You just have to choose which type of certification suits your needs. There are Certified Nutritional Consultants (CNC), Certified Nutritionists (CN), Certified Nutrition Specialists (CNS), Certified Clinical Nutritionists (CCN) and Licensed Nutritionists. A Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (BCHN) designation is also available.

Each certification is offered by different nutrition boards and you’ll need to pass an exam to earn your credentials.


Nutrition schools should be accredited by a regional accreditation organization or a national accreditation body that oversees certain specializations in the nutrition field. An example of this would be the Commission on Accreditation for Diabetics Education.

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