If you were wondering how you can make a real difference in people’s lives and know that diet and the food we eat is vital in maintaining our health and wellbeing, that the food choices we make affect us greatly, then a career in nutrition might be the right path for you. There are so many options to choose from, you may have heard of Dietician, Nutrition Consultant, Holistic Nutritionist —it’s all so confusing. Read on to learn the various career trends in the field of nutrition.
One of the important things to remember is the approach you want to take on the road to educating people toward wellness; and so we will define the word “Holistic.” It’s a word that’s used often, but do we really know what it means? A Holistic approach entails taking into account mental, physical and social factors, and that these are all intimately interconnect and make-up the whole; sometimes referred to the mind body connection.
The holistic approach to wellbeing concentrates on the underlying disease processes, prevention of disease and maintenance of long term health, rather than providing a quick fix. With the holistic approach to health, we take into account the physical requirements needed to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
Intrinsic to a holistic approach to health is holistic nutrition. We incorporate natural and organic foods for prevention and treatment of diseases, to promote long-term optimum health. So let us explore the different career trends in holistic nutrition out there on the road to becoming a Holistic Nutrition professional.
Nutrition and Wellness Consultants
Nutrition Consultants, Wellness Coaches, and/or Nutrition Coaches, provide guidance and counseling to people seeking nutritional advice for health, fitness, healthy lifestyles and weight management. You have opportunities for employment in a large array of capacities including, schools, community health centers, corporate arenas and can write, teach, and provide counsel with a large amount of flexibility. According to Payscale, an online Human Resources platform, Nutrition and Wellness Consultants have an earning capacity that reaches $60,000 a year within 4 years of experience. A four year college degree is not required, completion of a educational training program in nutrition is needed.
Certified Holistic Nutritionists
Holistic Nutritionists are trained in natural complimentary nutrition. You will identify nutritional needs for disease prevention and treatment and will design tailor made dietary programs specific to the individual’s needs. You have an array of opportunities for employment, creating your own clientele, community centers, corporate arenas, community health centers and can teach, write and counsel people. The average mean salary for Certified Holistic Nutritionists was $57,000 according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A college degree is not technically required to become a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, although many people have a four year degree in a health related field. Completion of an accredited Holistic Nutritionist training program is needed.
Dietician vs. Nutritionist
What is the difference between a Dietician and a Nutritionist? In general, Dieticians must have completed a four year college degree with specific coursework in nutrition and must pass the Registration Examination for Dietician to become a Registered Dietician. The word “Nutritionist” in and of itself is less regulated and four year college degrees are not required to use the term.
Registered Dietitians provide specific meal plans, nutritional counseling and guidance in hospitals, medical centers, nursing homes, rehab facilities, private practice and other medical related facilities. In addition, a large number of RDs work in community and public health settings and academia and research. A four year college degree is required with specific coursework in dietetics, and upon completion of the program graduates are eligible take the Registration Examination for Dietitians to become credentialed as registered dietitians (RDs). The average annual salary is approximately $56,000 per year.
Nutritionists advise people on dietary choices, food and meal plans to promote optimal health, weight loss, treat diseases, and promote wellness. According to Wikipedia, the term “Nutritionist” is used more freely with a lot less government regulation than Dietician for instance. A college degree is not required, although many Nutritionists have a health related four year degree; you can receive training with a certification in nutrition and call yourself a nutritionist. The average mean salary of a nutritionist in 2013 according to U.S. News and World Report was $55,920.
There are a variety of paths to choose from in becoming a holistic nutrition professional, whatever road you choose, you will be empowering others about their own health, prevent and treat disease processes and have a variety of opportunities and flexibility awaiting you in numerous capacities. In reviewing career trends, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics a 21% increase in job opportunities for both dietitians and nutritionists is expected in the next decade.
A great place to start is with American Fitness Professionals & Associates, (AFPA). There are a variety of educational programs that will empower you to become the holistic nutrition professional of your choosing. All AFPA Nutrition educational certification courses are self-paced so you can determine your own personal study schedule.