How to Become a Holistic Nutritionist

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Holistic nutritionists advise people about healthy eating and natural remedies.
Holistic nutritionists advise people about healthy eating and natural remedies. (Image: Sky View/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Holistic nutritionists advise people on nutritional strategies while taking into account the person's entire lifestyle and health history. Holistic healthcare providers are often more interested in alternative remedies, natural healing and the use of lifestyle changes to overcome physical problems. To practice as a holistic nutritionist, you'll need significant training in natural remedies as well as nutrition.

Research licensing requirements in your state. Each state establishes its own licensing procedure for medicine-related professions. Some states offer naturopath or natural healing certifications, while others simply offer standard nutritionist certifications instead of certifications in natural nutrition. You may need to take a board examination, complete a certain number of clinical hours or practice under a licensed nutritionist for a set period of time.

Obtain a degree in holistic or natural nutrition. Several schools now offer holistic nutrition training and may even help you with completing your licensing requirements. Depending upon your state's requirements, you may also be required to complete a master's degree. If you have already completed training as a nutritionist or if your state does not offer licensing to holistic nutritionists, take continuing education classes in natural remedies and holistic nutrition so that you will be equipped to advise people on holistic strategies.

Seek an internship or apprenticeship that will allow you to obtain practice hours. Many states require a certain number of hours before you can sit for the licensing exam, and the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board requires 500 hours before a prospective nutritionist can sit for the board exam. Some schools offer externship opportunities so that students can train under licensed nutritionists while getting practice hours. If you've already finished school, seek a position underneath a licensed nutritionist. You can't practice by yourself without a license in most states.

Register for the licensing exam in your state. In most states, the Secretary of State's office can provide licensing information for nutritionists and direct you to the correct licensing organization. If there is no licensing examination for holistic nutritionists in your state, seek a license as a nutritionist or nutrition professional and register for this board examination. Sit for the examination.

Register for the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board's board examination, and submit all required paperwork including proof of practice hours. Sit for the examination.

Find employment. Nutritionists sometimes work in doctors' offices and hospitals, but they may also work out of their own offices. You may also be able to find a job with a natural health store, a company that markets natural health products or as a nutrition writer. Some holistic nutritionists run websites offering general nutrition advice.

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